2009 - Volume #33, Issue #6, Page #44[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
"Casket Tractor" Always Steals The Show
The "Obituary", as he calls it, pulls in the Exhibition Class at most pulls. The front of the black tractor has a full-size coffin, a tombstone and the Ten Commandments burned into the grill. Bawek has a long, full beard and wears an old-fashioned mortician suit and top hat. Before each pull he walks to the front of the tractor, reads a few verses from a Bible and says a prayer.
"I look a little like ZZ Top, but I classify myself as ZZ Bottom," Bawek jokes.
While the getup may be entertaining, Bawek's goal isn't sacrilegious.
"Some people have never seen the Ten Commandments," he says. A sign on the tractor indicates that it is owned by "The Almighty," and he credits God and his family and friends for helping create The Obituary.
He got the idea for The Obituary after seeing a toy Dracula car with a coffin on front. He decided to adapt the idea to a real tractor.
Bawek had an old, junk Massey Harris 44 tractor with parts missing and a worn-out engine. Bawek extended the tractor frame 4 ft. using parts of a truck frame. He unbolted the front from the back of the tractor and welded and bolted an old truck frame in between.
"I have a little salvage yard so I have different parts to use and didn't have to buy anything," Bawek says. He completely overhauled and rebuilt the Chevy motor. He hooked up the car transmission with the tractor transmission so he has 15 gears altogether.
Bawek built the coffin mostly out of scrap wood. It opens to reveal an angel mannequin at one end. The engine's under the other end. Bawek mounted pipes that look like organ pipes but blast like tractor pulling pipes. He added Model T kerosene headlights to the front.
Altogether, Bawek estimates he spent less than $500. He has taken it to Conde's tractor pull, an Aberdeen car show and other area events the past couple of years.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ron Bawek, P. O. Box 131, Conde, S. Dak. 57434 (ph 605 382-5951).
Click here to download page story appeared in.
Click here to read entire issue
To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.