It’s partly to rewrite the record books, mostly to raise money for charity, and 100 per cent for fun - local Stumpy Adams is driving his tractor from Urunga to Bendemeer for the Grey Fergie Tractor Muster on March 21-22.
It’s billed as the largest gathering of Grey Fergie tractors in Australia and having set the record at 153 back in 2003, Fergie enthusiasts like Stumpy have been waiting in anticipation for the chance to up the record.
While Stumpy expects the 600 kilometre coast to tablelands trip will take 50 hours and cost $300 in fuel, his four day round road trip looks reasonable when compared to some of the folks who are coming from as far south as Foster in the Victorian Gippsland, and as far west as Barradine, and as far north as Nangaroo.
Stumpy told the Courier-Sun the dedication to the muster is indicative of the love they have for their tractor, and a way to celebrate the important role it has played in agricultural history.
“The Grey Fergie was manufactured between 1946 and 1959. They’re grey because it was the cheapest colour to produce post-WWII,” he said.
“They had the first three-point linkage system manufactured by Harry Ferguson, which makes it more mobile in small area farming. The muster seeks to celebrate the important role it has played in our agricultural history.”
A pivotal moment for the little tractor came in 1956 at Wentworth, on the junction of the Darling and Murray rivers, when both flooded and a fleet of Fergies went to work to build levee banks which saved the town.
But it’s not just history or a history-making event which captures Stumpy, essentially it’s all about having a bit of fun for a cause.
“It’ll be a great adventure. I’ll begin the trip solo, but from Dorrigo I’m joined by four other tractor drivers and then in convoy we’ll travel the back roads to Armidale and on to Bendemeer,” Stumpy said
“We’re hoping to get more than 160 Grey Fergie tractors together from all over the country,” Stumpy said.
Along the way he’ll be raising money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
Stumpy will be in Bellingen opposite Cardow & Partners Property at 7.45am on Thursday 19 for a 15-minute break before heading to Dorrigo. He’d love for folk to wish him well and to donate to the rescue helicopter service. Stumpy then plans to be in Dorrigo to meet the other tractor drivers at around 9am.
* The fifth triennial Grey Fergie Tractor Muster will be held at Bendemeer (on the New England Highway between Tamworth and Armidale).
Proposed events and activities for the 2015 Muster are: Grand Parade, tractor events, Tractor Trek, display of Land Rovers from Series 1 to present, BareCo Fergie parts tent, Makita tent with ‘try before you buy’ demonstrations and new range of power tools on display, working dog demonstration, sheep shearing demonstration, old machinery, bush poetry, food, variety stalls and country music.
More information at: www.greyfergietractormuster.com.au