Kids will pedal their way through County Fair tractor pull competition
"Pump, pump, pump! Pedal, pedal, pedal!" echoes throughout the 4-H Annex Arena during a pedal tractor pull. Those sentiments from the lips of proud parents will echo through the air once again next Saturday morning during the annual kids' event a...
"Pump, pump, pump! Pedal, pedal, pedal!" echoes throughout the 4-H Annex Arena during a pedal tractor pull.
Those sentiments from the lips of proud parents will echo through the air once again next Saturday morning during the annual kids' event at the Kandiyohi County Fair.
Pedal tractor pulls are said to be the fastest growing competitive activity for children across the country, and one of them is on its way back to the Kandiyohi County Fair for the "umpteenth" time, according to organizer Dan Schneider.
And you can be sure some of the area's little "farmers-to-be" will not be far behind.
Kids' pedal tractor pulls are often found at state and county fairs, expositions, community celebrations and grand opening galas across the country.
In a traditional pull, children ages 4- to 12-years-old pedal a modified miniature tractor that pulls a weighted transfer sled down a track. The child who pulls his or her sled the farthest is the winner.
According to Schneider, who has been organizing the Kandiyohi County Fair kids' day activities "for too many years to count," the weights of sleds depend on the ages of the children and the way the specific skids work. But they commonly range from five pounds to upward of 50 and even 75 pounds, he said.
"For some of these kids, this is a pretty big deal," Schneider said. "They've been pulling for years and years and they've developed strategies. But even if they don't win a trophy, they're still going to get a Dr. Pepper."
In short, it's good family fun for everyone. And there's no glass ceiling in sight. In the consistently coed competition, he said, "you got boys, you got girls and plenty of times the girls out pull the boys."
Last year Sarah Macht of Raymond brought her then 4-year-old daughter Grace to perform a pedaling debut at their local pull during the Raymond Harvest Festival. She said they are planning to return this year for more of the agricultural action.
"She had always watched the other kids doing it in the past, and last year she was finally old enough to participate," Macht said. "She got a little scared at first, but we all had a good time eventually."
Isaac Strommer also took his first turn at the 4-year-old's pedal pulling during Raymond's festivities last year -- and triumphantly took home the second place prize in his age division.
Isaac's mother, Cassandra, said they enjoyed themselves and now that they know of the Kandiyohi County Fair pull, she has penciled it into their family's schedule.
Lisa Bredeson of Willmar has been working in the Kandiyohi County Fair office for the past six years, and said the kids' pedal tractor pull is a highlight of the weekend.
"It's always a big event, definitely," she said. "Everyone has a lot of fun with it."
The one thing that sets the Kandiyohi County Fair pedal tractor pull apart from other competitions is that it takes place indoors on concrete, Schneider said.
"A lot of times, these pulls take place on gravel, and others are on blacktop. We're unique in that if the rain starts coming down, we can continue on with our pull and the kids still get to have their fun," he said. "So that's fortunate for everyone."
In her younger days, Bredeson actually participated in the pulls herself, and she expressed fond memories for the fellowship of the event.
"I always had a blast even though I never won," she said. "I would still get a can of pop and plenty of congratulations -- and that was enough to feel special."
The Kandiyohi County Fair's pedal tractor pull is officially sanctioned by the Renville County West FFA and winners will advance to the statewide competition.
In addition to the Kandiyohi County Fair, other area competitions still on the calendar for this summer include Pennock Fun Days at 2 p.m. today, the Renville County Fair at 2 p.m. Aug. 15 in Bird Island, and the Raymond Harvest Festival at 10 a.m. Aug. 23.