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Mini-Tractor Pedal Pulls
Latest new rage in tractor pulling throughout the Midwest are "Pedal Power Pulls", using muscle and pedal powered mini-tractors rather than huge engine-equipped tractors.
FARM SHOW first told you about pedal pulls and the National Association of Pedal Power Pullers (NAPPP) in Vol. 4, No. 4, 1980. "Since then, we've expanded our contests throughout 5 states and, for the past three years, we've had a championship pull in Aurelia, Iowa, which last year brought in 150 children from 6 states," explains Keith Hickey, NAPPP spokesman.
"We have 16 tractors of all makes and even some 4 wheel drives, all reinforced for pulling. We also have two skids all the sponsoring organizations have to provide are the contestants, prizes, a 40 ft. track, and a garden tractor to pull the pedal tractors back after each run. NAPPP charges $200 for pulls on weekends, plus 45 cents a mile round trip.
"Winners in each class are determined by who pulls the most weight the farthest. The top 3 winners in each class are invited to our championship pull, held in Aurelia, Iowa. We don't charge the children to pull but we do charge each adult $1, which we donate to the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy telethon. Last year, we donated over $1,100," says Hickey.
In the Rinard, Ill., area, Kenneth Flexter provides the necessary equipment for staging pedal pulls. Flexter, not affiliated with the NAPPP, says contests have been going on in his area for the past 4 years. "But," he says, "the problem has been the lack of a good weight transfer system. Most other systems have people along the sideline adding bricks at certain distances, but kids keep watching bricks being added and forget to pedal."
Flexter built a weight transfer sled that gradually moves the weight (a given number of bricks) from the back of the sled towards the front, using a system of cables, pulleys and the sled axle. The cable wraps around the axle, pulling the weight forward.
"It makes a difference whether contestants are pulling on dirt or asphalt in determining the number of bricks to put on for weight. For four year olds, I'd put about four bricks on the transfer sled," says Flexter.
In staging "pedal pulls," Flexter uses a modified International tractor for adults and big teenagers, and a Deere mini-tractor for youngsters.
He charges 35 cents per contestant, plus 20 cents a mile round trip from his home.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Kenneth Flexter, R.R. 1, Rinard, Ill. 62878 (ph 618 673-2346).
FARM SHOW Followup, National Association of Pedal Power Pullers, Inc., Aurelia, Iowa 51005 (ph 712 434-2365).

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1983 - Volume #7, Issue #4