Wild to mild at West Coast Nationals tractor and truck power pulling series

This year’s West Coast Nationals (WCN) tractor and truck power pulling series held in conjunction with World Ag Expo will feature the wild to the mild.

For the first time in its five year history as part of World Ag Expo, at least six tractor models on display at the Expo will be pulling head-to-head in the “Manufacturer’s Cup.”

Six local dealers will bring McCormick, AGCO, Same Deutz-Fahr, Challenger, Case IH and Ford New Holland 180-190 horsepower model tractors to the Tulare County Fairgrounds Feb.10-11, for “friendly competition” to see which tractor can pull the sled the farthest.

Gates open at 4:30 p.m. The first pull begins at 6 p.m.

The Manufacture’s Cup will feature tractors weighing 16,000 pounds to 18,000 pounds, with factory front wheel assist. Each entry will be allowed to practice pull prior to the evening’s show. During the show, each factory tractor will record an official pull distance.

“Some of the dealers want their customers to drive them for at least one pull, either prior to the show or during the show,” says Donnie Fagundes, president of the sanctioning body, Pacific Tractor Pullers Association. “I think we’ll have a lot of people driving the factory rigs.”

The “winner” of the factory pull-off will be the tractor with the longest distance when adding the two show time pulls.

“We know farmers have their preferences in tractors, and we thought we’d have a little friendly competition,” Fagundes says.

However, Central San Joaquin Valley dealers participating in the first-ever showroom tractor pull in Tulare leave no doubt they are out to finish No. 1.

“We are looking forward to having a little fun,” says Jim Maciel, general manager of Quality Machinery with stores in Hanford and Tulare.

“For the competition, one of our mechanics has been selected to drive the AGCO tractor. There is no pressure, but I would not want to be in the shop Monday morning to hear his co-workers if he does not do well,” laughed Maciel.

“We are looking to win it,” says Kevin Vivian of Quinn Co., which will bring a Challenger to the competition.

“If one of my guys drives and doesn’t win, no need for him to come to work Monday,” he laughed.

“Seriously, it will be a great experience and a lot of fun,” he says.

Vivian has been involved in small side-by-side field demos pitting his equipment against the competitors, but never before a crowd of 3,000 — such is expected for this year’s premier Central Valley tractor and truck pull.

“The opportunity to showcase our equipment is great for the dealership,” said Steve Silva of Pioneer Equipment.

Those looking for a ride on the Garton Tractor New Holland entry will likely have to arm-wrestle the son of the dealership’s owner, Ben Garton.

“We have had a lot of support from the owners for participating in this. Ben says he wants to drive our entry,” says Tommy Akins of Garton.

Akins says the dealership, like all the other five competitors, plans to send out invitations to its customers and potential customers. “We want everyone to come and have a good time and root for the home team.”

“The timing is perfect,” according to Jamie Fraser of Oxbo Corp., which will carry the McCormick brand flag. “We are pretty excited about it. Bragging rights mean a lot in this business, and we do not plan to lose to anyone.”

For Jamie McCann’s dealership McCann Ag, it will be a rare opportunity to show off a new tractor model. It is a Same Deuitz-Fahr.

“It is really good exposure for us because not too many farmers have seen one of our tractors. It will be a great show. It should be fun ... and we plan on winning, so farmers will know who we are.”

Each tractor will get a practice pull before the show and then one run during the actual competition. Combined total distance on the two show runs wins the Manufacturers’ Cup.

That’s the mild.

The wild will be the monster pulling tractors powered by as many as four blown, fuel-burning engines putting out more than 5,000-horsepower to drag a 60,000-pound sled 300 feet without bogging down.

Then there are the naturally aspirated and blown mini-pullers, the ones that look like someone shoehorned a 1,800-horsepower motor into something that looks vaguely like it was a garden tractor in a past life.

The 4x4 Modified pickups will be on hand as will be Extreme Diesel pickups.

“People come to see the horsepower and we’ll have plenty of that this year. Our meet has become a premier event on the West Coast,” says Fagundes.

“We had 87 big horsepower pullers last year, and I suspect we’ll have about the same this year,” Fagundes says.

General admission to the West Coast Nationals is $12 per person and pit passes are $10. Many of the tractors are on display during the day at World Ag Expo show grounds.

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