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By Staff | Jun 25, 2010

Last winter I wrote one week about there were people who were organizing this year’s tractor rides and gave my thoughts about tractor rides. I told about how I did not understand the concept of tractor rides.

Why drive a tractor that is not hitched to anything for several hours only to end up where you started? I was happy for the people who drove the tractors because it is quite an event to watch from the side of the road, which is where I would be, happily waving to the drivers as they go by.

Every performer needs and enjoys an audience. The drivers were the performers and I was the audience. We each had a job and understood our duties. Simple, isn’t it?

From my vantage point at the side of the road, I could admire all the tractors as they go by. I never met a tractor I did not like and there are a few, such as a John Deere 720 diesel with a pony start, that I have a great affection towards because my dad had one.

As a tractor fan, I can sit beside the road watching this rubber tired rainbow go by admiring the all the colors and sizes and hear the different 2, 4, and 6 cylinder engines, some of them diesels, as each approaches and passes.

When the ride is done, I just pick myself up, get back in the car, and proceed to my next stop, most likely a place for something to eat. That is my idea of a good tractor ride.

It is neat, tidy and uncomplicated. I get to enjoy the tractors without having to load, unload and then reload anything. The drivers had a good time and so did I.

After that piece appeared, I got a message from a man in Manning offering me a place in their tractor ride so I could see what the tractor ride was about from the driver’s seat. He even offered to provide me with a tractor.

I was presented with a challenge and I knew it was also done in good will. I took the man up on his offer and this weekend I will be part of the tractor ride in Manning.

I’ll be provided with a Farmall 350. We have heard how “Birds of a feather flock together” and this tractor fan will be hanging out with other tractor fans enjoying the countryside at speeds of 10 to 15 miles per hour. Hopefully, we can get some sunny skies and pleasant temperatures to enhance everything, but I already know it will be a great day. How could it not be?

Does this mean I will have a change of heart about the best place to be to enjoy a tractor ride? I will let you know after the ride.

What I do know now is that while the tractors are wonderful, it is the people who make the tractor ride. A Farmall M is just a Farmall M and there are probably thousands of them around yet today.

It is the man who is standing beside the Farmall M (or John Deere A or Allis Chalmers WD or .) who makes the tractor come alive as he explains that he or his dad bought it new or used.

He tells about using it or one like it long ago. Maybe he turned a rusting hulk sitting in the weeds seemingly destined for the scrap yard into the smooth running, eye-catching beauty looking as good as, or even better, than the day it was built.

When I was around the age of five, I would cut pictures of tractors and implements out of magazines and using tape, hitch them together. My sisters would play with paper dolls and I would play with paper tractors.

Fifty plus years later, I am still playing with tractors, only now the scale is 1:1. The real thing has replaced the tractors in my imagination.

The thrill is the same.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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