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Venhuizen family honored as ‘Friend of the Fair’

MORRISON – Since 1989, the Whiteside County Fair Board has honored those who have made an extra effort to support and make the annual fair as much fun as possible for all those who participate and attend the many shows and events.

This year’s 2022 Friend of the Fair is The Venhuizen Family.

The Venhuizen Family started participating in the Whiteside County Fair some years ago when Kenny and Nancy both showed beef cattle when they were young kids in 4-H.

They were married in 1956 and had their children, Tom and Kim, who also grew up showing beef cattle and even added in showing hogs.

Kenny, with the help of Tom, enjoyed restoring antique tractors and displaying them on the grounds and in the parade. He began tractor pulling in the 1960s at the fair and then Kenny and Tom became the superintendent of the tractor pull in the early 70s.

The Venhuizen family was always there to help with the pull. Kenny built many pulling tractors over the years and most donned the name, “Blue Max.”

After years of helping and watching his dad build pulling tractors, Tom started his tractor pulling career in 1977 by building his own modified tractor, “Panic.”

After some hard years farming, both men retired from the competitor side of tractor pulling but the call to the track was still strong for the Venhuizen men.

In the early 1990s, Kenny purchased his sled called “Mean Green” and operated it at the tractor pull. Later in the 90s, Tom and Amy bought a sled as well. Their sled, called “The Mechanical Mule”, took over the pull after Kenny sold his sled and retired from pulling.

The Venhuizen family has operated their sleds down the track at the Whiteside County Fair many times for many years, and last year was the final time Tom ran his sled down the track.

He retired as well from pulling after 26 years of running the Mule. Sadly, Kenny passed in December of 2020. His presence in that special final time down the track was felt by many.

The Whiteside County Fair Board thanks the Venhuizen Family for all they have done for this fair and the many other fairs they have traveled to.

Visit www.whitesidecountyfair.org for more information about this year’s fair.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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