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Tractor pulls of garden variety gain in popularity

July 24, 2007|By CATHERINE SUDUE

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Kyleigh Viar and Kaylynn Viar sat at the top of their glossy yellow tractors anticipating the next time they would be in the spotlight to ride their tractors while pulling a piece of steel weighing about 2,500 pounds.

The two 8-year-old Smithsburg natives entered their first tractor-pulling competition at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair this year and were excited by their results. On Sunday, Kaylynn won first place pulling steel that was attached to her "Kaylynn's Krazy Cadet" tractor about 122 feet.

She was happy and planned to spend some of her reward money on her cousin Kyleigh, who won second place on "Kyleigh's Killer Cub."

"It's really fun. ... We split (our money) into equal," said Kaylynn. "I'm going to use mine at the beach."

Doug Stanley, the grandfather of Kyleigh and Kaylynn, said the sport is great for the two girls.

"It's a family sport. Everyone is involved," said Stanley. "It's safe, it's fun and it teaches them teamwork."

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One of the founders of the tractor pull event, Doug Diehl was pleased by the turnout. He said the number of competitors has tripled over the last six years from about 60 to 180 entrants.

"The success has been real good. ... One day, a bunch of guys got together and we started pulling in West Virginia and its grown since," said Diehl.

According to Diehl, the tractor and the driver weigh a combined 1,050 pounds, and a driver pulls up to 5,000 pounds when the sled is fully weighted.

"The hotter the tractor gets horsepower wise, they pull more weights. The whole idea is to pull for distance," said Diehl

The competiton is separated into eight classes ranging from youth to pro stock.

As a first-year attendant of the Ag Expo, Justin Ledden of Boonsboro attended the tractor competition to observe the garden tractor pullers.

"My buddy and I are actually thinking about building one," said Ledden. "We've got a project started, so we figured we'd come out especially today and get a little bit more insight on the sport, and see what it's all about."

Ledden is hoping to bring his tractor out to Ag Expo next year so he can compete.

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