A group of Stettler-region tractor enthusiasts keeping history alive held their annual summer event on July 15.
The Stettler Antique Tractor Club hosted its 10th annual tractor pull at the Stettler Ag. Society grounds.
“It went really well,” said club member Keith McPherson.
According to McPherson, 45 participants showed up with people coming from “two-to-three hours away.”
“They put in a good portion of their day to help put on the day or participate in the event,” said McPherson.
The all-day event had competitors pulling their antique tractors in seven different weight classes; the smallest weight class was bantam, under 4,000 pounds, and the heaviest was Class 6, up to 12,000 pounds. Classes in between varied by weight; prizes were awarded for the top-three pulls in each class.
Since the owners of the tractors are responsible for getting the equipment to the pull, there were fewer of the heavier machines on site on July 15; only two tractors in Class 6, one from Holden and one from Donalda, were entered in the pull.
In the antique tractor pull, each tractor is hitched to a weighted sled; as the tractor pulls the sled, the weight shifts forward making it harder to pull. Once the tractor wheels spin and the forward moment is lost, the flag is waved and the distance pulled is measured.
The event continues to be popular year after year; according to McPherson, the stands were “pretty full” of spectators most of the day.
“We never really know how it’s going to go year to year,” said McPherson.
“This year was a really good turnout.”
McPherson says that anyone with a pre-1960 tractor is invited to participate in the event which usually sees a wide variety of antique equipment ranging from John Deere to Alice-Chalmers and more hit the the track.
“Anyone who brings their old tractor is usually pretty proud of it and likes to show it off,” said McPherson.
McPherson noted that some of the people who bring tractors to the event are either the original owners of the machine or have restored them themselves.
The Stettler Antique Tractor Club has been operating in the region for around the last decade, started by Botha’s Alf Erichsen.
Unfortunately, time is starting to take its toll on the club with the membership “starting to age pretty well” and reducing the club in numbers to just 12 members, many of whom are not able to help out in the same way they once did.
“It’s a struggle to find volunteers to put on events like that,” said McPherson.
Still, McPherson is optimistic as the tractor pull did feature some younger, under 18, drivers, though he did note that the majority of participants are fifty and older.
As an added enticement for youth, the 2023 tractor pull saw the return of a former fan-favourite event, the toy show.
According to organizer Jody Godberson, the toy show was brought back after being dormant since 2013.
The show, specializing in agricultural-related toys, was hosted in the Stettler Agriplex and could be accessed adjacent to the tractor pull which, according to Godberson, allowed for “good crowds.”
With the success of the 2023 edition of the show, Godberson says plans are already underway to bring the show back in 2024.
The tractor pull and the toy show ran from around 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; for those needing a bite while they were at the grounds, a full concession was also offered.