SMITHSBURG, Md. — Norm Potter likes garden tractor pulling and eating at Dixie Diner in Smithsburg.
The diner staff like to go all out raising money for their Step-n-Stride Against Breast Cancer team.
The two parties saw an unlikely compatibility there.
“The Dixie ladies just said, ‘It would be perfect if we mix what we’re doing with what you are doing,’” Potter said.
So three times now, the ladies have hit The Reserves, a pulling track surrounded by cornfields off Smithsburg Pike. They peddle raffle tickets on breast-cancer-awareness-pink items in pink buckets, pink cakes and pink quilts while Potter and friends pull tractors at Pulling for a Cure.
About 300 people from five states went to the most recent event Saturday. Potter, a strapping man, sported a pink button pin reading “Basic enough for a man.”
Potter borrowed a vintage Ford 8n farm tractor painted pink by his friend, Ashton Fry, for his daughter, who happens to like the color.
“I got it and put it on display for a nice twist,” Potter said.
Lisa Frazer, 47, of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., is the manager at Dixie Diner. Frazer said she became interested in supporting breast cancer awareness when a friend was diagnosed with the disease 10 years ago. Six years ago, her friend died of the disease, leaving behind three young girls.
“I just wanted to do whatever I could,” Frazer said.
Pulling for a Cure has raised about $1,000 for the Dixie team, which is called Walking in Faith, she said.
Team member Tammy Shilling of Waynesboro, Pa., dyes the front of her hair pink during October to observe the official breast cancer awareness month. Shilling said breast cancer affects almost everyone, noting that a friend of hers recently had a double mastectomy.
Potter said his aunt died of the disease two years ago. He wants more people to learn about it and to support families touched by it, he said.
“I’ll throw 15 or 20 dollars in the donation box at Dixie. But I feel like doing it this way can help out a lot more families,” Potter said. “When you help through something like this, other people just want to get into their wallets and help, too. It makes me feel good inside.”
Young children and adults alike drove quarter-scale garden tractors down a 235-foot track pulling with an 18-foot transfer sled behind them.
Six-year-old Hunter Gayman of Chambersburg, Pa., competed on a black and neon-green tractor while wearing a matching helmet. Hunter said officials said his tractor touched the chalk line on an early ride. But on his next try, he fared better.
Christen Cameron, 32, of Glengary, W.Va., attended with her husband and three children. With three cancer survivors in her family, Cameron said the pull was a great way to spend time with her family while making a difference. Her son, Carter, 6, pulled a tractor named The Green Hornet.
“I had a different set of tires on there, but they just sat there and spun,” he said.
He got some help changing them and hoped for a better pull next time.