Don't Touch My Tractor! (Tractor Show Behavior)

Submitted Article
Talk of the Town
Don't Touch My Tractor!
(Tractor Show Behavior)
by Tractor Talk Forum Participants

This recent discussion on the Tractor Talk discussion board here at Yesterday's Tractors drew so much response and proved to be so interesting that we wanted to share it with you here. The names of the people participating in the discussion have been left out to "protect the innocent" (to quote a once-popular television series).

The discussion started out with the following post:

" When a person has a show tractor, is it to much to expect to not have people leave their hand prints all over the machine. Often there is a lot of dirt blowing around and after an hour the tractor looks [sic] bad. I hate to clean tractors! Some folks rope off their tractors, I kind of hate to have to do that. Most people are real good about looking and not touching. Anyone care to comment? I know, I could stay home then I wouldn't have this concern! "

What followed are some very interesting replies:

I believe you have 2 options. You can rope it off or leave it home for you to enjoy. My son and I do a decent job of restoring tractors (they run and have some paint splashed on them with new decals). It bothers me not the least when someone touches one of my displays. I really enjoy a couple of gentlemen from the period sitting on the drawbar, leaning against the tires or patting the hood and reminiscing of the days when they used one like her. I really like hearing the stories they tell about their experiences during that era. If I rope them off then they will just walk by and keep their thoughts to themselves which I think would be a shame. Just the way I see it.

I restore , show and use older round hood Wheel Horse garden tractors and they attract children like a magnet at a show . I do let kids get their picture taken on the tractors BUT not all kids just walked out of a Norman Rockwell painting . I do have to be carefull as some times when Jr sits on the tractor he doesn't want to get off throwing a fit when the parent trys to remove the child .... pulling the knobs , kicking the hood and yanking on the shifter just makes me cringe . Finding teenagers sitting on the tractors acting like their drag racing them is direspectfull even if it is a work tractor . I feel thankfull that it is only a small amount of people who come to tractors shows that are like this The need to be safe also comes to mind , tractors are machines NOT PLAY TOYS if a some one gets hurt fiddling with your tractor well ............... some ones day is ruined . I do remember a little boy who had to run by all the tractors grabbing the exhuast stacks , well when he got to mine he got a surprise ..... I just got off the tractor pull track and the exhaust stack was more then warm . To me at a show 1) Pull the ignition key 2) All attachments on the ground and in the off position 3) Rope the tractor off , if some one shows a special interest then invite them to have a closer look To me a tractor is like a wife ... ifn's it ain't yours don't touch it .

With the number of vandals filling fuel tanks/rads with dirt/grass, stealing caps/covers/knobs why not rope off the tractor? Then guard it from bitter lazy people who have less and feel better after wrecking another peson's achievment.

Let's make the tractor hobby just like the snobby classic car hobby! All tractors MUST be restored better and shinier than new, and let's have endless diatribes about what is "correct", and yes, lets keep the kids as far as possible away from the tractors! After all, we are all going to live for ever, and there's no need for any young blood in this hobby! That reminds me of a post on the Farmall Forum a couple of days ago... "I'm going to restore the (Model X) BETTER THAN NEW. Not to pick a fight with anyone, but does it have to be BETTER THAN NEW?

i feel if they cant be set on or touched by kids of all ages or used in demos they should be kept at home so as not to clutter the show grounds with useless items

Well if that sort of thing really bothers you send them over to our stuff. That way they can touch it and even if they accidently scratch it, well oh well. Just finished putting the 60 back together with a fresh coat of paint (notice I said paint not a mirror) about a 1 1/2 months ago and a couple of weeks ago Dad and I took it out to the woods and pulled out a couple of trees for firewood. So another scratch or two oh well. One of the other tractors we take usually keeps folks away on its own. Can't tell you how many mom's say keep away from that one you'll get dirty, of course I can't also tell you how many guys ask if we have a rag handy, so you just can win.


I guess you wouldn't think much of my show. Paint is optional. Working demonstrations are encouraged. That's what people like to see the most anyway.

