Our Design of the Week features Curry Farms out of Villa Ridge, IL.
Terry J Curry and his brother Brian have recently taken over running the family farm after the passing of their father this past November. A design on the right sleeve is dedicated in memory of their dad.
The full-back design, drawn by Excel illustrator Chris Gebrosky, features Curry Farm’s Case IH pulling tractor in the front, with their Case IH Steiger Quadtrac and grain bins in the background. The red “M” on the bin is for Mershman Seeds, their main seed supplier.
Third Generation Family Farm
“Me and my brother are third-generation farmers,” explains Terry. “We lost my father in November to lung cancer.” So now Terry, who had worked for Case IH for 24 years, is back on the farm full-time growing corn, soybeans, and wheat. “You know, the basics.”
Terry credits his wife Ruth, son Wyatt, and brother Brian for all their support in the last several months as they all get used to their new roles in the family after the loss of their patriarch.
“It takes the family to pull together to get through it; I’ll say that. And you’ll find out who your friends are when all this is said and done. It’s just a little small community we have here [in Villa Ridge]. There were over 500 people at the nursing home, and some of them waited in line for up to three hours.”
“It’s just… it’s all one big family.”
Terry says the loss of his father also had an impact on the region’s tractor pulling and farming communities. “Many people looked up to him,” he recalls. And the representation of members from this extended community proves the impact his father’s life had.
“We had people come to the funeral services that live up around the Gordyville area, that part of Illinois. We’re all the way on the southern tip, far away from them. We’re talking a six, seven-hour drive! We had people come and caravan together all the way down just to go to the funeral.”
It was important that the family remember their father on this shirt.
“You all put a personal spin on it.”
“That’s what I tell everybody,” Terry says as he explains his Excel shirt. “You put a personal spin on it. You put emotion into it, you know.”
He continues, “My wife even said, ‘well there’s a screen printing place in Carbondale.’ Well, you walk in there, you basically draw out what you want, and they’ll modify it a little. Then they print it out for you. You know? But you’re like, ‘that shirt don’t have no soul, don’t have no meaning.”
Terry has found the working relationship with Excel to be much more beneficial for him, building familiar relationships with our Excel employees Patty Whitaker and Jennifer Martinelli.
“Miss Patty and Miss Jennifer, they’re great people to work with. We got to where whenever we call, we don’t have to tell each other who it is, we know by each other’s voices,” laughs Terry.
Patty and Jennifer have helped Terry every step of the way with his designs. Their experience and recommendations helped persuade him to do something different with this new shirt.
“Before we’ve always done the action shots,” recalls Terry of his first shirts. His pulling tractor was featured racing down the track, mud flying. “They said, this year let’s go with a still shot,” recalls Terry, “and I’m very, very happy with the still shot.” The red and black look amazing on the grey shirts. “Everything just pops!”
Terry credits the design, and the remembrance for his father, with what makes this shirt special.
“Obviously we give them out to friends, family, helpers on the farm, stuff like that. But I’ve got people willing to pay whatever it takes, they all want one. They are flat flying off the shelf!”
“Probably by June I’m gonna be calling back and getting 200 more!” he laughs.