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Antique tractors pull in big crowd

August 06, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

It was all in the family for some fans and drivers at the annual Ag Expo antique tractor pull Tuesday night.

Kenneth Hart, 64, of Fairplay was one of nearly 1,000 spectators at the Ag Expo's annual event. Some fans sat in the bleachers or stood by the track while even more sat in lawn chairs and upon blankets on the grassy side of the stadium.

The Washington County Antique Tractor Club put on the antique tractor pull at the Ag Expo for a sixth year, said Doug Diehl, the club's vice president.

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Hart said he's seen a lot of tractor pulls since the 1960s. John Deere and International tractors have carried the best loads over the years, he said, but winning a pull has a lot to do with the drivers.

Khristi Waters, 30, of Keedysville, can attest to that. Her husband, who drove two tractors in the 4,000-pound class, won both first and second place in his heat.

It was the first time James Waters ever pulled into first place out of the more than 50 competitions he's been in.

"It feels pretty good," he said.

Waters had convinced his brother, Justin Knight, 19, to compete in the pull. Although Knight didn't place, his brother, using the same 1940 Farmall H that Knight drove, took first place.

Khristi Waters said her husband has made a big tractor fan out of their 4-year-old son Nick.

"What I enjoy is that it's good clean fun. You're outside. You're not inside watching TV and it's a good family activity," she said.

Nick, who was wearing a Farmall T-shirt, listed in nearly inaudible spurts the big names of the tractors featured in Tuesday's contest.

When his mother asked him who he was rooting for, the boy raised two ketchup smudged fingers and said, "Daddy and Justin."

Jeanie Fazenbaker's husband had to root for two people Tuesday night as well.

Jeanie Fazenbaker, 41, of Clear Spring, drove in her first tractor pull, using one of her family's five tractors, a gray 1944 2N Ford. Her son, John Fazenbaker, 18, used the family's red 1951 Farmall M to compete.

Although the mother and son were pulling in different weight classes, the younger Fazenbaker said riding in the same contest with his mom was "awesome."

Art Dorsey, 79, of Hagerstown, joked that he was put to work on a farm when he was 8 weeks old and said he has grown fond of tractor pulls.

Dorsey pointed to a red Farmall H tractor.

"I used to have one like that," he said.

Brad Gossard, 17, of Sharpsburg, rode atop a 1951 orange Case Vac tractor. He competed in last year's contest, grabbing third place a few times.

Gossard said there isn't a big difference between driving a car and driving a tractor.

"It's just the thrill of pulling something 60 years old," he said.

Gossard said he uses his 3,250-pound tractor to work through a few corn crops at his family's farm.

"We do a few things around the house with it," he said.

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