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September 21, 2023

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47th annual tractor pull draws local, state crowd

Tractor Pull

All weekend long the roars and revs of tractor and truck engines could be heard throughout the city.

These sounds, familiar to most Bowling Green residents, indicated that once again the National Tractor Pulling Championships had begun.

Each year, the tractor pull draws roughly 50,000 visitors to the Wood County Fair Grounds to watch souped-up farm vehicles pull weighted sleds across the dirt track, something they’ve enjoyed for 47 years.

“It gets better each year,” said Debbie Ebersole, a Bowling Green resident who has attended the tractor pulls for the past 12 years. “It’s fun and relaxing to just camp out and talk to the people.”

Ebersole and her husband, who works for the tractor pulls preparing food, camped out for more than a week at the fairgrounds in their camper.

“It’s interesting to see all the new tractors. I am a John Deere fan myself,” Ebersole said.

During the weekend, more than 300 people competed in 12 divisions of the pulls including Super Farm Tractors, 4-Wheel Drive Trucks, and Unlimited Modified vehicles, said Terry Andryc, media coordinator for the tractor pulls.

“Winning here says something because you compete against the best,” Andryc said. “It’s the pinnacle at BG like NASCAR.”

A chance at first place is what brought Jacob Wildermuth, of Indian Lake, Ohio, to the tractor pulls.

“Anything could happen sitting behind 300 horsepower,” Wildermuth said. “It’s crazy.”

Wildermuth has competed in the tractor pulls for five years and participated in the Super Farm Tractors and Pro Stock pulls on Saturday.

“It’s similar to racing cars; anyone could do it,” Wildermuth said.

For people who preferred to watch the show rather than be a part of it, the pulls featured something for everyone, Andryc said.

Children could participate in the Kiddie Tractor Pull, in which they could peddle sleds and win prizes or even buy toys, making it a more family-friendly event, he said.

Regardless of whether people compete, attend or work during the tractor pulls, most agree the atmosphere and people make the experience memorable.

“With the friends you make here, it’s like a reunion every year,” Andryc said.

For Adam Reichert, a competitor from Indian Lake, Ohio, the tractor pulls are “like a party.”

“You feel like a rock star behind the wheel and you can talk to any [driver],” he said.

At the other end of the fairgrounds, Ebersole relaxed in her chair outside of her camper.

“Everyone walks by and beeps at us or stops to talk,” she said. “You make a lot of friends.”

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