Tractor pull enthusiasts gathered to test their horsepower at the Food Maxx Arena, located on the fairgrounds in Turlock. They competed for bragging rights in front of an excited crowd who enjoyed the mighty display of engineering.
A lot goes into creating a successful machine. Aspects such as gear ratios, weight distribution, and timing all are as important as the overall power of the engine.
Drivers from across the state participated. Others traveled even further, like Wayne Purser from Norman, Okla., who showed off his impressive tractor Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam featured five 540 c.i.d 8-cylinder engines and was easily the loudest tractor of the show.
Newman local Ralph Serpa, sponsored by Thomspon Chevrolet, competed in the pro modified 4X4 class, and finished with a final distance of 197.9, which was not good enough to place in the highly-contested division.
Crows Landing resident Matt Crow, driving his Smokin Crow, hauled a distance of 266.54 in the 8000 lb. diesel smoker tractor category.
“We should have probably moved about 200 pounds to the front in the gear that we were in. It is still a new tractor for us so we are still trying to figure it out,” said Crow, who hadn’t driven in a competition in roughly a year.
This error in weight distribution caused the tractor to lift its front end off the ground and bounce up and down as the rig progressed down the lane. This came at the sacrifice of Crow gaining any consistent traction, costing him the chance at a full pull—in which the machine takes the weight of the sled the entire 300-foot length of the track. As competitors pull the sled, it gets harder for the engine to continue because the weight distributes closer to the vehicle the further it is hauled.
The next day at the Mother Lode Fair in Sonora, Crow was able to iron out some of the kinks and managed to finish with a full pull.
Crow was one of the last competitors to run on Friday before the evening was cut short due to a curfew the fair had placed on the event. The stringent curfew left some competitors feeling rushed.
“They kind of hustled us a little bit,” said Crow. “They had an 8:30 curfew for the fair. I don’t really agree with it, but it is what it is.”
The Stanislaus County Fair Marketing and Communications Director Adrenna Alkhas explained the curfew.
“All the arena motorsport events start at 6:30 p.m. and have a two-hour max limit because we then have the Bud Light Variety Stage acts at 8:30 p.m.,” said Alkhas. “The entertainers cannot hear what they are saying because they have in-ear monitors. It is disruptive to the show and the audience who cannot hear the performers. It’s a scheduling issue.”
WGAS Motorsport Professionals, who organized the show, had nothing further to add.
The tractor pull competition is held every year at the Stanislaus County Fair at the Food Maxx Arena. For anybody interested in seeing an event in person, there is a local contest in Hilmar being held on July 26, and MJC will host an indoor event on Oct. 11.
You can visit vtpapullers.org for more information on the Hilmar event; for MJC’s, keep an eye on mjc.edu/instruction/agens for the event’s announcement and start of ticket sales.
Contact Erick Torres at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.