Truck and tractor pulling is some of Washington County’s noisiest fun.
First, there’s the sonic roar of machines straining to haul heavy sleds to the finish line.
Then, the crowd hits the gas, cheering as loudly as it can.
It’s a tradition at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center, where Lucas Oil East Coast Pullers and Washington County Tractor Pullers hosted a competition on Saturday.
Drivers from Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and as far as Connecticut and New York were entered.
Jim Rand of Rohrersville was there with “White Fawn,” his entry in the 9,500-pound super-stock tractor division.
He said the turbo system blew up recently, but it’s back in working order.
Usually, the tractor pulls at 8,000 pounds. This was to be the first time it was moving up to 9,500 pounds — “to see what it can do,” Rand said.
Darren Olden of Keedysville was the man at the wheel for Rand.
Olden said “the thrill of being in the seat” is what draws him to pulling.
“It’s kind of rough idling,” he said. “But when you get up to four, five thousand RPM (revolutions per minute), it gets really smooth.”
Then comes what Olden described as “13 seconds of adrenaline” — a ferocious surge down the track.
Ross Borger of Kunkletown, Pa., was waiting to compete in the 6,200-pound four-wheel-drive truck class.
His Ford has a 640-cubic-inch, big block engine. It hits about 8,500 or 9,000 RPM during a pull.
Borger has pulled for about 13 years. This is his second year with East Coast Pullers, and he enjoys traveling the circuit for competitions — Winchester, Va.; Frederick, Md.; Harrisonburg, Va.; Easton, Md.; La Plata, Md.
His family comes with him: his wife, Dawn, and their three daughters — Allison and Lydia, who are almost 5 years old, and Madison, who is 2. The girls wore pink headphones on Saturday to protect their ears from the engine noise.
Troy Nails of Hedgesville, W.Va., was killing time with Kevin Abshire of Inwood, W.Va.
Nails was primed to drive Abshire’s Chevrolet truck, nicknamed “Kill’n Time,” in the 6,200-pound four-wheel-drive class.
It’s a 1949 Chevy with a 650-cubic-inch engine that can produce about 1,250 horsepower.
The men met through work and have become good friends. Nails has driven for Abshire for about five years.
So far, so good. Nails was a points champion in 2009 and 2010, Abshire said.
Abshire, who runs a body shop and a towing service, had a second vehicle entered on Saturday — a Jeep known as “Gone AWOL.”
It’s probably the only one of its type on the circuit, Abshire said.
Nails, who works in excavation, said he’s fond of “messing around in the dirt,” so pulling was a natural for him.
“I just never grew up,” he said.