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Agrimarketing : October 2007
i-34 AgriMarketing October 2007 THE APPEAL OF TRACTOR RIDES by Tammy Dodderidge, TD Communications They are fundraisers, moneymak- ers, mini-vacations, social gath- erings, and simply a great time for everyone involved. They are trac- tor rides, and they are a growing trend in communities across the country. These organized programs bring together large groups of tractor own- ers to participate in a two to three day journey across rural communities. The "tractorcades" travel at leisurely speeds, while owners take in the sites, enjoy the camaraderie among the participants and take pride in showing off their farm vehicles. The tractors are as varied in model and color as they are in style. They include John Deeres, Olivers, Cases, McCormicks and Farmalls. Some are new and some are more than 50 years old VISIBILITY "Tractor rides are good visibility for the ag community, but they also pro- vide an opportunity for the multi- generational experience," reports Troy Leininger, KICD AM/FM, Spencer, IA. "You can ride on a trac- tor that your great-grandpa had with your grandpa and your dad. It's also a way to make memories with other tractor enthusiasts." KICD hosted its eighth tractor ride in June. The annual event is strictly social. It typically registers 250 riders, and has a waiting list of more than 50. The group travels approximately 65 to 75 miles per day, and Leininger says it's quite a sight. "We have people who hear our radio broadcasts throughout the ride and wait for us to come through their towns. They are sitting in their driveways waving and taking pho- tos," he says. For the Iowa Ag Radio Network, tractor rides have become a profitable business. Three stations in the net- work host rides: WHO (Des Moines), WMT (Cedar Rapids) and KGLO (Mason City). WHO was the first of the sta- tions to organize a ride, according to farm broadcaster Ken Root. Called the Great Iowa Tractor Ride, this year it included 450 tractors. Root and the other farm broadcast- ers conduct live updates along the way. They also keep their listeners up-to- date on the location of the tractorcade. Root says the event has become a money- maker for the station over the years through registration fees and sponsorships. The commu- nities through which they travel also see an economic boost through hotel/motel bookings, food sales, etc. Root says most often the same families and groups participate in the ride year after year, and there's a waiting list of more than 100. CAMARADERIE KTIC Radio, West Point, NE, began its "Great Nebraska Tractor Ride" in 2005 and since that time it has grown from 55 drivers to 84 drivers. "Most of our drivers and riders are farmers and what I've heard from them is that they like the cama- raderie among the participants," says Chad Moyer, farm broadcaster. "They like old iron and like to tell stories. The ride provides them with an opportunity to get away from the farm for a little while." The two-day ride also provides KTIC staff with an opportunity to memorialize their long-time friend and former colleague Ryan Guill, who passed away in April 2006. That year, the ride was dedicated to him and the Ryan Lance Guill Memorial Broadcasting Scholarship fund was established. The Show-Me Tractor Cruise, which takes place in northwestern Missouri, is a benefit tractor ride for Camp Quality Northwest Missouri. The camp provides fun camping experiences and ongoing support programs for kids with cancer. The ride was organized in 2003 by Tom Brand, of KFEQ Radio, St. Joseph, MO. Since that time, Brand and other ride organizers have formed a committee named The Show-Me Tractor Cruise Organizing Committee that oversees the annual event. During the first year of the ride, $35,000 was raised for the camp and that number continues to grow each year. In 2007 the ride consisted of 356 tractors for the 50-mile drive. Drivers pay a $30 registration fee, which cov- ers costs in organizing the event, plus a t-shirt and two meals. The drivers are encouraged to raise at least $100 in pledges and sponsorships. All funds raised are donated to the camp. This year 's cruise raised $52,500. Brand says the annual theme of the cruise is "A Few Miles for Many Smiles" and it matches perfectly what each driver does to help chil- dren with cancer. AM Cruising through the country on the Great Nebraska Tractor Ride. Photo courtesy of KTIC Radio, West Point, NE.
November December 2006
November December 2007