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Riders pull their weight at garden tractor event

August 26, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

Three generations of the Gerhart family traveled from Chambersburg, Pa., Friday night to cheer the youngest member on in the garden tractor pull competition at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.

There was plenty to cheer about.

Will Gerhart, 8, powered his 12-horsepower tractor, named Wild Willy, on to victory in the 900-pound class with a pull of 152 feet 8 inches.

"He's been doing this part time for a while until he reached the minimum age of 8," said his father, Bill Gerhart. "Will's gonna rock 'em."

In his second weight class, Will pulled 152 feet 5 inches on Wild Willy 2, a 16-horsepower tractor. The third outing was a little disappointing, with a pull of 132 feet 3 inches.

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But Will was undeterred. After all, he had his father and his grandfather, also Bill Gerhart, there to help him enjoy the event.

Also competing Friday night was veteran Sarah Orendi, 9, of Martinsburg, W.Va., who was back to compete after a successful run last year.

According to her grandmother, Susan Householder, Sarah currently is second in overall points in her garden tractor pulling category.

Friday night, Sarah's top pull in the 900-pound class was 145 feet. Last year, she won with a pull of more than 180 feet.

"This has gotten really big here," event chairman Doug Diehl said. "Ohio and other states had it, and now we've been doing it for six or seven years."

Diehl described garden tractor pulling as a good family sport. The competition is open to anyone at least 8 years old. This year, one of the competitors was 78 years old, Diehl said.

"It's fun, and this year, there are more chances to win," Diehl said.

Throughout the rest of the weekend event, there will be antique tractors on display at the center. Demonstrations also are planned each day.

The event, which is sponsored by the Washington County Antique Tractor Club, raises money for a scholarship the club awards to someone who lives in Washington County or nearby and is pursuing an agriculture-related college course.




If you go



What: Washington County Antique Tractor Club Show

When: Today and Sunday

Where: Washington County Agricultural Education Center, Md. 65, seven miles south of Hagerstown.

Call 301-491-5054 or go to www.wcatc.org.

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