Tractor pull, Opening Weekend coincide

Bowling Green is busy this year as Opening Weekend falls on the same weekend as the Northwestern Ohio Tractor Pullers Association’s National Tractor Pulling Championships.

With the high influx of people traveling into Bowling Green, hotels need to prepare accordingly to accommodate their guests.

Ainsley Rutkowski, general manager of Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Bowling Green, said they are “very, very busy” during this weekend every year due to the two events.

While the group is two distinct varieties of people, she said it is an interesting, fun and wonderful group to have in the hotel.

Rutkowski said the tractor pulling guests outweigh the University guests because the event is a national one in which people are able to book 50 weeks out.

She said two weeks after the tractor pulling event occurs this weekend, the guests are able to book their room for the next year; and most of them do.

The hotel also works directly with the fairground and its workers to help them book rooms for themselves and their guests.

While the tractor pull guests know when to book their room because of the annual event, she said most parents do not know a year in advance to book a hotel room to move their child in to college.

Due to overbooking, Rutkowski said the hotel has had to turn people away.

However, in the coming year she said new hotels from other companies will come to the town, adding 200 more room nights for guests to have available to them for the weekend.

Rutkowski also said the hotel staff enjoys making this “special” group of people feel welcome by decorating the hotel accordingly.

For the tractor pulling guests, she said the hotel has put pictures of the guests’ tractors on cookies.

For University guests, she said they put some BG gear in the rooms.

However, she said it can be difficult to keep a balance amongst the two events inside the hotel.

“I want to put the front desk staff in flannel shirts and jeans for the tractor pull, but suits and ties for the BG families,” she said.

Michael Brown, Treasurer for Northwestern Ohio Tractor Pullers Association, said lodging is the biggest issue they have with opening weekend occurring the same time as their event.

“Most hotels in town are pre-booked every year, causing us to send our guests out of the county to find lodging,” Brown said.

Findlay and Perrysburg are typically the areas where the tractor pulling guests find lodging, Brown said.

“Due to the quality of our event, people are willing to travel,” he said.

The National Tractor Pulling Championships also provides campgrounds for guests to stay on-site for lodging, which Brown said helps.

Dave Kielmeyer, chief communications officer for the University, said the overlapping of the two events has not had much of an impact on Opening Weekend.

Kielmeyer said this is something the University has dealt with every year for about ten years, with a few years being exceptions.

While Opening Weekend has expanded to an extra day, it is not due to the tractor pull conflict.

Students move in on Thursday this year in order to provide them more time for activities, Kielmeyer said.