Sunday, February 7, 2010

Farm Machinery Show: Where are all the farmers?

Well, the Farm Machinery Show is this coming week (Feb 11-14) and I don't have a single booking as yet.. Last year I had a full house; interesting people who own farms and come into town each year to enjoy the displays and new equipment at the fair grounds and have a good time. My guests all went to one of the local restaurants last night for dinner (will post on local restaurants later) and said the food was great. It's an Italian restaurant called Amici's and , since it changed hands a couple of years ago, they now have a terrific owner and chef, and they are top notch!

So what's going on? I'm always booked for the Farm Machinery Show. Are people waiting 'til the last minute? Or is this a sign of the bad economy? One of the biggest reasons for coming to the show is the Tractor Pull! What fun! Officially introduced to the world in 1969 during the fourth National Farm Machinery Show (NFMS), the Championship Tractor Pull is now celebrating 40 years of making champions. The competition had been a vision of its originator, Billy Joe Miles, and was so popular in its first year that 15 drivers signed up to compete in the inaugural pull before it was officially established.

Truck and tractor pulling, also known as power pulling, is a competition using tractors and large trucks to pull a heavy drag along a 'track'. It's very popular in rural areas. Usually the drag offers progressively greater resistance as it is pulled. It can be a great spectacle, although the vehicle produces a great deal of noise and smoke and tends to kick up dirt. Also, the tractors pulling don't actually travel very far (a typical "full pull" is 300 feet). There are many different classes, from "factory" tractors, to custom built vehicles with multiple engines.

When farming machines were pulled by horse, farmers would boast about the strength of their horses, claiming their's could tow the largest loads. They would challenge each other to contests to prove who had the strongest horse. A barn door was removed and laid flat the ground, the horse was then hitched to it and the farmer urged the horse to drag the barn door along the ground. One by one, people jumped on the door until the horse could no longer drag it; the horse pulling the most people the greatest distance was judged the strongest. This event, was called horse pulling,. Although still carried out today with specially bred horses, in around 1929 power pull contests began utilizing motorized vehicles. By the 1950s and '60s, the tractor pull had become a popular sport. For complete history see:

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