ELKTON — Fans and competitors have been without local tractor pulling for more than a year so the Saturday get together at the Cecil County Farm Museum and Regional Agricultural Center was a welcome time of fun, friendship and a little good-natured smack-talking.
At least 42 tractors were on the grounds of the museum off Appleton Road to see who who pull the weighted sled that farthest.
“There are some very old tractors here,” said John Ferraro of Rising Sun, who was not only a competitor but also emceed the competition.
Vic Reider brought his Fordson Major Diesel.
“They were built in England for Ford,” he said of his antique machine.
The goal is to be able to pull the sled the farthest. The weight is increased incrementally during the pull as the sled moves to the top of its rails. More weight is added in different classes and as the competition mounts.
Ferraro was expecting a great day of competition.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve been here,” he said.
Ferraro noted the pulls at the Cecil County Fair did not happen last year, as did much of last year’s events thanks to COVID. However he went to Pennsylvania to compete.
“And the nice thing is we met some up there and four or five of them are here today,” Ferraro said.
That included Amanda Eckman from Holtwood, Pa. who has been a competitive puller almost six years.
“I got welcomed,” she said of being a woman in what had been a male-dominated sport.
“But there’s hard feelings when a girl beats ‘em,” Eckman adding, grinning.
Eckman’s first pull was 209 feet, 4 inches. Martha Muller beat her by two feet, seven inches.
In the driver’s seat pulling the sled was Jerry Waterson. While he was volunteering his time and talent this day, Waterson said the pandemic cost him.
“I lost a lot of money last year,” he said.
Having already purchased insurance coverage, he ended up at a loss because there were no paid gigs to drive the sled.
“Money went out, no money came in,” Waterson said.
He’s hoping 2021 is different.