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Tractor pulls return to fairgrounds

By Staff | Jul 8, 2020

CINDY KNIER/The Luminary Sometimes mechanical failures occur during a pull. Club president John Bush (seated on tractor), slated to pull during eliminations, required extra help in removing it from the track when his equipment experienced issues prior to hook up.

HUGHESVILLE-They began arriving at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds from all directions as registration opened Sunday morning, June 7. Some traveled as far a distance as Lititz, excitement and pride obvious as the competitors began unloading their equipment.

It was the first tractor pull of the year, hosted by the Pennsylvania Antique Tractor Pulling Association, based in Hughesville. After an absence of activity since last fall, the group was modest in number and quite content to be outdoors, unhindered by masks and health guidelines.

And if such activity seems silly to the general public, a Google search on the topic reveals over 1 million sites, images and videos devoted to the pastime.

Typically, during the tractor-pulling season, meets are held each month, beginning in April and lasting through October. COVID-19 interfered with that schedule, and as soon as the county was designated in the green phase, arrangements were quickly in place for the first event of the season.

Tractor pulling is becoming an increasingly popular sport, especially among those who are more seasoned in life and competition experiences.

CINDY KNIER/The Luminary With a look of gritted determination, Doug Archer of the Troy area takes the wheel during the June 7 competition.

To describe what a pull event entails, tractors are required to pull a sled with a very heavy weight on it. At first, the weight is at the back of the sled, which makes it easier to pull. As the tractor progresses down the track with the sled in tow, the weight is moved via chains and pulleys farther forward on the sled, making it increasingly hard to pull. At some point the tractor can no longer move forward. The distance the tractors can pull the sled is what determines the winner.

There’s a lot of finesse involved in pulling the sled, because the object is to get as much traction as possible or as long as possible. If the driver spin the tires, they will stop moving forward. Since the sled is becoming increasingly hard to pull, it is unlikely that the driver will get it moving again if he stops.

Specific rules require that tractors must be 1968 or older to qualify to pull, while drivers must be 14 years or older and must demonstrate basic proficiency.

The next scheduled pull is this Saturday, July 11, at 10 a.m.; admission is free. A portable toilet is available for the public to use, as well as a food vendor.

The association consists of John Bush, president; Tom Steppe, vice-president; Jason Snyder, treasurer; Lewis Hill, secretary; and five safety/rules officers: Peter Wertman, Bob Fogelman, Ethan Swartz, Wyatt Swart, and Roger Snyder.

CINDY KNIER/The Luminary Lester Livegood traveled from Lititz to pull at the June 7 competition. When asked why he traveled 125 miles one way, he said the tractor events hadn’t been scheduled in his region, and he was “itching to compete.”

Visit “http://www.PATPA.yolasite.com”>www.PATPA.yolasite.com for additional information, or follow their Facebook page.