This year at the Sunbelt Ag. Expo, antique and garden tractor enthusiasts got the chance to showcase the power, speed, and capabilities of their machines. It’s something that was new to the Expo this year, and is something that turned out to be a crowd favorite as these machines were put to the test by pulling a weighted sled behind them.
“Tractor pulling is a competition which we hook to a mobile sled that has a weighted box over the rolling tires on the rear axle. As the sled is pulled down to track, the weight box progressively moves forward, mashing harder on the skid plates at the front, creating the drag which the truck or tractor or in this case, garden tractor must overcome. On my sled, fully loaded, the box all the way up, roughly 7500 pounds drag. Pretty good handful for a small tractor,” says Joey Norman, Promoter of Slow Jo Car & Tractor Pulls.
“What’s the purpose of this event, you ask? According to Norman, it’s a chance for gearheads and tractor enthusiasts like himself to showcase the speed and power these machines have to offer, all in a family friendly environment that will hopefully land them some bragging rights in the end.
“Sort of like John Force. What does he need to travel 300 miles an hour? It’s the thrill of the thrill of the speed,” says Norman. “Gearheads like to make horsepower, and this is the way we transfer it. It’s just a family-oriented competition. Every now and then we get a little pay out or a little certificate at the end, but mostly trophies and bragging rights.”
Aside from the friendly competition however, Norman says all of this has a greater meaning behind it, as he says that tractor pulls and other, similar shows to this one pay tribute to the tractors that were developed in the twentieth century and honors the heritage of those that used them to grow food and fiber.
“I would like to say heritage, but a large portion of the people that participate never had family farms, their children certainly never saw these tractors. Now there’s a large portion of the antique folks that’s several years older than I am, but for the most part, it brings back the nostalgia of childhood memories for some of the older people. To be honest with you, it’s a marvel of our ancestors’ mechanical knowledge. They really built a good machine. It’s still something that we deeply appreciate,” says Norman.
As mentioned, this was the first year for the event, but Norman is already planning on bringing back the event next year and wants to make it bigger and better than before.
By: John Holcomb.