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Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Weighty action will keep things spinning in Fort Recovery

By Laura Walker
FORT RECOVERY - Get out the earplugs and lawn chairs. Ambassador Park is revving up for the invasion of Grand National truck and tractor pulling Friday and Saturday.
Ambassador Park will host NTPA Grand National and Regional National classes both nights, for plenty of pulling excitement. According to Fort Recovery Ambassador Club President Nick Dues, "Ambassador Park is where friends and family meet and memories are made."
The pull is unique among pulling shows. It has always run two national events back to back with open pits, allowing spectators to meet and get pictures with the pullers.
According to National Tractor Pulling Association representative Greg Dion, 2006 is a crucial year for the Fort. They will regroup because the Enderle Pull-off, previously a part of the weekend event, has moved to a stand-alone event.
Dion predicts you'll still see the best in competitors from across the country but with a more traditional pulling venue. A younger generation has become involved in the organizing and people such as Arnie Beumer, a 76-year-old, long-time committee member is showing them the ropes.
The community pulls together for this annual event in a group effort to ensure its success. NTPA competitors voted Fort Recovery as the NTPA Grand National Pull of the Year three of the past five years. In fact, Fort lost that title in 2005 by only one vote, Dion said.
The pull has evolved from friendly farm tractor competition to classes ranging from 1,000 to 14,000 horsepower barreling down the 300 foot track at wheel speeds over 100 miles per hour. Ambassador Park was the first to allow tractors to pull without a pace tractor, according to Beumer. This was considered preposterous at the time; pulling was to demonstrate torque produced power. Now prepare yourself for the unleashing of uninhibited power as multiple turbine engines, supercharged V-8 powerplants and smoke billowing diesel powered machines hit the track, Beumer said.
The Friday night classes starting at 7 p.m. are Modified Tractors, Light Super Stock Tractors, Two-Wheel Drive Trucks and Pro Stock Tractors. Saturday classes starting at 6:30 p.m. are Modified Tractors, Light Super Stock Tractors, Four Wheel Drive Trucks, Pro Stock Tractors and Super Semis.
Inside the park gates there are food and beverages by local organizations including the Band Boosters. Kodiak has been given sampling rights, Firestone will show its goods, Cheeseman Trucking will have a semi for display and the Chevy/NTPA Pulls'em In display also will be in action. The Pulls'em In display will have drawings for t-shirts, cooler chairs, die cast collectible race trucks and other items.
Tickets purchased at the gate are $18, children 11 years old and under are free. Ticket sales begin 4 p.m. Friday and 3:30 p.m. Saturday. That evening isn't over until the last hook is made.         Arriving before gates open will give more opportunity to visit with competitors, take photos and acquire autographs, Dion said.
Camping and designated drivers are encouraged, as adult beverages are served. Camping, on a first come-first served basis, costs $5 for non-electric sites and $15 for electric sites per night.
For more information visit www.fort pull.com or call 614-604-2307, 419-375-4861 or 419-375-4178. For more information on the NTPA visit www.ntpapull.com or call 614-436-1761 or e-mail helen@ntpapull.com. NTPA's monthly magazine, "The Puller" can be picked up at all Tractor Supply Company stores.

Watch for these Big Power Pullers:
FORT RECOVERY - At the Grand National Tractor Pulls Friday and Saturday, look for the following pullers in their respective classes:
• Light Super Stock - Tractors are powerful, agricultural-type machines that create tremendous horsepower and wheel speeds. The leader is "The Bomb" from Wisconsin, closely followed by "Blue Blazes" from Kentucky. The national crown for this class will be decided Saturday night.
• Modified - Tractor division utilizing various power plant arrangements. Tractors in this class generate eight and a half times the power of a NASCAR vehicle. In a close battle for the top of this class is "Funny Farmall" from Wadsworth and "Uncle Sam" from Oklahoma.
• Pro stock - Tractors are limited to one turbocharger and diesel fuel is the only allowable source for powering these machines. The 2005 champions are from Greenville, Mike and Jeff Palmer, driving "Red Avenger." They are currently one point below leader, "Rapped Up" by Andy Lawyer, of Hagerstown, Ind.
• Two-wheel drive - Truck bodies, T-bucket style and funny car bodies possessing single, supercharged racing engines. These vehicles are known for standing passes, better known as "wheelies." Leading the points race is "Hoosier Thunder" from Portland, Ind. Former Grand National Champion Craig Nation from Missouri will be in the mix.
• Four-wheel drive -Trucks utilizing monster fuel injected engines. Close competition is noted in this division, as many times all competitors are within just a few feet of each other when the dust settles. Points leader is "After Hours" from Big Rapids, Mich.
• Super Semis - The ultimate heavyweights of tractor pulling. These giants are fan favorites, weighing in at 20,000 pounds and pulling monster loads stacked on the sled. "Dodge Fever" has taken the lead and hopes to broaden it over "Pro Hibbitted" and "Pro-Hibbitted II," both of Hudsonville, Mich.
• Exhibition runs - L.D. Nation of Butler, Mo., operates a triple turbine powered Unlimited Modified Tractor generating above 13,000 horsepower. Look for "Indian Outlaw" as it hits the track.
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