This article may trigger some people, causing offense. If so, this report is based on my observations and I’m sharing my opinion. We all have freedom to agree and disagree. I also realize that this story can be viewed from different aspects.
I’m trying not to be an antique tractor puller. It’s a slippery slope not to, and I have several hands grabbing and pulling me down the hill. This is happy sarcasm by the way. The reason I “avoid” being a puller is my fear I’ll become passionately involved in yet another aspect. As far as tractors go, I’m pretty deeply invested now.
I have become acquainted with several tractor pulling clubs. Three in particular are promoted here on this blog and on Facebook Antique Iron Mafia and Media. I’m a proud supporter of two of them. One of them I personally invest time helping in any way I can. This article IS NOT directed at any of those three organizations. The clubs are administrated well, and I have observed their sense of fair play.
With that being said….
Doug and I traveled to a tractor pull in Green Valley, on Saturday. Three others came with us to watch Doug on the track. Doug had never pulled with this group. He registered in for two weight classes. He actually signed up to compete in lighter classes than he normally competes in.
There was no scale so they had to take Doug’s word that his weight was correct. If there has been scales, Doug would have provided proof. There was also a speed limit. Again Doug agreed to that.
Doug’s Oliver was the first pull of the day. Every participant had two pulls per class. Doug’s first attempt was a full pull. He had a speed warning which he immediately slowed down. The tractor and track conditions were good. Anyone that knew the tractor could tell he wasn’t running full throttle.
Doug won that weight class, he went to put more weight on, and I signed him up to pull in his normal weight class. They gladly accepted the hook fee.
I was watching the competition when the guy that Doug had defeated walked up asking questions about Doug’s Oliver. I’m just a part of the pit crew. The guy complained that Doug’s tractor had been altered and didn’t believe his weight was correct for the class. I shrugged, if we were being called on it, let’s go weigh!
Evidently, he cried to the management. Doug pulled in his next class going the distance to win, but wasn’t determined to be the winner. He also didn’t get the second pull like the other tractors. Two pulls per class, if you recall.
They had decided to disqualify him. He would be allowed to pull in the final weight class, but wasn’t allowed to compete.
After some discussion, Doug was told that he had been disqualified for his hitch and cut tires. Funny, I saw three or four tractors that had the same hitch and tires. We’re they disqualified? All the tractor clubs I’ve been associated with do inspections to determine if the tractor can pull BEFORE the participant registers for the pull.
The truth came out in the wash. They simply didn’t like a stranger coming to compete and take any trophies. They didn’t want any “hot” tractors coming in and showing them up. Doug may have been warned on his speeding, he had addressed it everytime the warning horn blew.
They didn’t have a problem taking the hook fees! To their credit they refunded the one class that Doug didn’t pull in.
We left an hour after the pull had started. If Doug wasn’t allowed to compete, we decided there were better things to do. As far as Doug’s “hot” tractor, this club is lucky that he was the only one to come compete. If anyone else from our nick of the woods had gone, they would have REALLY been put to shame with their little league tractors.
I said before I see the other side of this. I don’t agree it’s right. The group should have done a preliminary inspection of ALL the tractors. They should have also advertised the rules they were going by. Doug wouldn’t have traveled if the tractor didn’t qualify.
My parting remark for the hosting group. I don’t recommend you travel south into our area. We are more competitive and we don’t need you wetting down our track with your tears! We have tractor pulls and don’t give participation trophies. Trophies go to the winners!
This is my opinion. It’s best that I’m not a part of the governing members that manage the pulling clubs. You’re probably welcome to participate locally, the group has sanctioned rules that are abided. They are transparent about the rules and don’t make them up just to suit them.