Boonsboro tractor puller to go to championship

December 07, 1997

Boonsboro tractor puller to go to championship


Staff Writer

BOONSBORO - For several years, Dave Moore has watched the Championship Tractor Pull from the crowd in Louisville, Ky.

In February, others will be watching him.

"Most pullers dream of getting invited to that thing," Moore said. "I didn't ever think I'd get invited this time."

The competition, at the National Farm Machinery Show, is the Super Bowl of tractor pulls, featuring the nation's best, Moore said. The top four finishers from each class during the first three days advance to the championship round on Feb. 14.

Moore said he is realistically shooting for a top four finish so he can compete in the championship round. Just getting invited, though, has been a dream come true, he said.


"It's a goal. Once you get there, I don't know where you go from here," he said.

In a tractor pull, the driver tries to haul a weight transfer machine down a track, usually about 300 feet long. The machine gradually clamps down until the tractor is stopped. The tractor that pulls the farthest wins the competition.

When he goes into battle, Moore will rely on the "Agitator," his trusty tractor. It's a good machine, Moore said. And he should know. He built it from scratch.

Moore said he spent about a year gathering parts from John Deere dealers and scrap yards. If he decided to sell, he said the tractor would probably fetch about $30,000. That's more than he spent to build it, but he said he is not sure the exact cost.

"We just did a little bit at a time. It's not like we jumped right in and built it as fast as we could," Moore said.

After three years, Moore said his tractor performed the best this year.

For the first season, he said the tractor paid its own way. Prize money from tractor pulls covered all costs, including parts, repairs and gas, he said. His family even ate meals on the road from the winnings, Moore said.

The "Agitator" is not the first time he has built a gem out of nothing. Moore, 39, said he has been tinkering around with tractors and farm machinery since he was in high school in the 1970s.

Moore said he and his father bought a wrecked tractor from a salvage company for about $150. Torched by a fire, the tractor was little more than a heap of junk that they paid for by the pound, he said.

But eight years later, Moore said he had whipped it into good enough shape to sell.

Since then, Moore said he has helped build tractors for his brother and brother-in-law. He said also runs a part-time business out of his Lappans Road farm repairing and rebuilding farm equipment.

But other than a job at Gladhill Tractor Mart in Frederick, Md., Moore said he has had no formal training.

"We started doing this back in the '70s. It was trial-and-error," he said. "Everything's just do-it-yourself. Try it and see if it works."

Moore stays busy throughout the week. A salesman for Paramount Feed & Supply Inc. in Hagerstown, he also raises beef cattle and cash crops on his 500-acre farm.

But tractor pulls consume most of his free time. This year, he said has competed in about 50 pulls, taking him throughout Maryland and to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina.

It's a family affair. His wife, Tina, attends nearly all of them along with daughter Tara and son Davey.

"It is a family deal. We don't take vacations. We go to tractor pulls," he said.

Tara, who will be 11 on Wednesday, takes pictures at the tractor pulls and cleans the equipment, Moore said. He said Davey, who turns 16 in February, hopes to compete one day.

"I tag along and take his videos to see if he did anything wrong," Tina Moore said. "We've met a lot of nice people. It's our family away from home on the road."

Dave Moore agreed.

"It's just like going to a family reunion, and while we're there, we pull tractors," he said.

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