Trevor Esau tipped a homemade tractor over at his shop
By Diego Flammini
A Manitoba man has newfound internet fame after a video of him experiencing a tractor mishap went viral.
A video of Trevor Esau, a semi-retired former insulation business owner from Steinbach, Man., flipping a homemade John Deere tractor he acquired, has been viewed more than 3 million times across social media sites.
Esau traded an old boat he had sitting around his 1,200-square-foot shop where he enjoys tinkering and working on projects.
“It was an old Baja ski boat, and I didn’t know what I was going to do with it,” Esau told Farms.com. “A guy came by and said he really wanted the boat and offered a trade. My boat for his homebuilt tractor. It looks like a John Deere and has an Austin A40 motor in it.”
Esau’s plans for the tractor included using the motor to power snowblowers for his yard.
If that doesn’t work out, he can always scrap it.
“Worst case scenario, the tractor has more scrap value than a fiberglass boat,” he said.
Esau hopped on his new tractor to park it in his shop, and that’s where things started to go sideways.
His nephew, Brandon Post, started to record him using the tractor.
“He was laughing because I was grinding the gears so bad,” Esau said.
Esau came to realize the clutch didn’t work because the assembly wasn’t tight.
“You’ve got to remember this is a homemade tractor,” he said. “All the linkages between the clutch pedal and the clutch mechanism on the transmission, all the bolts were so loose that pushing the pedal did nothing.”
That’s when Esau jammed the tractor into gear. But he couldn’t get the tractor back into neutral, and the machine started to move.
And Esau started to go into a minor panic.
“The transmission is grinding as I’m trying to get it back into neutral, then I’d overshoot and it would go into a forward gear or a reverse gear,” he said.
The tractor started to move towards the front of the shop.
Esau accepted that he was going to hit the items at the front of the shop. But a floor jack had other ideas.
“I pushed the floor jack along for a bit until the wheels stopped,” he said. “Then the tractor pushed the handle down. The handle hits a table, providing this nice 45-degree angle for the tractor to go up and I’m thinking ‘oh man this is not going to be good.’”
The 39-second video ends with the front end of the tractor pointing straight up, with Esau still in the seat, unharmed, having a good laugh at what just transpired.
Once the dust settled, Esau sent the video to friends of his to share in the laughs, who suggested the video go online because it’ll gain traction and make money.
So, Esau created his TikTok account and posted the video.
It soon became clear this video had the potential to go viral.
“It got lots of attention right away,” he said. “I watched the view counts and at the end of the first day it had almost 100,000 views.”
The video also caught the attention of ViralHog, a company that pitches footage to media partners like TV stations, websites, and content creators. Some of the videos in the company’s library have more than 300 million views.
Esau and ViralHog worked out a licensing agreement that will see the Manitoba viral star receive a percentage of royalties from the video views.
“I get 50 per cent of any money they make off of the video,” he said. “At this point it looks like it’ll be a couple hundred bucks a month I can put back into my tractor.”
Social media platforms like TikTok have replaced traditional viral video shows.
Namely America’s Funniest Videos, Esau said.
“We’re not limited to watching these funny videos once a week with our families on the couch,” he said. “Now, literally overnight, a video you think nothing of can become this internet moment everyone talks about.”
More videos may be on the horizon for the Steinbach star.
He’s thinking about making a series of videos about the tractor and getting it hooked up to the snowblowers he has in his shop.
Want to see more farm fails and funny equipment moments? Check out the video below.