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Tractor ride nets nearly $3,000 for local Relay for Life

Relay for Life 2021 is now underway in Lincoln County.

Saturday’s annual Lincoln County Relay for Life Tractor Ride was the opening event for the 2021 Relay year, and Donya Saylor, chair of the local Relay for Life, was excited to see a large number of participants this year, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re hoping for 100 tractors,” she said Saturday morning as participants registered at First Southern Veterans Park. “We’ve gotten close several years, and we’ve always been in the nineties. I think 98 was our highest ever.”

This year’s ride did not hit the 100 mark, but again came close as 95 participants turned out.

Saylor said entrants are asked to make a contribution of $10, and they often go beyond that amount.

“It’s a $10 suggested donation, but a lot of people will throw down a $100 bill, or a $50 or $20 and say keep it,” she said. “This is one of our biggest events. We have several other events throughout the year, but this is one of our bigger ones. Everybody always looks forward to it, and this year, I think a lot of people are excited to get out because they haven’t been anywhere or done anything in a while.”

People did get out Saturday, and this year’s tractor ride netted $2,865 for Lincoln County Relay for Life.

As the new year begins, Saylor reflected on 2020 as a successful year, although COVID-19 canceled many of the fundraisers that fund Relay for Life locally. She said the 2020 total was about half of the usual amount raised.

“I think we were right at $40,000 for 2020 for our total of all events,” she said, adding that they usually raise between $80,000 and $100,000 each year locally.

“We’ve raised at least half, and I think that’s phenomenal. We did our flower sale, but it was really limited. We just had four or five items and it was all preorders, so we were really down on that,” she said.

Some of the fundraisers that were canceled in 2020 include the annual 5K race, online auction, and the dessert and pie auction, which is always a hit, according to Saylor.

“We usually do really well on that. When people know so-and-so made a cake or pie, they’re willing to pay good money for it,” she said. “But with everything going on with the COVID, I’m really pleased with the $40,000.”