Tractorcade coming to Austin

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 12, 2002

Get ready, Austin.

Prepare for the biggest parade yet, Mower County.

The tractorcade is coming.

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Beginning 10 a.m. Saturday, the first-ever tractorcade will depart the Mower County fairgrounds in southwest Austin.

The classic tractors will motor eastward to Rose Creek and north to Elkton and Dexter before winding their way eastward through Grand Meadow and on to the campgrounds near the Deer Creek Speedway.

There they will be on display at the July 19-21 Root River Antique Power Association Steam Engine Show.

Who can resist the possibility of seeing antique 2-cylinder, 4-valve tractors cruising highways?

Just think about all the circus colors to be seen: John Deere green, Allis-Chalmers orange, Massey Ferguson red, Ford blue and the original green, Oliver, among others.

"It's going to be quite a sight," said one of the tractorcade organizers, Don Livingston.

The show is one of the biggest and almost one of the best.

Their destination, the annual steam engine show, also will produce "quite a sight" as well as sounds and the smells of smoke.

Each year, the Root River show stirs memories of an agriculture only grandparents can remember today.

Giant "puffer bellies" will be all fired up, along with Classic Fairbanks-Morse steam engines and others.

Threshing machines, saw mills, corn shellers and other antique farming equipment will return to life.

The Heritage Center showcases some of Mower County's historical buildings, including the its newest addition, the Frankford Township Hall.

There's music and fun for the whole family.

Most of all, there are tractors and the people who worship them.

People like Livingston, who lives south of Austin, will be driving a classic Case -- one of his favorites -- from Austin to the campgrounds south of Racine.

Tractors are Livingston's business. At least, one of them, to be sure.

Livingston, 42, has been competing in tractor pulls since he was 13.

"I used to pull trucks," Livingston said. "Whatever was odd or uncommon, that's what I would pull."

For more information about Saturday's tractorcade, call Livingston at 433-0073.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at