It’s come a long way from its humble beginnings. In 1970, the first tractor pull in Tennessee was held in Obion County in the front yard of a residence. Later it was moved to the then newly-built Obion County Fairgrounds.
The tradition will continue tonight at 7 when pullers from six states are expected to converge on the grandstands at the fairgrounds in Union City to compete for prize money and points in the Ken-Tenn Pullers Association, one of the South’s largest National Truck and Tractor Pull sanctioned events.
Classes this year will be 7,000-pound super stock tractors, 6,200-pound super modified two-wheel drive, 6,200-pound super modified four-wheel drive and a HOT Farm tractor class.
“Many pull fans have expressed that they’d like to see more super stock tractors, so we have added the 6,000 super stock class and a HOT Farm class,” organizer Robin Wood said, adding, “Come see the black smoke roll.”
Super stocks come the closest to tractors seen on the farm, but they have 10-20 times the factory rated horsepower. With up to four staged turbo chargers boosting manifold pressure about 200 pounds, these seemingly docile machines become turbocharged dynamite. Six-cylinder diesels that left the factory rated 120 horsepower are pushed to make 2,000 or more horsepower.
Powered by the strongest supercharged V-8s in pulling, two-wheel drive trucks seem to launch off the starting line, often holding a wheel stand for the entire run. The advent of funny car bodies on many of the vehicles has made this division very appealing to the fans. These vehicles are for competition only and they produce upward of 2,400 horsepower.
Four-wheel drive trucks are the only pulling vehicles that are allowed to use more than two wheels under power. Four-wheel drive trucks motors make around 2,200 horsepower by sending power through all four wheels, making this the most efficient pulling vehicle.
Modified tractors originated in the 1960s when pullers started mounting automobile and airplane engines in tractor frames. The iron competition in this division represents the wildest and most powerful show in pulling.
Alcohol is the most exotic fuel allowed in pulling and modifieds may have as many as seven blown alcohol V-8 engines.
The single airplane engines are being supplemented by multiple turbine engines that can produce over 12,000 horsepower.
Wood has been promoting tractor pulls and monster truck shows for 38 years in 32 states and Canada.
“The last 12 to 15 years we have devoted most of our time to our cellular, Internet, paging, two-way radio and tower erection business,” Wood said. “We still promote two or three pulls a year and help oversee the Obion County Fair Pull, as this is where it all started in the South 42 years ago.”
A junior and open beef show will be held in the Hunter Miller Livestock Barn beginning at 6 p.m. and music will also be on the Back Porch Stage at that time. Area youth will perform their first FairShow musical tonight at 7, but will wait until after the football game to perform their second show.
There will be free admission to the fair after 10 p.m. There will also be a special ride armband for $15 from 10 p.m. until midnight.
Prior to 10 tonight, general admission will be $6 for ages 13 and older and $4 for ages 6-12. Children ages 5 and younger will be admitted free. Season tickets are $25 per person and are the only ticket numbers being included in the 10 p.m. money drawing this year. Children will be admitted free on Saturday for Kids Day from 2-6 p.m. A special ride armband will also be available during that time for $15.
Activities on Saturday include a pet show at 9 a.m., a mule show at 10, a garden tractor pull at noon, a sheep show and a tae-kwon-do exhibit at 2 p.m., a kids bicycle give-away at 3, a wool and woolies revue at 5, a market lamb and commercial ewe show at 6 and a demolition derby at 7. The FairShow musical will be performed at 7 and 9.
Obion County Fair president Brenda Baker said everyone got wet Thursday night, but they had a good time. Stormy Montana performed in the rain and the Bucky Covington concert was delayed about 30 minutes, but he performed a full show, stopping only a few minutes when lightning could be seen in the sky.
She said the rain will help for the truck and tractor pull tonight, adding the track is usually so dry they have to wet it down.
Thursday night’s drawing went ahead as planned immediately following the concert. Darrin Ramey of Union City won $2,000, while Connie Crawford of Union City won the Pick Tennessee Basket, which is sponsored by Obion County Farm Bureau and Obion County farmers. Tonight’s money drawing will be for $1,000 for the first number selected. If that ticketholder is not present, the money will drop to $500, leaving $1,500 to be given away on Saturday. A total of $6,000 will be given away this week.
For more information, visit the fair’s website www.obioncountyfair.net.
Published in The Messenger 8.17.12