Running Of The Red

Irish vintage club sets world record for largest parade of Massey Ferguson® tractors.

By Marilyn Cummins | Photos By Paul Gorman, Courtesy of AgriLand

If you ask them, they will come. Even if they have to take a day off work and drive for hours.

Answering a call broadcast countrywide by Irish TV channel RTÉ One, tractor enthusiasts descended on the tiny rural village of Narraghmore, County Kildare, this past April 12 to try for a world record. Not just any enthusiasts, but those who own and love tractors in the lineage now called Massey Ferguson. 

“Nearly every county in Ireland sent a tractor,” says John Treacy, chairman of the Narraghmore Vintage Club, host of the event. “It caught the imagination of the people, you know, and obviously people were enthusiastic about Massey Ferguson.”

With 2018 being the diamond (60th) anniversary of the merger of Canada’s Massey-Harris and Britain’s Ferguson to create Massey Ferguson, the RTÉ One series “Big Week on the Farm” set out to break the Guinness World Record for the largest parade of Ferguson/Massey-Harris/Massey Ferguson tractors. They needed at least 150 tractors and got nearly double that: 285 tractors completed the 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) ride in a continuous, moving line, as required. 

“If it had been a Saturday, we would have hit 500,” Treacy says. “A lot of people just couldn’t get off work.” The oldest tractor was a 1947 Ferguson TEA-20. Several older-model tractors restored to original colors (plus one in green and another in pink) shared the road with yellow industrial models and many late-model red Massey Fergusons.

After the parade, the drivers pulled into the field behind the local football club to exhibit their tractors and visit with onlookers. The vintage club had fed the participants breakfast, “and when the run was over, they got a full dinner. We felt we couldn’t charge people when they were coming a long way to help us make a record,” Treacy says. Massey Ferguson donated funds for the meal.

Treacy drove his MF165, and his three sisters drove tractors, also. “One of them couldn’t get over the affection people have for their tractors,” he says. The Massey Ferguson brand has always been popular in the Republic of Ireland, as it is today. The online Irish ag publication AgriLand estimates (unofficially) that Massey Ferguson sold more new tractors in the Republic than any other brand in 2017.

To Treacy and his generation, the brand “brings back the childhood memories to everybody. We bought a brand-new Massey Ferguson 135 when I was 4 in 1969, and we all learned to drive on it. They were part and parcel of life in Ireland.”

See a video of the record-setting parade at >>