Muscle trucks with scream, pull

Aug. 02, 2013 @ 08:39 PM

Fans were pouring in, engines were getting loud and fundraising efforts of volunteer firefighters and rescue squad members were getting a boost Friday night.

The seventh annual Vance County 300 Tractor & Truck Pull brought young and old, newcomers and long-time fans ready for some noise at the Vance County Regional Fairgrounds.

Randy Cheek, a long-time fan and a newcomer again after many years away, was glad to be back to see the 300-foot pull in a number of divisions. This time he had a troop of grandchildren he said would be seeing and hearing it all for the very first time.

“I haven’t been to one in 25 years,” Cheek said. “My grandchildren are here, and they’ve never seen anything like this. Jordan turned 5 just two days ago, so we’re here for his birthday.”

Also new to the scream of muscle trucks and tractors pulling the heavy weights through mud was Cheek’s wife Debbie.

“I’m just excited,” she said. “I have never been to one.”

Attendees paying at the gate may have known they were supporting a good cause. Ticket sales along with available event shirts yielded proceeds for the county volunteer firefighters and rescue personnel.

A participant in the pull, Henry Bennett, was on the sidelines Friday night with his crew. He said coming from Virginia for three or four years meant he knew what to expect. He was mainly excited to be here for the competition.

“I own a 1976 Chevy pulling in the modified class,” Bennett said.

He added that competing includes a very important concentration on preparing for the pull.

“I mostly work with the air pressure system to make sure it’s hooked up good, and mostly it runs from there,” Bennett said. “I give it what its got. Most of the time it does all right. That’s the key, though, to get it so it doesn’t bounce up and down.”

Long-time admirer of the truck and tractor drivers is Talmadge Goodson, who said he has been coming to the Vance County 300 since before its annual location at the fairgrounds.

“We’ve been coming ever since it started here, and we used to go to the Youngsville track,” Goodson said. “We just enjoy watching them pull, it makes me want to jump up in and try it.”

Katherine Stevenson was with her son Christopher. They said their family and friends were there among the newcomers, finally after several years of hearing the commotion.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” she said. “Then a friend told us about it.”

Back again was Robert Newton, who was there mostly for the opportunity to man his booth with “Bikers for Christ,” but also to catch some photos of the action for Flat River Bikers for Christ Facebook page.

“I got my camera here tonight too,” Newton said. “I’m planning to post some pictures.”

The event resumes Saturday night at 7 p.m., gates opening at noon for some children’s events.

Contests center on pulling a weighted sled through 300 feet of mud as part of a sport circuit in which qualified contestants win points toward a season competition in the U.S. and Canada. The national championship is in two weeks.

 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.