An Iowa farmer and a country music artist have teamed up to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. Dick Barkema and Tom Wurth’s fundraiser involves a tractor ride across the state.
They’re calling next month’s event Playing for Change as Barkema says they’ll accept donations along the way with Wurth performing each night of the week-long trip. “We’re giving all of our proceeds back to Blank Children’s Hospital,” Barkema says. The pair came up with the tractor ride idea after touring the hospital last summer.
The ride will start on Saturday, June 17 in Onawa and end June 22 in Dubuque. The nightly stops for Wurth’s concerts will be in Ida Grove, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, Waterloo, and Manchester. Wurth will also perform in Dubuque.
The tractor route will follow the old Highway 20. Barkema says the cost to ride is $50, with donations of any amount accepted. Dozens of people have already committed to ride the entire week, but Barkema says they won’t turn anyone away. “If a farmer was out in the field and he decided he wanted to unhook his piece of equipment and come join us for a day, that’s fine,” Barkema said. “We think it’s awesome if people come out and join us and show their support towards Blank.”
Barkema farms near Klemme. Wurth is a native of Marcus, Iowa, but moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1994. The video for his latest single, “To Love Somebody,” features images from Blank Children’s Hospital.
(Pat Powers, KQWC, contributed to this story)