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A great day for a tractor drive

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 05/02/2012 11:24 AM

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RANDOLPH, Minn. — Chilly temperatures didn't deter spectators nor participants in the 10th annual Randolph FFA tractor parade.

The sun was out and warm by the time that tractors turned over and began putt-putting and purring around the school in Randolph at 9 a.m. April 11. Students and other spectators lined the school lawn, some wrapped in blankets and sleeping bags and others with only sweatshirts to ward off the frosty air.

Organized as a kickoff to spring work and to show support for agriculture and FFA, the parade this year coincided with the earliest planting date for corn under crop insurance regulations. It's the first time ever that they've had people planting corn during the parade, said Ed Terry, Randolph FFA adviser.

At least one man stopped his field work to take part in the parade, Terry said. He pulled his rock picker behind his tractor and headed back to the field following the parade.

There were 107 tractors in this year's parade. The number has ranged from 100 to 112 over the past four years, Terry said.

The oldest tractor was a 1940 John Deere B and there were three 2012 tractors in the parade, one John Deere, one Case IH and one Bobcat. Tractors ranged in horsepower from 18 to 550.

Some tractors were in their work clothes, other shiny and fully restored for show. Many came from the Randolph area. Others from further away. The greatest distance traveled award would go to four tractors that came from the Buffalo area. Buffalo FFA members brought four tractors this year to the parade, Terry said. Last year, they brought two. The FFA is unable to have a parade in Buffalo, so they bring their tractors to Randolph.

"We appreciate every tractor," Terry said.

The Randolph FFA itself had seven tractors in the parade plus a restored 1953 Clark forklift driven by FFA president Mary Liebenstein of Northfield.

Another tractor that may have gotten a second glance or more was a Big Bud. The tractor was driven 20 miles to participate in the parade, Terry said.

A student favorite was the tractor driven by a third and fourth grade teacher Donna Lindahl. They all cheered when she drove by.