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Western Farm Show adds tractor pull to celebrate 50 years

By Susan McCabe

Start your engines. A new addition to the 2011 Western Farm Show is expected to rev up attendees--literally. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Farm Show has added a Championship Tractor Pull at 7 p.m. on Feb. 25 and Feb. 26 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City.

The Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pulling Association of Carthage, Mo., will partner with the Western Farm Show to stage what it calls a "high horsepower intensity explosion." According to Doug Roberts, president of the Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pulling Association, the pull features 124 different drivers and vehicles competing for $55,000 in prize money.

"Power is a big part of truck and tractor pulling, but it takes the right combination of skill, power, traction and balance to keep those 2,500-plus horsepower machines under control. It will be quite a show," says Roberts.

Roberts says trucks and tractors from 12 states--Ohio to New Mexico, as well as Canada--will participate. It will feature past and present champions from seven different pulling associations. Both nights will have different shows with nine classes of pulling--four on Friday and five on Saturday. The conclusion of each night's pull will feature an exhibition pull by a big Cat-powered, Peterbuilt semi-truck.

Feb. 25 highlights include 12 Pro Stock 4 x 4 trucks that will start the pull with 15 of the wheel-standing, full-blown, modified two-wheel drive trucks. There will be 16 wild and crazy Light Super Stock tractors featuring diesel and alcohol-powered engines. This class features John Deere, International, Ford New Holland, Allis Chalmers, Oliver, Cockshutt and Duetz tractors. Next the fastest growing class in pulling, the big 640-cubic-inch diesel powered Limited Pro Stock tractors will have 15 of the best tractors in the country doing battle.

On Feb. 26, hold on to your ears as 12 exotic modified tractors do battle--the most powerful class in pulling. It features big modified four-wheel-drive trucks with 700-plus-cubic-inch power plants. The highly competitive Super Farm tractors will be decided by 15 of the premier tractors in the Midwest. The most powerful of the ag tractor classes, the Diesel Super Stocks will bring in 16 of the best, representing four different brands from six different states. The most popular of the tractors, the big diesel powered 680-cubic-inch, 10,000-pound Pro Stock tractors will feature four new tractors out of the 12 competing.

"Doug Roberts and his crew are seasoned veterans. We plan to make this an annual event," says Western Farm Show Manager Ken Dean.

Each night before the event, attendees are invited to attend "The Pit Party" at 5 p.m. on the track, where they can get an up-close look at the pulling trucks and tractors, meet drivers, obtain autographs and take pictures near the vehicles. Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pulling sanctions between 35 to 40 events a year in the Midwest from June through the middle of September.

The Western Farm Show is the region's largest indoor display of farm equipment, and is located in the American Royal Complex, next door to Kemper Arena. It is facilitated by the SouthWestern Association, which represents nearly 1,800 farm, construction, industrial and outdoor power equipment dealers, as well as 2,400 hardware retailers in eight states, including Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

The Western Farm Show runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 25 and 26, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 27. More than 500 exhibitors will be on site, as well as The Family Living Center and Health-and-Safety Roundup, geared for the entire family.

Admission to the pull is $22 on Feb. 25 and $27 on Feb. 26. Admission to "The Pit Party" is $5 for adults and free to children. The first 500 kids each night will receive a free checkered flag. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Western Farm Show admission is $8, and coupons for $3 off admission are available by visiting a participating SouthWestern Association dealer. Children under 12 get in free. For more information, visit the Western Farm Show website at www.westernfarmshow.com.

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