Tires that light the fires3/25/2015
If you’ve got the need for speed or are simply a glutton for auditory punishment, make your way to the Iowa State Fairgrounds this Friday and Saturday. The Prairie Tractor Pullers Spring Shootout has all kinds of crazy Mini Rods running on two side-by-side tracks that are sure to please old and new fans alike.
“This is our 11th Annual Indoor Spring Shootout Tractor Pull and features competitors from as many as 12 states including pullers from Canada,” said Ken Long, president Prairie Tractor Pulling Association. “Every year I have been involved with this event it gets larger and larger.”
And the event has a class for any age. Between Friday and Saturday there are 10 different classes pulling, with pullers ranging from the 5 to 70 years young, said Long. Between Friday and Saturday there will be 10 different classes pulling, featuring every age. Two side-by-side tracks will be used for continuous action.
Tractor pulling is known as “the world’s heaviest motorsport.” The goal of tractor pulling is to determine the strongest machine and the best driver. Different to every other motorsport in the world, it is not about the speed, but distance pulled.
Modified farm tractors, modified tractors or lawnmowers (among others) drag a metal sled along a prescribed course. The sled contains a box filled with weight that is mechanically winched forward as the sled progresses along the course. Pulling this ever-increasing load eventually causes the vehicle to lose forward momentum and torque, although a rare few might indeed reach the end of the course, known as a “full pull.”
“We have stock garden tractors with our new youth class for beginners age 5–12, which has been a big success and is family-oriented,” Long said. “We have modified garden tractors — mini-rod, 8-foot-long tractors that can run motorcycle engines, snowmobile engines and four-cylinder car engines. It’s not about speed, it is how far each can pull weight transfer sled.”
Seeing is understanding, and while the rules may be befuddling, the action is not. Some of these tractors are dressed to the nines with custom paint and modified parts. There will be no mistaking the excitement as these little monsters dig into the dirt and bust a few wheelies to get that extra quarter-inch in the pull.
“Most spectators say ‘wow’ or have never seen anything like this indoors with so many very nice looking tractors,” said Long. “Over the years, I have had many people from other towns come to me and ask about booking one of our events at their town celebration or county fairs.”
“Anyone interested in power, noise and wants to see who can go the farthest will love this event,” said Long. “And most people enjoy the noisy mini-rods.” CV
11th Annual Prairie Tractor Pullers Spring Shootout
Iowa State Fairgrounds — Pioneer Pavilion
Times: Friday, 2 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.
Admission: Adults/Seniors $8; 12 and younger free
David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.