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 firstname.lastname@example.org. NTPA's monthly magazine, "The Puller" can be picked up at all Tractor Supply Company stores.