The past, present, and future of tractor pulling

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version


“Welcome to New Haven, the best tractor pulling town in the State,” Tim Scheer said to kick off Saturday night’s tractor pull.  Scheer, along with Glen Kohlbusch, announced for the tractor pull, providing quite the entertainment by just chattering back and forth to each other.  There is no doubt the tractor pull could never go on without hearing the voice of Kohlbusch.  We asked him how long he has been announcing the pull; his response was, “a long time”.  At one point, after someone having a great pull, Scheer said, “Hey, Hey, Hey!  Look at this”, and Kohlbusch reiterated, “Look at that!”  Fans love listening to the two, never knowing exactly what they are going to say.

The Past
A lot has changed during the last 40 years of tractor pulls in New Haven.  This was before the days of pro-stock tractors flying down the track, making all kinds of noise, puffing dark black smoke.  It started with regular, out of the field farm tractors.  QNHN spoke to Wally Scheer, who is a historian on tractor pulling.  Wally Scheer said, “New Haven was one of the first towns in the area to have tractor pulls.  Back then they were held about where Save-A-Lot is today.”  They used a piece of sheet metal as a sled.  There would be guys positioned down the track about 10 feet apart and they would jump onto the sheet metal.  This is how they would increase the weight as the tractor pulled further down the track.  Wally Scheer said, “The caveat of it was if you liked the guy you would step on the back part of the sled, but if you didn’t then you would step to the front of the sled.”

The Present
A lot has changed over the years.  Today tractors are bigger and faster with more power and force; which has proved to be a crowd pleaser.  Unlike most tractor pulls today, New Haven has not forgotten about the past or the tradition of farm tractors.  New Haven is one of the best places for farm tractor pulling.  Wally Scheer, said “Farm Classes generally do not get to hook up at most places or have a variety of classes for them to compete in.  It’s not always about the money but the chance for farmers to compete.  It’s more of a social thing.”  New Haven’s tractor pull provides those of the past to compete along with those of today.

The Xcalibur Association really put on a great show for fans Saturday night.  Locals such as Wally Scheer, Alex Toelke, Chad Rolffing, Barry Kormeier and Craig Schowe are a few that are part of the association.  Featured were four classes: Profield, 6400, Super Farm, and 6000 Extreme.  There were also two classes for trucks which included Prostock 4X4 and 3.0 Diesel.  Wally Scheer said, “It was a beautiful night and the track conditions were perfect.”

QNHN asked Wally Scheer if in all his years of pulling tractors, was there a moment he remembered the most.  “I do remember one time at the Washington Fair that I pulled all the way up the dirt pile at the end of the track.  I was trying to figure out how I was going to put my tractor in reverse, when the flag man said to just let it roll back.  Now those were pretty cool words to hear.”

The Future
What does the future have in store for tractor pulling?  Who knows, there may be a time when tractors look like something from outer space and tracks are a mile long.  Only time will tell.  However, we do know, that New Haven will always appreciate and respect its roots in tractor pulling; the farmers who started it so long ago.