When I'm at a show I would love to just sit on the old tractors and imagine what it would be like to own it but I know it offends a lot of people so I don't. I guess I don't understand the whole concept of a tractor that is only for looks. My kicks come from getting one of those old tractors working and taking out to do what it was made to do - farm work.

I did not read any replies, but I bet there are 2 trains of thought on this. :) One says you have to rope off your tractor, people are too careless & break things & liability issues in addition to the hand prints. You spent a mint to make your tractor beautiful, it should stay that way. The other train will say these are tractors, they are meant to be touched, ridden, worked. The hobby shouldn't be ruined like car collecting was by making everything a $100,000 showpiece no one can really enjoy any more. If you bring a tractor to show, let people see it, enjoy it. A tractor is not about shiny paint. May the 2 trains not collide. :)

I think taking your machine to a show is a little like lending money to a friend - don't expect to see your money again and expect some handprints on your tractor. In both cases you'll be able to relax a bit and enjoy life more. My son loves tractors but I'm always clear he needs to speak to the owner before touching. Most owners'll even let him climb up onto the seat as long as he's well-behaved and respectful. The thing is, it's important that we accept the occasional sticky handprint or nick in the paint- this is how youngsters get involved in a hobby where the demographics, unfortunately, skew pretty old.

Rope off a restored car, Motorcycle, but tractors were made to be used and get dirty.

I know exactly what you mean Frank. It is disgusting, pathetic and in very bad taste to touch another persons toy! In the early eighty's I took my son to a show at Domino Farms near Ann Arbor. While at the show my son, who everyone knows is a worthless SOB, reached out and touched a tractor headlight. There it was, just sitting there in all its glory and shining better than new and a perfect trap ready to happen. Well as soon as he touched it the owner barked at him to leave his worthless G.D. SOB hands off the tractor. He did immediately recoil from the tractor and said he was sorry. I offered my appologies but to no avail. I should have known better than to take him him to an "Old Man's Show" so it was my fault. Funny thing, he never wanted to go to another show.

I have a 350 Farmall and an M.G. sports car that I show all the time. I t doesn't bother me a bit if someone touches my tractor or my car,it will wipe off.I don't mean to brag but you won't find them any prettier than what I have.I think some people are pricks and can't help themselves.I don't care if they sit on or in mine.I can't believe anyone would curse someone over touching a tractor.

The biggest thrill I get from the shows is watching the youngsters. Some have never seen an old tractor up close and most have never been up on one. I clean and polish whatever tractor I have at the show early each morning, and I don't mind it one bit. I will say something if anyone starts to be abusive to the tractor, but for the most part, I brought it there to be enjoyed by everyone. Most of us showing together take turns watching each other's equipment, mainly for safety sake, so no one gets hurt. And on occasion, I'll stick my neck out, and take a chance letting a parent place their child on the seat for a picture. It's something they'll remember for a very long time, and that makes me feel pretty good !

I guess I'm with the majority. I have no problem with people touching a tractor. I they want to have a close look at my piece of Ag Art they are welcome to touch it. But I don't want people climbing on it and flicking switches or moving levers, that is just disrespectful. And there is a world of difference between fingerprints and boot scuffs. As for kids and pictures, well is a child wants their picture on mine then please ask and I will put the child in the seat and tell him something about the tractor. I think that all shows should hand people a small leaflet that tells about the show and reminds people that the owers have no problems with them admiring and looking closely at the tractors but please do not climb on the tractors without permision. That's my opinion on the matter anyway.

I let people set on mine and have let little kids drive them around an empty lot at shows. They really think they are something when you let them do that. I kind of see things like this; It didn't take that long to paint and if it gets scratched, a little more time spent in the winter and all is forgiven. I did have a guy one time that came to look at a tractor and he saw my Oliver. We have spent alot of money and along tim to fix that one up and it has been in the family for years. The guy patted the grill really hard with his hand a few times and his ring hit it every time. That really tweeked my melon but I didn't say anything. At shows though I like for little kids to get to drive my tractors a little and if an older guy needs to lean against it to tell a story of how it used to be done well that's OK too. A little wax or the wipe of a rag and it's good as new.

Any normal person ought to be able to look at tractors without touching them. Try going to a car show and rubbing your hands on the paint jobs. It would never occur to me to put my hands on someones paint job. I don't get why people need to touch everything. Keep your hands in your pockets.

When I took my Trailer Queen to the shows my biggest enjoyment was letting a young boy sit behind the wheel and see his smile light up on his face when he grabed the steering wheel and pretended to drive. Then the parents would take a picture of him sitting in it. Boy I bet he rememberd that show for a long time!

Hey all; I agree, with the majority. We don't show the Tractors for our own pleasure, but for all others to enjoy a piece of the past. I have seen the look of pleasure in an older man eyes when he sees a tractor that is all restored and well preserved, like it takes him back to a time when he was young. I don't giving mine a bath, as they get it before they go and after they come home and coat of hand glaze to maintain the shine. Seeing others enjoyment from all of the hard work displayed, brings me a tremendous amount of pleasure.

if you bring the tractor for other people to enjoy, bring one kids can enjoy, they will remember that tractor. nomatter how rusty it was. if you bring a tractor to show people how shiney you made it, either rope it off or better, get a plexiglass showcase made for it. either way, its your tractor, your time and money. but don't expect everyperson in the public to think the way you do, cause you're going to be disappointed.

I see two choices, fingerprints or rope it off. I don't mind folks touching my stuff, as long as they aren't climbing on it. I don't want to have anybody fall off and sue me. I take mine to a show that also has about 25 steamers and a steam train running. Fly ash, road dust and steam cylinder oil sure makes a mess, but it washes off when I get home.

It would be OK for you to rope off your tractor. Some guys take a lot of pride in their hard work and I can see your point. Myself, I like to have kids climb on my tractors. Please don't stay home! That shiny tractor sitting by itself in the shed realy don't help no one.

Yes it is to much to expect. Most folks use those little signs but some are still gonna touch. If that behavior bothers you so much leave the trailer queen at home and take a not so shiney one. When you go to a show you are not displaying for your benefit but for the folks attending.90% of folks will respect your work and admire for the proper distance. Do you really want a little kids or an old retired farmer that just want to touch the first tractor he farmed with 60 yrs ago memory of the show being a red faced angry guy going off on them for fingerprints on paint? Sure go after the slobs and disrespecful teenies. But all it take is a spray bottle and a soft cloth to clean her up again. You are gonna wash the road dust off anyway when you get home are'nt you.

My father and I love restoring tractors. Although we don't make them "show" condition, we do a pretty good job of making them look as they came out the factory... Now my opinion: TRACTORS WERE MADE TO GET DIRTY !!! To me there is nothing more beautiful at a tractor show than seeing handprints from people admiring our work( as long as they're not malicious), or dirt on our restored tractors because we were working them in the field. Have a great day.

I agree, I have never had a tractor restored to a condition that "touching" it bothered me. Looks good, runs good, and then use them. I can hardly complain about someone's finger prints when I washed off cow crap before briging the tractor to the show. Then again the only show I take mine to is a 4th of July event in a small town.

I have a decent '48 Model M John Deere that my dad and I restored ourselves and a couple fair looking 140 John Deere garden tractors that I continue to work on. A couple years ago I took my M and the nicest 140 over to our local show. I didn't have any problems with the folks sitting on the M's front tires to take a break or having a dad ask if it was OK to climb on either one and have his child sit on this lap for a family photo. It didn't bother me when the kids would bounce on my spring steel parade seat that I had on my 140's 3 pt. Someone stole all my hitch pins off my clevis' and one of my little American flags that I had on the 140 - I wasn't going to worry about the little stuff and figured I'd learn better next year. I did have to draw the line when I watched someone slide their pop can down the length of the hood on my M and then leave it sitting there. I also lost my cool alittle when I watched a mother hold up her toddler so he could tap dance on the fiberglass hood of the garden tractor. I suppose I fall somewhere in the middle of this topic. But I have told my kids to ask first before touching someone elses stuff and would just appreciate it if others didn't abuse mine. I'll be at the show next year - but not too far away from them either.

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