Tractor pull drivers show off their skills

Posted: Monday, August 17, 2009

FAIRBANKS - The rhythmic rumblings of antique locomotives and diesel tractors echoed from Sunrise Field Arena as a crowd gathered to watch the annual Antique Tractor Pull on the final day of the Tanana Valley State Fair.

The rain fell in sheets onto the muddy grass field Saturday night, but the blustery August weather didn't seem to stop fairgoers from having a good time and the tractor drivers, both young and old, didn't seem to mind the rainy weather.

Earl Romans, master of ceremonies for the contest, said the tractor pull was dedicated to Kay Sanders and her late husband, Mark.

"We were talking one day, and (Mark) said, with that certain twinkle in his eye, that he had always wanted to do a tractor pull," Romans said. "Well, he finally did it one day and helped me out with our North Pole Plow Day, so we decided to dedicate this to he and his wife. They've been very instrumental in the event."

The object of the tractor pull contest is to see how much weight a tractor can tug down a line about 50 yards long.

What would seem like a simple task requires the help of spectators and other competitors who stand on a metal sled and add weight for the tractor to pull.

The muddy track lining the competition field didn't seem to help with the event but certainly made it more interesting as participants slipped and slid for the ride.

"I find it funny that it's the anniversary for Woodstock, and we're still playing in mud and having a good time," Eric Thompson said. "I guess not much has changed; except I don't think hippies would drive tractors."

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