Its a sound as distinct as a doorbell.
Its color is its trademark.
Its name is legendary.
Winn Westcott sat comfortably on the metal seat of his 1952 John Deere tractor as the recognizable putt-putt-putt-putt of the two-cylinder engine softly settled into the ears of the appreciative crowd.
The John Deere green tractor is as American as apple pie and Abraham Lincolns top hat.
Its a heaping helping of nostalgic Americana.
But its not just the John Deere. Its the McCormick Farmall, its Case, its Minneapolis-Moline.
The American farmers life was dramatically changed as technology took hold and the tractor was introduced more than a century ago.
Work was easier, production went up, life was better.
On Saturday at the Ag Expo, that slice of Americana was on display at the antique tractor pull.
Cortezs Don Etnier stood proudly next to his beautifully restored 1946 Minneapolis-Moline.
The company was sold to a competitor back in 1964 but Etnier has secured a piece of American history.
I bought it at an auction in Bayfield. It was a piece of junk, Etnier says.
Its not a piece of junk anymore.
The tractor is restored and painted with its original colors prairie gold and cherry red.
I was born on a farm (in Iowa) and drove tractors as a kid, he says, explaining his love of tractors.
Its the history, the quality, the pride of America, the hard-working way of life of the American farmer that all fuel Etniers love of old tractors.
Etnier, 62, talks about every feature and piece of handmade quality that makes the tractor special.
That oil pan is 85 pounds, he says. Then he shows off a unique feature that the John Deere cant claim to possess.
Its a slide-away seat and a lower standing platform below the seat. That allowed a better standing position for the farmer. And the slide-away feature gave the farmer the option of taking along a youngster or an even easier standing position by sliding the seat over to the side.
It created a better standing position. Farmers would be in the field for hours at a time and this would let the farmer stand up all day if he wanted, Etnier says.
And the quality of the old tractors is indisputable.
With just a minimal amount of care, this tractor will be around for another 100 years. A lot longer than you and I, he says.
Etnier loves the idea of owning something 66 years old a tractor that was built and rolled off the assembly line and into the pasture one year after the end of WWII.
Westcott, 70, echoes everything Etnier said about the appeal of an old tractor.
They were built to last, he says. Its really a trip back into history.
The John Deere tractors distinct putt-putt sound comes from the two-cylinder engine.
Westcott smiles: I like the way it sounds.
So does Gregg Tradup of Aztec, N.M.
He confesses that hes never been a farmer but he loves old tractors.
I couldnt grow tumbleweeds, but I dont live in town, so I have tractors, he says with a grin.
He brought his 1946 John Deere B to the tractor pull.
Tradup loves John Deere tractors.
History and power. And of course the sound: That two-cylinder sure makes a distinct sound.
Back home he gives hayrides to youngsters. He has a stable of seven antique tractors, including a 1951 Case, but everybody loves the John Deere.
Kids love the John Deere. Theyve never heard of Case.
Its the sound, the color and the name that makes John Deere the American legend.
Thats John Deere green and John Deere yellow, he says pointing to the tractor and the metal wheels.
Old tractors any old tractor is pure Americana, Tradup says.
We want to keep the history alive, he says smiling as the engine of his John Deere putted and popped.
The 40-year-old calls himself a gearhead and says that most antique tractor owners need to have the mechanical gene.
The oldest, and maybe the star of the antique tractor show was the Minnesota-made 1912 Emerson-Braningham Big 4 tractor thats owned by the city of Monticello, Utah.
The massive 9-ton workhorse came to the Four Corners area right from the factory 100 years ago.
Only 17 of the giant tractors were ever made. It arrived in Dolores by rail and was driven at 2 1/2 mph for two weeks to the Monticello area where it was used to clear 1,000 acres of brush for a coal company.
The classic tractor owners say they dont plan to sell their machines. But if the price is right, Westcott says hed part with his John Deere.
I might sell it, if I got enough money to build another one, the Monticello man says with a grin.
It was clear that every person who plopped down on a hard metal tractor seat and grabbed that classic big steering wheel, loved owning an antique tractor regardless of the make or model.
And that is a priceless slice of 100 percent Americana.