It was difficult to find a contestant in the 20th Annual Southern Antique Tractor Pull who was not in some way tied to farming.
Tractor pullers from 24 states and Canada were represented at the event. For the fourth year in a row, many of the pullers paid an additional fee to participate in a special class where all money was donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Carey Underhill and Junior Coe, both from Kentucky, won first and second place, respectively, in the St. Jude Class. "Cary and Junior walked up to receive their checks and both of them immediately signed their winnings over to St. Jude," says John Roberson, president, Mean Green Pulling Team, who hosted this year's event. "Over $141,000 was collected from the St. Jude Class, auctions, and raffles. "The largest donation to St. Jude may have come from Kevin McClung's, Parma, Mo. McClung paid $1,000 for a blanket decorated with tractors and a St. Jude logo."
Tractor brands including John Deere, Farmall, Allis Chalmers, Moline, Oliver, Massey Harris, Deutz, Cockshutt, and Ford pulled the 30,000-pound weighted sled. "When the tractor class weights increase, we add weight to the sled to make it more difficult to pull," Roberson says. "If we lengthened the sled's chain to slow down the pull, pullers will take weights off the front of their machines and move them to the rear. They know what we're doing and they are very competitive."
Pullers made 1,510 hooks over the weekend, a new record.