Dungannon Super Pull grows with move to Lucknow
BY SCOTT STEPHENSON
This year the Dungannon Super Pull celebrated its 22nd anniversary with a triumphant debut at its new location at Lucknow’s Graceland - the home of the popular Music in the Fields. In addition to watching souped-up tractors pull a heavily-weighted sled, the event had a demolition derby, weekend camping, a food truck alley and many family-friendly activities.
The Super Pull has been held in various locations over the years, most recently in Dungannon. Each year has garnered such an increase in interest that the decision was made to move the event from Dungannon to Graceland’s much larger venue. Event co-chair and Lucknow and District Kinsmen Club member Rob Searson explained the move, saying, “We couldn’t have added the derby in Dungannon, and we have close to 300 campers this year, and the space in Dungannon can hold [a maximum of] 200.”
Hundreds of volunteers were necessary to make the charity weekend possible. The big move required a few modifications to the space. In the months leading up to the event, the converted cow pasture (used annually by the Music in the Fields music festival) was upgraded to include a new clay track for the Pull, numerous mobile collapsible bleachers were brought in, and temporary fencing was installed to help guide guests safely throughout the grounds. The effort proved to be worthwhile, as a record number of horsepower sport enthusiasts flooded the field for the proceedings. All proceeds from the weekend will be going towards community improvements.
Friday night saw the Super Pull’s first-ever demolition derby, with vehicles of all shapes and sizes being sacrificed to the gods of smashing things. The event was slightly delayed due to the sheer volume of fans surging the entrance gate, but the wait served only to whet the crowd’s appetite for destruction. Pre-derby, drivers and their crews made crucial adjustments to their doomed vessels - securing hoods, pre-denting doors, and adding last-minute paintings of stormtroopers.
Conrad Bos of Blyth and his sons Kyle and Cody carefully checked over their windshield class Tonka Truck and Mario Bros cars before irrevocably ruining them. Both motifs were emblazoned on the cars by mother Barb, proving that the family that destroys together has joys together. Twenty-three-year-old Cody is only in his ninth year of annihilating automobiles, but has the worldliness of a man who has smashed a thousand cars. “I like spending time working on the cars with Kyle and dad - the driving is just the icing on the cake.”
Driving what they claimed was once a Subaru Forester was the team from Central Huron Secondary School - their semi-demolished car was donated to the students and sponsored by their school. This is the school’s second year mounting the project - a hands-on scholastic opportunity merging auto shop and advanced physics, and an experiment certain to end in educational carnage.
The crowd filled the grandstands and spilled out onto every available space with a vantage point. Each round of jalopy jousting was met with gasps, cheers and flying gears, culminating in a battle of the farm combines - five behemoth metal beasts duking it out in the very spot where Grace Hopf’s prized livestock once grazed. The night closed with an open air dance with lively music provided by Highway 21.
Friday’s late night didn’t deter tractor fanatics from getting up at 9 a.m. to watch the lawnmower pull. Especially popular were the young people on little machines pulling hundreds of pounds - the youngest of whom was six years old.
That event proved to be the perfect Amuse Bouche to the afternoon’s main meal - the Super Pull, which saw some of North America’s finest vintage and modified tractors punching way above their weight class as they dragged the signature lime green pulling sled provided by Wingham’s Stoneboat Pullers.
From Jack Driscoll’s epic run on his steel steed to Chris Courture’s rampage in the Super Farm division, there was no shortage of evidence that the cosmic struggle between an unstoppable force and an immovable object was alive and well in Lucknow on Saturday.