Small tractors put on pulling show in FD
FORT?DODGE – Gray smoke billowed from the spinning wheels and screaming engine of a tractor the morning of July 11 as it struggled to pull a heavy load down a track.
However, no one was sitting behind the wheel of that tractor or any of the other vehicles that competed in a pulling event in Fort Dodge. In fact, it would be impossible for anyone to get aboard the machines because they were a fraction of the size of actual vehicles.
The event was a National Micro-Mini Tractor Pullers Association competition held at Graham Tire, 110 S. 25th St.
The associations’s president, Jay Lerbs, of South St. Paul. Minnesota, said the event featured all the challenges and excitement of a tractor pull. But the tractors, pickups, cars and semi truck tractors doing the pulling were all 1/16 the size of the machines seen on farms and roads.
The small vehicles, which weigh up to six or seven pounds depending on what category they are competing in, can pull up to 500 pounds, according to Lerbs.
Lerbs said 25 people from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska participated in Saturday’s competition.
”It’s a family sport,” he said. ”We’ve got kids involved, complete families involved.”
Competitors hooked their vehicles up to a sled on wheels loaded with weights. Getting their machine to tug that heavy sled as far as a possible down a 16-foot long wooden table was the objective.
The day’s events began with the three-pound pro stock class. Each tractor weighed three pounds and was equipped with a customized internal combustion engine.
One of the first competitors was Duane Newman, of Eudora, Kansas. He said a friend got him into the hobby a decade ago.
”He said, here take these things and get going,” Newman said.
He has 10 pulling vehicles. He bought some of them and built the others. Newman said the vehicles cost $300 to $500.
Building the tractors and other vehicles is the most rewarding part of the hobby for Larry Ubben, of Sheffield. He said he assembled his first pulling tractor in 1976 when he was 14. He returned to the hobby about three years ago.
He said that he’s built 11 vehicles.
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