Crowds pack the stands for P.V. tractor pulls; Jamboree is this weekend
By CHUCK CLEMENT, Staff Reporter
Tractor pull enthusiasts can get their fill of the heavily-horsepowered farm machine action during the Prairie Village Steam Threshing Jamboree with the annual event hosting four separate pull competitions Thursday through Saturday.|
The sponsors of the Prairie Village tractor pulls are just as eager to put on a show for the thousands of fans who make the jamboree's tractor pulls into standing-room-only events.
Dennis Beck, president of the Great Plains Tractor Pullers, said the 100-odd Great Plains members look forward to competing at the threshing jamboree each summer. The interest of the tractor pull competitors has formed partly from the crowds that the jamborees draw and partly from the backing that jamboree organizers provide.
Beck said that the main event tractor pulls put on by the Great Plains and Outlaw organizations drew 4,000 spectators in 2012.
"Great Plains started holding its tractor pulls at Prairie Village about 10 years ago," Beck said. "We first started holding our pull events (in the Madison area) around the Labor Day holiday, and then we started running our competitions in conjunction with the jamborees about eight years ago."
"The response was incredible to that move, and we couldn't have been more satisfied."
According to Beck, Great Plains will start its Prairie Village farm stock and open farm tractor pull at 1 p.m. on Aug. 24. On that Saturday afternoon, the tractor pull competitors -- who need to have Great Plains membership -- will test their machines in the 6,700-pound to 12,500-pound classes. Great Plains will also hold a pickup pull for competitors in the super stock four-wheel-drive class.
Although the pickup pulls are relatively new among tractor pull fans, Beck said their popularity has continued to build.
"Most people can identify themselves with the pickups easier than the tractors," Beck said. "I think the pickup pulls have become very well received by the spectators."
He added that the farm stock tractors still look greatly similar to the tractors that most Americans can see working in fields across the Midwest. In the past, Beck has competed at the stock level in tractor-pull competitions.
Great Plains currently has a roster of more than 100 members.
"Our membership is made up of competitors having a farm-based background," Beck said. "They usually have an interest in mechanics, a competitive drive, and a love for the tractor itself -- and in making it run at its peak performance."
Allen Shellum, a Sherman resident associated with the Outlaw truck and tractor pullers, has a deep tie to Prairie Village. His grandfather was one of the original founders of the historical preservation site. Shellum also competes at tractor pulls sitting at the controls of his John Deere 4240, which is nicknamed "Constant Chaos."
The Outlaw organization will open its Prairie Village event at 7 p.m. on Aug. 24, holding competitions in light-limited pro stock, pro farm, super farm and multi-engined modified tractor classes. Outlaw organizers will also hold pulls for pickups in the modified and pro-modified two-wheel-drive and modified four-wheel-drive classes.
According to Shellum, the group's Prairie Village tractor pull draws bigger crowds than some of the other events on the Outlaw schedule. The event also draws a good field of competitors with the pool limited to Outlaw members.
"I'm thinking that this year's pull will probably draw guys from five or six states," Shellum said. "For the Outlaw schedule, some of the guys chase points all year."
Prairie Village will host two other tractor pulls during the jamboree -- the exhibitor tractor pull on Thursday night and a stock, classic and open tractor pull on Friday.
At 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 22, competitions are scheduled for tractors 1938 and older in steel wheel and rubber tire classes and for models from 1939 to 1957 in steel and rubber classes with no weights and one hook per tractor.
The Friday tractor pull will hold competitions for tractors from 1959 and older and an 11,000-pound class King of the Village.
Shellum said some credit for the success of the Prairie Village competitions should go to the spectators who show up for the tractor pulls.
"The stands are usually full of people on Saturday night," he said. "Not all of our pulls are that big."
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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