Dave Morrison's Tractor-Show Parade Commentary

Dave Morrison of West Concord, Minnesota, fights stage fright from his younger years and becomes a sought-after personality to announce at antique tractor shows.

| December 2014

As a high school student, Dave Morrison was so shy he’d rather do almost anything than get up in front of a group of people and speak. Funny, though, the way things change. Today the West Concord, Minnesota, man is a sought-after announcer at antique tractor shows.

It’s a turn of events even Dave couldn’t have predicted. As a youth, he attended tractor shows with friend and mentor Curtis Starch. At one show Dave remembers seeing a wooden pole with two speakers, and nearby, a man grasping a microphone in one hand and trying to read from a bunch of papers in the other. He looked frustrated as he tried to inform show-goers about the owners and drivers of the passing tractors, some of which went by too quickly for comment. Dave looked on the scene and shook his head. “I thought, that’s not for me,” he says.

Announcing a change

Dave’s grandfather owned a few Farmall tractors. When Curtis bought three of them, Dave’s interest in the old machinery was piqued. “At 17,” he says, “I told myself, ‘somebody’s got to carry on this legacy.’”

That agenda became even more urgent when both Dave’s father and Curtis died in 1986. Dave bought back three of his grandfather’s Farmalls and began to study them. Meanwhile he continued going to tractor shows and threshing bees, where he scrutinized the old tractors, noting their details and differences. At that point, he was still a spectator, just enjoying the show.

Everything changed when he was faced with the prospect of cleaning out his grandmother’s house. “She had saved my uncle’s Country Gentleman and Capper’s Farmer magazines,” Dave recalls. “I looked at those and thought, ‘Wow! The ads with IHC tractors are so bright red and clear and sharp. I’ve got to find more of these.’ That’s when the bug really bit.”

Then the unexpected happened. In 1989, when the Root River Antique Power Assn. decided to hold a daily parade at its annual show, organizers asked for a volunteer to serve as announcer. Dave, once almost pathologically shy, found himself raising his hand. “I can do that,” he said.