Truck and tractor pulls are alive and well in Plainfield
Truck and tractor pulls are alive and well in Plainfield, just ask Dan Wedemeier, who organizes several pulls in Plainfield every summer.Wedemeier began pulling when he was probably too young to actually pull. His father had done it so it was in his blood at an early age. After years of doing what he loved, Wedemeier decided to participate in pulling in a different way. He started operating the sled. “I decided to start making money,” he said laughing. The sled is what the trucks and tractors pull. It contains a box filled with weight that is mechanically winched forward as the sled progresses along the course. Pulling this ever-increasing load eventually causes the vehicle to lose forward momentum and torque.After running his sled for 13 years, Wedemeier and his son, Gavin, spent last winter building a new sled. “We built it from scratch. There is a strict set of guidelines you have to follow in order to be insured,” he said. Wedemeier will take his sled to different fairs. He goes into Minnesota and will be at the Big Four Fair.The new sled is a beauty. “If we purchased one new it would cost around 300 thousand.” When asked if you had to be pretty smart to build something like that he laughed. “Let’s put it this way. My dad said the next one will be easier.”Last Saturdays pull didn’t have the large crowd of spectators Wedemeier would have liked. “The weather is hurting us.” The pullers, on the other hand, turned out regardless of all the rain.Chad Olesen from Charles City started pulling when he was 18. Ten years later he is still going strong and his 1972 Chevy has won many pulls. “It gets in your blood. It’s addicting.” Olesen, like many others, works on his own engine. “I just watched my friends and picked it up from there.” Olesen pulls in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois “It can be a very expensive hobby if you have a lot of repairs,” he said.Paul Hanson from Mankato, Minnesota has been pulling for 35 years. He has pulled all over the county. He drove for 3 hours to get to Plainfield’s pull. “It’s personal satisfaction. Plus I get to meet a lot of different people.” Hanson pulled with his 1952 Oliver 88 Row Crop which is named, Shock Kaa Kon. This particular Oliver was made in Charles City. Will Hanson keep pulling? “Yes, I waited in Madison, S.D. for 10 hours to pull.” That shows dedication and love for a hobby.