When I think of a “tractorcade,” I remember farmers parading their tractors
to protest low prices and federal farm programs back in the 1970‘s. I recently heard about a different kind of tractorcade
that celebrates history, old tractors and the beautiful land in which we live.
Like most good things, the Father’s
Day Tractorcade started with two friends and a little lunch. Gerald Duray and Dexter Gonsorowski wanted something that
would mark the passing of another summer and give them a chance to trot out their old tractors. They decided
they would ask some fellow lovers of old iron to join them for a two day trip back in time. This inaugural tractorcade
is set to start in Viking, Minnesota (site of many great things) the morning of June 18th and travel to the Heritage Village
in East Grand Forks then back home that Sunday. The route will include a fair amount of travel
on the Pembina Trail with several points of historic interest including Fisher’s Landing and lunch at the Old Crossing
Treaty State Park. Tractorcade’s are popular in other areas of the Midwest but this will be a first for this group.
There is no limit on tractor pedigree and everyone is welcome. I guess if push came to shove, I could even drive my Belarus
When I first heard about this tractor excursion I thought that it’s a little bit long.
Then I considered that the men who once used these tractors in the field would consider a six hour day mighty short.
There’s also a different mindset that goes with a tractorcade. It’s part leisurely walk and part motorcycle
ride. At ten to fifteen miles per hour, you will see what you miss in a car. The variety of birds and animals
that bless this area never truly reveal themselves at high speed. Then there’s that wonderful trance-like state
that an old tractor chugging at low rpm’s creates in it‘s driver. Drive an old tractor for just a
little bit and embrace the peace and calm missing in modern life. You may well achieve nirvana about the same time as
your neck and forearms get a little red from the sun. Nothing like a farmer’s tan for a good conversation starter
when you’re sitting back at work on Monday. For those who left the farm at a young age, an old tractor
may be the one chance they get feel their roots or hold common ground with their dad.
I know where the Father’s
Day Tractorcade will start but who knows where it will end. It could become an annual celebration, a family reunion
or maybe one day it can even benefit a charity. This June 18th it will be enough to feel the sun and exhaust
on your face and appreciate the beauty of a land where you can chase the horizon all day long. Let’s open those
petcocks and give the flywheel a turn, this is history you can reach only from the seat of a tractor.