Truck and tractor pull offers high-octane fun

August 18, 2010|By C.J. Lovelace, Staff Correspondent
  • 4-H member Hannah Carey, 18, of Mercersburg, Pa., who's dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, walks with her Brown Swiss, Tipster 2, who was dressed as the Big Bad Wolf in grandmother's clothing, during the Franklin County Fair's 4-H Dress-Up Parade Wednesday night. The fair continues through Saturday night.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Seating along the hill surrounding the arena at the Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club was at a premium Wednesday night, but horsepower was not.

Hundreds turned out to see the truck and tractor pull at the Franklin County Fair, and all the engine-revving, mud-slinging and alcohol-burning vehicles that went with it.

Several classes were on display, including souped-up turbo tractors, stock-type farm tractors and 4x4 small block trucks.

One entry in the 4x4 truck division was a true family operation with three generations on hand.

Bill Mills Sr. of Williamsport, Md., said he started running his black 1988 F-150 truck, named "Bounty Hunter," more than a decade ago and it's trickled down to his son, Bill Jr., who serves as the current driver, and his grandson, Bill III.

"I've been doing this class for about 14 years now," said Bill Sr., adding that they travel to shows all around the area. "I just like doing it."


Seated on the hill overlooking the track, Brenda Betz of Harrisonville, Pa., got a first-hand look at what the Mills' men had to offer. But she was surely rooting for her husband, Larry, who was competing in the same division.

"He's been in this for about 10 years or so," she said of her husband, even though he had to use driver Brad Martz Wednesday because he didn't have his own firesuit. "I enjoy it."

Originally from Waynesboro, the couple has two sons, Shane, 9, and Larry II, 14. Shane was seated next to his mother on the hill while Larry II was in the pits helping his dad with the truck, she said.

Standing along the grandstand as fairgoers continued to pile in, Ken Goshorn of Greencastle, Pa., stood next to his grandson, Tyler, 5, getting ready for the 4x4 trucks to take to the track.

Goshorn said he came to the pull to show his grandson what it was all about, but hinted that he was looking forward to the high-powered tractors that would cap off the night.

"We like the ones that have the wick turned up a bit," he said, referring to the light limited turbo tractors.

Jeff and JoEllen Reese of Shippensburg, Pa., had possibly the best seat in the house, right along the fence near the "finish line" of the track.

Jeff said they've been coming to see pulls in the area for close to 30 years and have several friends from Shippensburg who compete.

"We really like the mini-rods and the smokers," they said, even though a mini-rods class was not on display Wednesday night.

Well-known to the tractor pull world, Jeff said a "smoker" is a slang term for the light limited turbo tractors because of the thick plume of smoke that erupts from its single stack when opening up the throttle.

Troy Young of Mercersburg, Pa., who was accompanied by his three sons, Micah, 11, Nathaniel, 8, and Seth, 7, stood along the top of the hill as the 4x4s ripped down the dirt runway pulling a sled deemed "Enforcer."

Young said they were at the fair to show cows, but decided to check out the pull, adding that he was there more to see the trucks than the tractors.

Micah was the complete opposite: "I like the trucks more because they are faster," he said.

When asked if the trucks were too loud, Nathaniel and Seth responded with a simultaneous "yes" and "no," however both were covering their ears as one of the trucks flew down the track.

Passing by the arena, Roger Beckner said this was the first pull he's come to in the last six or seven years, but decided to visit while he, his wife, daughter and son-in-law made a stop at the county fair.

"We travel a lot and we're from Chambersburg, so we were back for a couple of weeks and decided to come to the fair," he said.

Back in the pits after their run, Bill Mills Sr. was looking over "Bounty Hunter" as they loaded the truck onto their trailer. They had not turned in the best performance of the night, however it surely wasn't the worst.

Several trucks had to be towed off the track after their pulls because of apparent engine failures, but the Mills' truck was able to leave under its own power.

Almost at the end of the pulling season, Bill Sr. said he was fine with not taking the top spot Wednesday. He was just glad that they didn't break their truck.

"It's all fun," he said. "It doesn't upset me."

For those who missed Wednesday night's action, another pull will be featured Friday and the fair will wrap up Sunday.

The annual fair talent show was held Wednesday night. The results:


16 and younger

1. Hannah Richardson

2. Shelby Arnold

3. Marleena Bock

17 and older

1. Sarah Signore

2. Janie Keller

2. Christina Crilley


16 and younger

1. Corrine Statler

2. Claire Martin

3. Hannah Richardson

If you go

What: Franklin County Fair

Where: Chambersburg Rod & Gun Club grounds, Pa. 995, west of Chambersburg, Pa.

Cost: $5 for ages 13 and older; $3 for ages 5 to 12; free for those 4 and younger

More information:


6 to 9 p.m. -- Old-fashioned county fair day

6:30 p.m. -- Holstein dairy show

6:30 p.m. -- ATV dirt drags

Carnival rides run 6:30 to 10 p.m.

The Herald-Mail Articles