Father's Day Tractorcade
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Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

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 tractor?

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.