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These youths have a lot of pull

MARTINSBURG, W.VA.

MARTINSBURG, W.VA.

August 07, 2005|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

As usual, Mike Miller of Shepherdstown, W.Va., celebrated a birthday during the week of the Berkeley County Youth Fair. This was birthday 37 for him.

Not in his mind, though.

"I never grew up," Miller said.

Which put him right at the enthusiasm level of the child competitors in Saturday's pedal tractor pull at the Berkeley County Youth Fairgrounds, east of Martinsburg.

Children pedaled a John Deere tractor and its loaded sled across a stage in the Indoor Arena. Orange pylon to orange pylon was 23 feet, said Miller, the event chairman.

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The starting weight total was 140 pounds for 4-year-old riders. It increased by age category to 162 pounds (ages 5 and 6), 295 pounds (ages 7 and 8) and 390 pounds (ages 9 and 10).

Riders showed different styles in moving that weight.

With her hands gripping the steering wheel and her elbows out, Taylor Silkworth, 6, pumped her legs on the pedals like pistons to win her division.

A more subtle determination covered 6-year-old Ashton Kave's face as he pedaled into second place.

Bradley Chrisman, 5, kept his eyes on the finish pylon as he willed the tractor ahead. He finished third.

"See that? Hard and fast," Bradley's father, Brent, told him as another puller pedaled.

Brent Chrisman, of Inwood, W.Va., said Bradley practices at home, tugging a heavy load of rocks up an incline.

Brent Chrisman said pulling was a pastime his father passed to him and he passed to Bradley.

The Chrismans and the Duncans of Uvilla in Jefferson County, W.Va., have become friendly rivals in the Eastern Panhandle pulling world, Brent Chrisman said.

Katelyn Duncan, 6, didn't place in Bradley's division on Saturday, but she finished second in the same event on Thursday, said her mother, Sherry.

Jimmy, 7, was second on Saturday and third on Thursday.

Jason, 11, and Michael Jr., 17, have moved up to more advanced pulling events, Sherry Duncan said.

Brent Chrisman said Bradley and Rebekah will move up, too.

Bradley has a 1953 John Deere 40 waiting for him when he's 10 or 11 and old enough to compete with it, his father said.

Bradley's sister, Rebekah, will have a 1946 John Deere H as her ride. It will be at least a few years, though, before she's ready. Rebekah turned 2 in December.

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