Pedal Tractor Pulling: The Path to Nationals
How does it work?
There are layers to the system.
THE LOCAL PULL:
First there are the local pulls that are sanctioned to qualify competition winners to state level. The expectation is that anyone that is sanctioned by their state should have higher quality equipment and a range of tractors for the ages 4-12, unless otherwise noted.
Your youngsters get their first taste of the actual rules, as sanctioned pulls should mimic the National rules, so the child knows what to expect at each level. For your youngster to continue to improve they should get to as many weekends of pulling as reasonable over the summer and all sanctioned if possible. The sanctions allow a rhythm to be built with the better equipment.
For the persons doing the pulling. You will contact the state Chairman and find out the procedure for joining and becoming a sanctioned puller in good standing. You will receive the required voucher from the state chairman. Local pullers should be expected to give the chairman their anticipated schedule so the state knows number of pulls and when to expect vouchers to be turned in. If there is a website for the state you should find a schedule and contact information for all sanctioned local pullers. Depending on State you will qualify as many as 3 girls and 3 boys in each age group like states to National. For instance in Missouri and Nebraska. Or variations, such as Iowa who qualifies either, 1st and 2nd overall or 2 girls and 2 boys depending on willingness to pay. Or the extreme might be like Illinois with a one day for it all pull, so no local sanctioning as of now.
Parents do encourage your local events to try and bring in sanctioned pullers so your children can qualify for state. Parents when given a chance to fill out a voucher for state, please do it. If you can’t go it is okay, but if that changes and you can you have given up your chance. Put vouchers in a folder along with a copy of the child’s birth certificate and keep them in a bag or car you always take to pulls. This has you ready for state and national.
A local pull may have pulling under 4 and over 12, but neither is sanctioned. No qualifying pull should ever use weight as divisions, it is inherently unfair in numerous ways and does not follow the National model. All pulls should have the 9 age groups 4-12 as their divisions. The child will always pull the age they are the day you sign up at each level. You must be at least 4 and not 13 before the National, you must be able to compete at National age wise to compete at state.
If your state is not currently a member of the National find someone that can run a pedal pull and talk them into acting as your state leader, and then contact the National board to apply for inclusion.
THE STATE PULL:
States have varying forms of groupings or associations. The bottom line in any state that is sanctioned is to make it possible for children to win a right to go to Nationals. Each sanctioned state qualifies 3 girls and 3 boys to Nationals in each of the 9 age groups. This means 54 possible entries at Nationals.
For a state to have larger numbers it needs pullers in each area of the state having a number of sanctioned pulls and sending in their vouchers. The National, State Pedal Pull record seems to be Nebraska with 924 children for their first State held in Grand Island.
State is a large undertaking for any group. You must secure a good location at a reasonable rate. Then the other pullers must be willing to participate in the total process. This includes providing schedules, contact information, and timely arrival of vouchers. Then they follow that up with providing help at the actual state to insure a quality event that does not kill the chairman and their family.
Formatting of the State in general is pretty standard, yet it can look different in as many ways as there are states. Some will have non-qualifiers tied to the State the night or morning before the State Pull.
On the day of the pull the sanction pullers gather and set up the pull area. Preparing the floor and seating. Preparing the registration areas, Speaker system, other donation areas, and if there is a gate to be gathered. Tractors and sleds checked over. A contestant’s bull pen to use during the event. You must plan for charting the pulls and announcements. Make sure the National Pedal Pull paperwork is set and copies made.
Awards are at the discretion of the state. Most offer trophies to the qualifiers and symbols of recognition for 4th 5th & maybe 6th. The true award is the National voucher that is filled out after a top three placing.
When the competition is complete the crew helps pickup and load the equipment. Usually a good idea to make contact with the location folks to make sure the next year is good, in some cases State Fairs want numbers.
For the Chairman and family often there is a bit of paperwork to finish and get sent to National. Then a chance to enjoy a job well done.
Parents need to bring vouchers earned and the copy of the proof of age for registration. Then sit on the edge of their seat until the child is through. Always encouraged to donate a gift sum for a t-shirt or other items.
THE NATIONAL PEDAL PULL:
As a parent you need to put the file with voucher and copy of the birth certificate in the car or luggage that you know is going. You will likely double check numerous times. Gather the child’s lucky shirt, shorts, and good tennis shoes. Reserve a room in the town of Nationals as soon as possible.
For regular local pullers a trip to State and National give you a perspective on how things are and how they work up the line. This allows for better instruction at your level. It should be every puller’s goal to make it to Nationals at least once.
For state chairmen you are trying to make it as often as possible to keep up with how the National is handling situations, to keep your state up to date, and to attend the post pull meeting where issues of the association are discussed in public session. It gives you a better idea for the questions that come up. State chairmen will have major input on Host to represent their state in the rotation.
Registration begins at 9AM for the 4-7 age groups and they pull at 10:30AM.
Registration begins at 11:30AM for the 8-12 age groups and they pull at 1PM
Ages 4-6-8-10-12 (one, boys or girls) on one end; Ages 5-7-9-11-12 (one, boys or girls) on the other.
Carpet is the surface, stretched from columns under basketball goals at each end of the court. The carpet is stretched tight and taped down. The carpet is 6 foot wide and the sled skid must not leave the carpet. Most tractors can be steered back on if needed. Pullers will alternate runs so as to not come head to head. At completion of the class the tractor used will be the back drop to picture of placers.
There are 5 places at National, and each puller receives a medallion in recognition of qualifying for the event. The Competitors are called to the floor as their group comes up with 4 and 5 year old girls leading the way. A competitor and a parent have seats in the large bull pen areas at each end on the main floor. Competitors are brought up in order they sign up. And they sign up the age they are this day, regardless of qualifying age.
The Board is the driving force behind all of the preparation. They meeting in public session on the day of the pull so ideas can be shared before most take off. The board also meets the next morning to take care of the business for closing this year and setting up the next year.
A schedule of Host rotation for the next 4 years:
2017 South Dakota Wisconsin
2018 Iowa Kansas
2019 Minnesota North Dakota
2020 Missouri Nebraska
2021 Open or Rotation continued
Board of Directors: Name (represented state) Home
President: Bill VanDeCreek (KS) Abileen KS
Vice President: John Vossler (NE) Plymouth NE
Secretary: Chad Stevicks (SD) Burke SD
Directors: Dave Harner (IA) Swea City IA
Ken Myers (MO) Malvern IA
Terry Sperr (ND) Glyndon MN
National Pedal Pullers Association Website Select the website for results, rules, and sanctioned states.