Fiery ride for one contestant at fair’s tractor pull

OREGON — A blown fuel line made for a fiery ride for one of the drivers in the Illini State Pullers tractor pull competition at the Ogle County Fair on Thursday.

Mark Kelsey, of Davis, had a pretty good run going in his International diesel super stock, " Just Add Dirt” until a fuel line burst.

The large red and white tractor was fanned with flames as the diesel fuel ignited and three-quarters through its run. Kelsey’s protective suit protected him from injury as he pulled the tractor to a stop and the fire was extinguished.

“We had a fuel line blow apart, that’s all,” he said after the incident. “I’ve never had that happen before.”

After being towed back to its trailer, Kelsey was busy trying to repair the machine in time to run again in the open division.

“I want to see if I can fix it and hopefully run again tonight,” he said.

Oregon puller, Steve Devine, who competed after Kelsey, said incidents like that can happen.

“That’s why we wear the protective gear,” he said.

The Illini State Pullers competition was the grandstand event Thursday night. Friday’s main event will be the Big Hat Rodeo and Saturday’s is the ever-popular demolition derby.

The fair also includes a carnival, 4-H livestock exhibits and shows, fair food, and other entertainment.

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Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 9 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.