If you\'ve never been to a tractor pull, you have been missing out an event known as the \'world\'s heaviest motorsport\' in which tractors compete to find the strongest weight-pulling machine and most skilled driver. Speed is of no issue although distance and weight pulled are of the utmost importance. Used in these events are modified tractors and metal sleds loaded down with weight.
The weight on a tractor pull sled is constantly increasing as a means to further challenge each tractor and driver as they make their way throughout the course. Back in the old days, weight was added to the sled when people stepped on it at different points in this course, but weight additions have become automatic at many modern pulls. Now weight is mechanically winched forward so that it affects the tractor in terms of loss of torque and forward momentum. Distance pulled is measured and the tractor that went the furthest is the winner. Occasionally a tractor makes it through the whole course garnering a \'full pull\' but most often win is decided by measurement. However, if several full pulls take place, a pull off is required to determine the victor.
Modifications made to pulling tractors include supping up the engine by adding torque and horsepower. This can include the addition of industrial engines up to and including jet turbines. Farm use tires are sometimes removed and replaced with tires having more grip. Competition classes for tractor pulls include Modified Mini Tractors, Modified Tractors, Pro Stock Tractors, Light Pro Stock Tractors, and Super Farm Tractors. Also offered at some tractor pulls are truck pulls for four wheel drive trucks, modified trucks, and diesels.
The concept of tractor pulling is thought to have originated to follow in the footsteps of horse and mule pulls. In much the same fashion, horses and mules were harnessed up and asked to pull heavy loads. The animal, or pair of animals, that pulled the largest load was deemed the winter. Horse and mule pulls still exist to this day in many parts of the United States. An annual mule pull is held annually in Vancleave, Mississippi, where mules compete to pull a slide loaded down with metal weights. At times a dog pull is held there as well.
You never know if you will like observing a tractor pull until you attend one, so give it a shot. You may find yourself amazed at all of the effort put into these performance machines, possibly even deciding you want one of your own. Whether your view is from the stands or the seat of a modified tractor, there is sure to fun had by all.