Close up of sled showing weight box halfway up the rails.
On October 8, 1983 at the fall 'Enshine'O-Rama' and 'Whistle Blow' sponsored by the Rough & Tumble Engineers, a children's pedal tractor pull was held in Kinzers, Pa.
The pull was managed by Dave Nolt, a third generation R & T member from nearby Paradise, Pa. Dave is well known as one of the East's most active farm toy collectors and has authored several books on farm toy collecting and sponsors an annual farm toy show each fall.
What is pedal tractor pulling? A brief description of this new activity is in order. Have you ever been to a real tractor pull? Well, if you have (and who hasn't), then you should easily understand how pedal tractor pulling works. A standard or modified pedal tractor is hooked to a specially built sled complete with a forward moving weight box just like the big ones. Weights are added for higher classes.
Children pull according to their age. Usually there are classes for children from ages 3 & 4 up to age 9. Boys and girls pull in the same class no sex discrimination here! A full pull is either 40 or 50 feet.
There are only a few basic rules, such as: No standing up, first puller in a class can re pull, when tractor stops the pull ends, etc.
Children, parents and other spectators have a ball! That's one of the things that makes pedal pulling fun. Further more it involves those often forgotten children. After all, kids don't always get enthused about the Fricks and Oil Pulls that we grew up with.
At the R & T pull there were only about 12 or 15 entries due to last minute planning and minimal publicity. The younger children pulled with no weights at all in the moving weight box. For the older children I added about 50 or 60 pounds of weight. This is a low amount but the track surface was rougher than usual.
The overall winner was a young lass by the name of Melissa Hamilton and second place went to a lad named Tim. Melissa and Tim each had a full pull so we had to add more weight and have a pull off. An anonymous spectator offered a crisp five dollar bill for 1st place and just as quickly someone offered some money for 2nd place. The spectators applauded the pullers on, as they pedaled their very hardest.
The tractor used was a 3020 John Deere with reduced gearing and locked rear wheels as the major modifications. A Ford Commander 6000 waited on the sideline as a backup tractor should the Deere break down.
Are you involved with planning the activities of your steam or gas show for this summer? If so, why not consider a children's pedal tractor pull? It will make this year special for many children and adults as well. If you need a referral as to who has the equipment and experience to manage such an event, send a self-addressed envelope to: Pedal Pullers, P.O. Box 422, New Holland, PA 17557. I can give leads to pedal pullers in the mid-west as well as the east.