Women and Tractor Pulls|
by Teri Burkholder
Being a woman in a man's sport or hobby is very nerve racking and also lots
of fun at the same time.
When I first started restoring tractors I never thought about the fun side of
tractors, showing them off! We always just had the work side of them up
Ben says to me "Come on, you can pull. I need someone to beat anyway!" Well,
every hair went up on my neck as you can guess. The competitive side of me
said "I hate losing" and the challenge was on.
My first dilemma was which tractor do we own that I could beat him with?
Well, of course it was my little Ford 8n that I just finished restoring.
She was ready to put a "hurtin" on Ben for saying he could beat me.
He also picked an 8n Ford which hadn't been restored yet and looked like it had just been in an accident. But he was confident that one would do
the job to beat me.
We packed up the gooseneck trailer and off to the fair we went...
There were lots of tractors of all makes and models and lots of guys
registering their tractors for the pull. We stepped up to register and the
guy says "You're pulling?" And I answered "Yes I am, I can can't I?" Well his
reply was to mumble something about women staying in the kitchen. This made
the day even more of a challenge. Now I had a purpose for all women
pullers of the world!!
We lined up by weight class and we were in the 3000# class. They had put
Ben in the number 1 position and me in the number 2 position which was
great! Now I would know what I had to beat.
I was a nervous wreck waiting in line. It felt like every eye in the stands
was on me for being a girl out there competing. We got closer and closer
to our class and I kept running over in my mind the sequence of events I
needed to do to get hooked to the weight advance sled to begin pulling. The
anticipation was unbelievable! Ben was next. I watched him pull out on
the track and the announcer introduced him. He backed up and they hooked
the big hook to his Ford 8n, then he looked at me and grinned and away
Hhe was pulling really great and I thought he would never slow down. Finally he
went to a crawl and then to a stand still and the flags came out and he was
done! The guys that did the measuring came out and they announced that Ben
had pulled 143' 1".
Well it was finally my turn! I pulled out onto the track. First I whispered
to my tractor, how great she was, hoping that might help me! Everyone was
staring at me with anticipation on how I would do or if I would do
something wrong. I got in position and they dropped the big hook into the
clevis on the back of the tractor. I slowly moved forward to tighten the
chain and I was ready to go!! I looked up and the green flag went out, I
could hear the announcer saying how great it was to see a woman out
competing and it gave me the extra boost I needed. I put the tractor in 1st
gear and pulled the throttle all the way back. She was running smooth! I
dumped the clutch and the front end came up just a little "for show" and off
we went. We were making great tracks and she was pulling strong! I could
see in my mind the spot Ben had stopped at and I would settle for nothing
less then passing that mark. I was on the edge of my seat and rode it till
she almost completely stopped dead in her tracks and the engine almost
stalled. I saw the red flags come out and I punched the clutch! She had
given me every inch she possibly could go. I knew I was close to Benís mark
but it was too close to tell.
Everyone was clapping and hollering for me! The measurers came out and I
unhooked from the sled and drove to the edge of the track to wait to hear my
distance. Ben was looking at me when they announced my distance, 143'3"!
I had taken it by 2 inches! It was great. I wanted to stand up on my
tractor and wave and scream! But I was very humble and slowly dove off the
As I drove to park my winning tractor the best thing happened, the guy that
said I should stay in the kitchen came up to me an asked "You're not pullin
in the next class are you? You're going to be tuff to beat!" Well I can only
tell you it felt great to tell him that "if he couldn't stand the heat, to get
out of the kitchen". He snickered!
What an exciting first pull. Trophy and all!! The only thing I regret though
is that I didn't bet Ben to take me out to dinner if I won. His reply was
that he wasn't really hungry because he had a lot of crow to eat!
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