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Tractor pullers claw the dirt for top prizes at Ag Expo

July 19, 2008|By THAISI H. VELASQUEZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Wearing her John Deere "Sweat Green" T-shirt, Erin Canfield looked ready to compete Saturday night in the Don Schwartz Memorial Stock Tractor Pull.

The 17-year-old Sharpsburg girl sat on her John Deere 4230 tractor and waited eagerly for her chance to pull in the 10,000-pound class.

"I'm excited to be part of the competitions," Canfield said.

The tractor pull competitions were part of the many events at this year's Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.

The event, which is presented by the Washington County Farm Bureau and the Washington County Tractor Pullers Association, is separated into eight classes ranging from youth to pro stock. Participants must use their tractors to pull a weight transfer device that gets heavier the farther it is pulled. Cash prizes were awarded to those who placed first through fifth in each class.

Canfield's friends, who sat on a truck bed near the finish line, cheered her on.

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"My friends are all very supportive," she said.

For Canfield, this was the third year that she competed in a tractor pull competition. Canfield placed fourth in her class her first year.

"My second year wasn't a very good year," she said.

Canfield hopes she can do better this time around, but is not sure her tractor is operating properly.

"My tractor's not pulling right," she said. "I think something in the fuel filter is not letting in enough fuel."

Tractor problems seemed to be a problem for another contestant as well.

Cody Palmer of Boonsboro said he had a problem with his International Harvester 886 tractor and he didn't think he would place well in the competition.

"The tractor didn't feel right," he said. "The clutch was slipping."

Palmer, 15, said he didn't mind because he knows winning isn't everything.

"For me, I don't care if I win," he said. "I'm here to have fun and hang out with my friends."

According to Galen Long, president of the Washington County Farm Bureau, the tractor pull is a great event that gives regular farmers a chance to come out and have fun.

"We have a good time," Long said. "It's competitive, but it's not all about the competition."

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