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September 21, 2023

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National Tractor pulling competition raises, money for make-a-wish foundation

The 48th annual National Tractor Pulling competition, the largest outdoor pull in the world, was held at the Wood County fairgrounds on Aug. 15-17.

Representatives from eight states first established the National Tractor Pullers Association in 1969 and it is now the oldest and most respected pulling organization.

“For this year, we spent 16 months planning and we’re already planning for the 50th,” said David Schultz of the media department. “The pulls have always been here and it’s larger each year. Camping sold out in early July.”

Not only did camping sell out early, Ron Miners from radio station 107.7 The Wolf joked about his product selling out early: over a thousand beer cozies.

“We do commercial ads for the Pulls and in return we set up our table to promote our radio. It’s a win-win,” Miners said. “The staff here is also absolutely amazing, helpful, friendly and they feed me.”

Fans from all over the world unfolded their lawn chairs, piled into the stands to see their favorite tractors and were prepared for flying tires.

The tractors included unlimited modified tractors, pro stock tractors, open modified mini tractors, super semis, light super stock tractors and diesel super stock four-wheel-drive.

The weights ranged from 2,050 lb. to 20,000 lb.

Excited to see the super semis and pro stock tractors, Jackie Lucas drove over four hours with his friend Gary Moore.

“I’ve been coming here every year since ’84,” Lucas said.

Moore enjoys the supers the best and says they plan on returning in the future.

While Moore and Lucas made the drive from Kentucky, driver Gert Dingerink flew from the Netherlands with his friends.

He started pulling at the age of 16 and does not mind flying out of the country to do so.

“We like being here. It’s the biggest pull with nice people who all like to compete,” he said.

He placed fourth place with his open modified tractor named, “Gemcom Power Lambada,” he was happy with his score of 310.955.

His crew member Helma Boer, who is also from the Netherlands, is proud of his dedication and thankful for their friends who joined them.

“We always like to come to BG. It’s unbelievable how many people here love to pull,” Boer said. “And if you don’t get in the winner’s circle, it’s still great.”

Driver Jason Hathaway, from Washington, Pennsylvania, is also ecstatic of his accomplishments this year.

With two tractors, one named “Honkin’ Donkey Black” and the other “Honkin’ Donkey White,” he managed to get sixth and seventh place.

“Every year it gets better. This is our favorite pull because of the atmosphere and the fans,” Hathaway said.

The Pulls also help the Make-A-Wish foundation.

Development Associate Callie Cannon from the foundation had a table set up. It is their 21st year partnering with the tractor pulls and their second largest fundraiser ever.

“We’ve raised about the same as last year and it’s going up every year,” Cannon said.

They raised $105,000 in one weekend and according to Cannon, the average cost of a wish is $8,000.

“That’s a lot of wishes we made,” Cannon said. “And all the money raised stays in Northwest Ohio.”

After the final competitions on Sunday, the fans left with smiles on their faces and less dirt on their feet than expected.

“It was supposed to rain, but the tractor pull gods shined down on us,” Miners said.

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