June 16, 2021
Sports & Recreation


Down and dirty

Competitors gear up for the 2018 truck and tractor pull season

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Where can you relax on a summer night and enjoy a cold beverage, while a powerful rumble cranks the decibels in the air, the ground trembles and mud slings around in a dingy shower like the mist from a crashing wave?

On the track, of course. This season, check out the downhome dusty fun of truck and tractor pulling.

The good-natured appeal of truck and tractor pulling often attracts large, enthusiastic crowds.  The uniqueness that a pull provides inspires awe in first-time attendees, even those who already racing and racing and other outdoor competition. A pull itself is something to behold – difficult to compare with other horsepower-focused motorsports like drag racing, as the overall experience launches vastly different assaults on your senses.

And we do mean “assaults.” It’s loud. It’s dirty. The roar of the engines shake the stadium seating. A key event at local, county and state fairs for decades, this event’s mud-spewing, oil-smoldering wackiness grew in popularity over the years.  New levels of competition emerged, and professional organization became necessary. From those beginnings, multiple official sanctioning bodies that tour all over the United States were created, and they continue to thrive in 2018.

One such group ITPA (Illinois Tractor Pulling Association.) It was formed 50 years ago and as such is one of the oldest official organizations for tractor pulling in the country. Heading into 2018, fans can expect a full schedule of pulls throughout the Midwest this summer, competing at county and state fairs, local picnics, and select special events. With different classes ranging from simple garden tractors to full-sized, diesel-powered trucks capable of pulling more than 20,000 pounds, the ITPA is sure to have something to catch everyone’s eyes and ears. Be sure to visit the ITPA’s website at www.itpapulling.com for their full season schedule and all the information you need to plan your trip to the mud.

Another popular sanctioning body in the state is the CITP (Central Illinois Truck Pullers.) With its own carefully designed schedule of pulls in the summer, competitors are slated to appear at various fairs and festivals. This group has a slightly different set of divisions and rules than the ITPA, so between the two there is a large gamut of ear-splitting competition for truck and tractor pulling fans statewide. The CITP website can be found at www.centralillinoistruckpullers.com and is chock full of photos, videos, event information and useful links to learn more about how and where the CITP runs its shows.

Those are just a couple of the more popular professional touring organizations you may find at a fair near you this summer, but let’s not forget the local and amateur competitors! A raucously fun happening at many fairs is the opportunity for local spectators to test their mettle in the dirt, like at Whiteside County Fair in Morrison. The “2 Hot 2 Farm Tractors” event at the Whiteside Fair brings in many locals from the area, a great addition for local spectators. Rest assured, whether it’s a pro tour, grassroots amateurs, or both, tractor pulling is great entertainment rooted in the community values of midwestern folk, and fans can always expect a great show, no matter which event they attend.

So, folks, if you find yourself headed to the fair this summer, or if you’re just looking for a fun, somewhat out of the box experience, make sure to check out some pulls. When the daylight vanishes, the mega-horsepower engines rev up to redline and the black smoke rockets from the exhaust, it’s truly a thrill-a-minute experience.

Here are a few already on the calendar! Check the websites of upcoming northern Illinois county fairs for more tractor and truck pull events:

Kendall County Fair
Yorkville
Thursday, August 2 to Sunday, August 5 (day and time TBA)

Illinois State Fair
Springfield
Monday, August 13
7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 14
7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 15
7:30 p.m.

Whiteside County Fair
Morrison
Friday, August 17
6:30 p.m.
Antique tractor parade at 5:30 p.m.

Will County Fair
Peotone
Thursday, August 23
6:30 p.m.

Sandwich Fair
Sandwich
(DeKalb County Fair)
Saturday, September 8 – 12:30 and 6:30 p.m.
A Grand National event