The Last Farmall Promenade
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“I don’t think we really ran into any major hurdles,” Damon says. “Once we got started, it just seemed to keep going. We started out with just four dances and then added more so that our final programs were an hour and 15 minutes long.”
Even though the dances brought tractor tires within inches of each other, the group never experienced any major accidents. Outside of bouncing into one another once in a while, performances went well. “If someone did make a mistake during a performance, we knew each other and the routines well enough that we could keep it going anyway,” Dave says.
None of the tractors had power steering, but that didn’t keep the drivers from making plenty of tight and fast maneuvers. “You get used to it once you’ve done it a few times,” Dave says. “And it was somewhat easier because we didn’t have any equipment hitched to the tractors, so there was no weight on them. We kept the pressure in the front tires pretty high too. When you spend that much time together, you get to know how the rest of the group drives and that makes it work smoother.”
Although their fans are disappointed, the men say it’s time for them to close this chapter of their lives. “We’ve had a lot of praise and people tell us what a good job we do,” Damon says. “They wish we wouldn’t quit, and that’s to be expected when you enjoy something. You hate to see it end.”
Old iron, though, endures. “I’ll be putting my tractor in the shed for now,” Dave says. “I think every one of us is keeping our tractor. They were a pretty big part of our lives for 10 years. It’s kind of bittersweet, but the memories will live on.” FC
Watch the Farmall Promenade in action on Farm Collector’s YouTube channel with Iowa Public Television’s video: “Iowa State Fair - Farmall Promenade Square Dancing Tractors.”Loretta Sorensen is a lifelong resident of southeast South Dakota. She and her husband farm with Belgian draft horses and collect vintage farm equipment. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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