Best Tractor Square Dance Ever Video
March 17, 2015 7:14 PM   Subscribe

unexpectedly charming.
posted by hollisimo at 7:18 PM on March 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Wow, that looks like fun. Makes me want to have an antique tractor when we get our little farmette!
posted by drlith at 7:28 PM on March 17, 2015

Now I just want to see Australia's Gina Rinehart calling square dancing for massive mining trucks.
posted by taff at 7:49 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

That starts off with a couple of really boring moves performed really slowly, and I was just about to go 'blah' and turn it off when things picked up. By the end they're doing quite intricate things.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:51 PM on March 17, 2015

That's not something you see everyday.
posted by mazola at 8:06 PM on March 17, 2015

I think there were some ringers amongst the ladies. The beard was a dead giveaway...
posted by jim in austin at 8:19 PM on March 17, 2015

Perhaps they're "beards".
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:31 PM on March 17, 2015

But how can we make it more country?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:32 PM on March 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Tractor Square Dancing totally sold out and went to dull shit after the 1977 Bale Hook Ban.

Shame about all the casualties in 1976 World Champioship Allemande Left Bloodbath, though.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:19 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

But how can we make it more country?

But of what country?
  • Here's one in the UK by the Royal Welsh Show Dancing Diggers, performed to Jump.
  • The Swedes are more interested in story telling.
  • This seems to be the same group playing in Ontario. In higher definition, no less.
  • The Smithsonian has a brief film from 1957 narrated by "noted travel lecturer" Thayer Soule, who passed away in 2004. He is also credited in a 1993 National Geographic documentary about Guadalcanal, where he was the Marine Corps' first photographic officer.

    Aha! I found a website from a group in Ohio that does this! They write:
    It all started in August of 1993. When Ed Moore, who loved to square dance, heard that there were people who actually square dance using tractors, he decided he wanted to try it himself.
    A group of eight people from Delaware County, Ohio was recruited. They got together at Ed's farm one Sunday and started by walking through some dances that they thought might work. Then they hopped up on the tractors to try it, and it did work! In the beginning, there was no music or caller- they used hand signals. Shortly, the group found a caller and the first performance took place at the Delaware County Fair in September of 1993.

    The most popular question the group is asked is how often they practice. The answer to that one is, they did get together about six times before dancing their first show, but they haven't practiced much since. When they want to try out a new dance, or need to refresh their memories on one they haven't done in a while, they "walk" through the steps before a performance, then simply climb up on their tractors and the show goes on!
    This tradition must go back to at least the fifties! Where did this all start? Looks like Modern Farmer did a piece on the subculture back in 2014 and found that it began in 1953 as part of an advertising campaign by International Harvester, which was a conglomerate of several companies including the McCormick family business. This guy eventually drove it into the ground after being CEO for a year in 1979 when he took a $1.8 million dollar salary and gutted his company like a fish despite record sales. He wound up alright, though. He turned the farm Margaret Rudkin used to start The Pepperidge Farm into a subdivision.

    It's the people on the tractors who are more interesting to me. The Modern Farmer article reads:
    Laurie Mason-Schmidt, Farmall’s caller, wrote performance rhymes like, “Promenade this girl please do, she’s the one who came with you. She’s with you, have no fear; she won’t go home with that John Deere.” Giving a little chuckle to any audience members who could keep up, the rhymes serve as placeholders to give the dancers more time to complete a longer step[...]

    “All but two of our group are farmers,” says founding member Bob Unrast, “If you’ve never driven a tractor, it wouldn’t work.” Not only do they square dance on tractors, they do it in third gear. On some of the group’s older models, it’s the highest setting they have in common. “If you’ve got dairy cows, you know how to hitch and break and turn around in a tight corner.”

  • posted by The White Hat at 9:27 PM on March 17, 2015 [7 favorites]

    Imagine plowing your fields on one of those ancient things back when they were state of the art. No AC, TV, radio, or GPS for those folks back in those days. Reminds me of "Green Acres."
    posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:34 AM on March 18, 2015

    That was fun, thanks for bringing it.
    posted by Daddy-O at 1:00 AM on March 18, 2015

    posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:36 AM on March 18, 2015

    Some people are taking their Farming Simulation Cosplay a bit too far
    posted by vuron at 8:56 AM on March 18, 2015

    Unimog Ballet.
    posted by jackmakrl at 3:08 PM on March 20, 2015

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