Lawn and garden tractor pulling is a sport where a specially built tractor is used to pull a sled, or a mechanical weight. The pulling is done on a clay or dirt track of a particular length, usually about 300 feet.
As the sled is pulled or dragged down the track by the tractor, the weights that are in a box which is placed at the back end of the sled get transferred forward automatically on the sled's frame.
This weight transfer, or the constant increase in the weight, results in friction being created between the skid pan, which is a part of the sled's front side, and the track, making it increasingly more difficult to pull the sled, eventually resulting in the vehicle stopping.
The winner of this sport is not decided on which lawn and garden tractor pulls the fastest, but who can pull the sled furthest. In the early years of this sport, a rule stated that the vehicles had to stick to a certain speed limit, but now that has been transformed with the modified vehicles of today attaining speeds of more than 125 mph.
Also, the sleds used these days are a far cry from the antiques of yesteryears, with gearing systems of such sophistication that they can move weights up to 65,000 pounds in order to stop the powerful tractors.
Features of Lawn and Garden Tractor Pulling
Lawn and garden pulling can be a safe and fun sport for kids and adults. If played fairly, this sport can help in building good sportsmanship and character both in adults as well as kids.
A Learning Experience
With this sport, children and adults can learn about the nitty-gritty of engines. Once they understand the basics, they can also learn about modifying the motor according to the specifications of the sport.
Especially for children, apart from it being a science lesson, they can also get familiar with mechanic skills. They will learn to use tools like ratchets and wrenches, and also other matters of the engine, such as why motor oil is used. All participants in this sport must be well-versed in factors like the velocity and momentum.
Challenging and Competitive
This sport can be very challenging, and the friendly competition amongst the participants provides an opportunity to improve one's skills. Novice garden tractor pullers will find it a learning experience talking to experienced pullers, who can provide a lot of useful tips.
Improvement Involves Keeping Records
Indeed, keeping records of the variables as well as the results of every event can help in improving one's skills. A systematic way of comparing results can be created by keeping records of the condition of the track, modifications made to the tractor, as well as the distance pulled.
This kind of information will enable the participants in keeping track of their progress. For example, a participant will know which particular tires worked well with which track conditions, and what has been their improvement during a particular pulling season.
Affordable and Fun
Yes, this sporting activity can be an affordable way for the whole family as well as friends to have great fun. Just a small trailer or a pickup truck will be needed to haul the tractor to the events.
These events provide an opportunity to family and friends to travel to other places, see interesting sights and the wonderful countryside. In fact traveling back and forth from events is half the fun. And if the event is held at a county fair, usually there are other fun activities as well, such as carnival rides.
- The sport has specific rules that must be followed by the participants. For example, the tractor has to meet certain specifications. These rules are emphasized in order to keep all the participants competitive as well as safe.
- Just as in other sports, such as football or baseball, it is necessary to wear safety gear when participating in lawn and garden tractor pulling contests. While in some events they insist on wearing helmets, in others it may not be. Although helmets may not be required, it is safer to use one.
- Plus, certain know-how such as a kill switch and a dead man's throttle will be necessary. These are required so that if needed the participant should be able turn the tractor off.
While this activity is certainly not the usual kind of leisure and sports activity most people like to follow or take part in, but it is growing rapidly as one of the major motor sports throughout the US, Canada, as well as ten other countries in Europe.