Video: Popularity of tractor runs continues to grow
The charitable, community spirit and fun aspects of tractor runs have driven the popularity of these events, according to a number of organisers.
In recent weeks several tractor runs, which are typically organised to support various charitable causes, have taken place across the country.
Even though tractor runs are organised throughout the year, the last two months have proved to be a particularly popular time for such events, as tractors lie idle in yards.
Four 17-year-olds took it upon themselves to organise a run in east Co. Galway on Sunday, February 19, in aid of Hand in Hand, a children’s cancer charity.
Ruairi Gallagher, Michael Buckley, Micheal O’Connell and Cormac Hurney were the core organisers of the run, along with a large team of volunteers. They raised just under €2,000.
Gallagher believes that the runs have become popular as they give young farmers something to look forward to during the year, where they can show off their tractors.
“We thought that there hasn’t been a tractor run for quite a long time around us, so we decided we would have a go at organising one.
It’s an excuse to clean the tractor up and have it shining for the day itself. It’s also a good way to meet other young farmers locally and make friends with people with common interests.
“There’s obviously a good buzz on the day as you’ve got your tractor shining and you get to show it off, while also being able to see other tractors parked up before heading out past the crowd at the gate,” he added.
With a total of 109 tractors taking part, a considerable amount of organising and preparation went into the event, with a number of stewards being needed on the day to direct traffic, he added.
Over 200 tractors take part in a run in Co. Kilkenny
Another run, which has taken place for six consecutive years, in Ballyhale, Co. Kilkenny attracted over 200 tractors.
The ‘Murt and Minty’ tractor run, in memory of Martin ‘Murt’ Duggan and Sean ‘Minty’ Malone who died in a road traffic accident in 2011, was held on December 28, 2016.
Chris Brown, from Mullinavat, has been involved in the organising of the run since it began.
This year we raised €6,000 for charity, but in total we have raised about €40,000 to date for local causes.
“The two lads were from a farming background so we decided to set up the run in their honour.
“Lads would be prepping and cleaning tractors for a week or more before the run. It’s mostly fairly new tractors that take part.
“The run is about 55km long so it takes over three hours. It would be a bit cold to do it in a vintage tractor with no cab,” Brown said.
Organising the run takes a lot of work and begins up to three months before the event is set to take place, he added.
“There’s a lot of organising to be done, from trying to feed everyone afterwards to organising stewards to go out ahead of the tractors.
But it’s a serious day out for everyone. Most people are at home for Christmas and they like to get out and do something different.
The support the run receives continues to surprise Brown, with participants travelling from all over the country. There is also a significant proportion of lady drivers that take part every year, he said.
“Tractors come from all over to take part. One year we had a few lads drive down from Mountbellew in Co. Galway to take part.
“This year we had a silage harvester take part. We’ve also had a fire engine and a few trucks do the run in the past. All of the money goes to a good cause at the end of the day,” he said.
A Christmas tractor run in Co. Limerick
A Christmas tractor run has been organised by the Anglesboro Vintage Club in Co. Limerick for the past seven years.
The run raised a total of €3,120 for the Irish Kidney Association this year when it took place on December 27, William Bourke, a member of the vintage club, said.
“The support from the locality was brilliant this year; it was a fantastic day for the whole community.
We had a mixture of tractors, from vintage to brand new, take part. We got lucky with the weather. Once it stays dry, that’s half the battle.
“A lot of the drivers would be young lads working for contractors in the area. They’re allowed to borrow the tractor for the day and the contractor gets it back clean,” he said.
Plans are already in motion for the 2017 tractor run, which organisers hope will be another success, Bourke added.