posted on February 04, 2013 13:15 :: 7607 Views
It was smack dab in the middle of what I would say was the best Super Bowl commercial of the night, if not for decades. As Paul Harvey's words described the farmer as "somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing," a picture flashed across the screen showing a family seated around the dinner table, praying before a meal.
The family, shown in the screenshot below from the Dodge Ram Trucks' Super Bowl commercial "God Made A Farmer", actually happens to live right here in Montana.
The family is none other than the Gustafson's, who ranch south of Browning, Montana on The Two Medicine River where they raise a cross of Angus and Hereford cattle. Seated at the head of the table is Barr Gustafson, along with Barr's 13 year old son Owen (clockwise to the right in the photograph), Barr's brother Wylie of Cut Bank, Barr's 14 year old daughter Greta, and Barr's wife Colleen. (Did you notice the slab of beef in the center of the table?)
I spoke with Colleen Gustafson over the phone Monday morning. I told her how people called me from Kalispell, Butte and elsewhere, noting how the rooms showing the Super Bowl went quiet, and people's eyes were filled with tears as the Dodge ad came on TV. "Just wonderful, I had a tear in my eye too," said Colleen as she recalled watching the ad for the first time. And what about having the iconic Paul Harvey's voice behind the ad? "When we were kids, we had to be perfectly quiet when the weather came on, and when Paul Harvey came on the radio."
Colleen says it was about a month ago that the acclaimed photographer Bill Allard, who has done work for National Geographic- including a piece on Montana's Hi-Line, stopped by their ranch for a photo shoot. The Gustafson's had no idea how their photos were going to be used until they actually aired the night of the Super Bowl. She noted that the producers had to keep everything very tight-lipped. She says there were actually three pictures from their ranch used in the ad. The first was of their daughter's horse "Chilly," then a close-up of Barr, followed by the shot at the dining room table.
Much like the ad's message, Barr Gustafson doesn't merely hold a 24/7 job in owning and running a ranch. He's also a local veterinarian who is used to taking the midnight phone calls to help a neighbor in need. That's part of the reason Colleen says she had to give up her job in town, so she could help run the ranch too.
At the end of our chat over the phone, Colleen explained how thankful she was to Dodge for recognizing America's farmers and ranchers. Ask Colleen where her family buys their Dodge pickup, and she will quickly correct you that it is "Dodges"- plural. "My husband just came in in the midst of it, and he said, 'tell him we buy our Dodge pickups at Northern Chrysler in Cut Bank, Montana."
How did the Gustafson's kids, who go to school in Cut Bank, react when they saw the ad?
Click here to listen to what Colleen had to say:
Click to Listen
Did you miss the ad, or just want to watch it again? Click the video below to watch it in full: