Equine horsepower pulled the first weighted sleds in competition. At the Dixon May Fair, today’s version of horsepower will be on display as suped-up engines use all their horsepower to pull mechanically weighted sleds.
The engines of today’s giant wheeled tractors and 4×4 trucks can barely be contained under the hood. They pulse and pound as they idle, and when it is time to hook up to the weighted sled, they roar with all their mighty horsepower. The sound drowns out the cheers from the crowds as the drivers coax the most they can out of their truck, while the weight of the sled they are pulling gets heavier and heavier, until finally the truck is kept at a standstill.
From draft horses behind plows to modified farm tractors, the competition of pulling the heaviest load is directly linked to agriculture. The first recorded tractor pulls occurred in the 1920s when they pulled a flat-bottomed sled and used stones for weight. When they discovered that the tractors could pull more if they were already in motion, rather than a standing start, people would line each side of the track and jump on as the sled came by.
In the 1970s, 4X4 truck pulling emerged as a new and exciting sport and spread to all walks of life. The average person on the street can get started without a large capital investment, however the more powerful and exotic vehicles cost in excess of $50,000. It will be obvious to the spectators that it doesn’t matter the cost, these competitors take pulling seriously and don’t think twice about punishing the equipment to end up with the victory.
So take your seats and watch the dirt fly! The Tractor & Truck Pulls, sponsored by KSEG The Eagle radio station, start at 7 p.m. May 11 in the Coors Grandstands. Tickets are available online at DixonMayFair.com or in the fair office, and when purchased in advance, they include fair admission. Available tickets purchased at the gate will not include fair admission.