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The ride of a lifetime

Former Tiskilwa resident drives tractor in the Presidential Inaugural Parade

When you think about the inaugural parade, held after a president of the United States takes the oath of office, your mind probably pictures limousines, Secret Service, military bands, soldiers and more.

But what about tractors?

That’s right. Tractors.

While you expect to see these massive machines rumbling down the rural roads of Bureau County and any other farming area across the country, the sight of a long line of all makes and models of tractors in the Jan. 20 Presidential Inaugural Parade was, no doubt, a high point for farmers across the nation.

The Rural Tractor Brigade was organized by RFD-TV in its ongoing effort to “reconnect city with country.” The parade entry was titled, “We The People: Our American Journey.” RFD-TV invited every tractor manufacturer to participate, and those companies that confirmed their participation were Case IH, Challenger, John Deere, Kubota, Mahindra, Massey-Ferguson and New Holland.

That’s where former Tiskilwa resident Chad Colby, 46, now of Goodfield, had the opportunity to take the ride of his lifetime. Colby is the general manager for Central Illinois Ag, a full-line Case IH dealer located in the heart of Illinois in four different locations.

The Tiskilwa native has also been an avid speaker around the world on ag technology, and he has frequently appeared on “This Week in Agribusiness,” hosted by the well-known Max Armstrong, an icon in agricultural broadcasting. Colby said Armstrong asked him to drive the tractor in which Armstrong would be riding in the parade.

Colby and Armstrong rode in a new Case IH Magnum 250 for the Presidential Inaugural Parade.

“(It’s) hard to describe; driving the parade was amazing,” Colby said. “As we passed by the first family, both Max and I were very moved by it. The fact that both our President and Vice President looked right at us and waved was very humbling.

“Max and I in the cab — two adult men, and we were speechless,” Colby said. “It was an amazing experience.”

Since that memorable day, Colby said his phone hasn’t quit ringing with people asking him about the experience, not to mention the hundreds of messages he has received from colleagues in the agriculture industry.

Colby said he believes having an agricultural element in the parade was indicative of how important agriculture is to everyone in the United States, not to mention the world.

And for him personally?

“(It) shows promise and excitement for our new administration that agriculture was important enough to be included in this event,” Colby said. “I have had the opportunity to do some amazing things in my life, but this will certainly be one I will always remember. (The) best part was sharing it with so many people around the world.”

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