Antique tractors mixed with modern, ranging in size from full-sized beasts of the field all the way down to lawn tractors at the Hoisington tractor pull Saturday afternoon. From all over Kansas and surrounding states, participants had come to compete. John Deere verses Massey-Harris and Massey-Ferguson, Cub-Cadet versus International Harvester. Some stock, some custom, some using diesel and others nitro.
Kyle Stockman, Wichita, came with his 1950 Massey-Harris 44 tractor. Both he and grandfather Warren Pebley, Hutchinson, competed in separate trials.
“Kyle always out pulls me,” Pebley said.
Pebley has been attending tractor pulls with his John Deer tractors for over 20 years. But he had his eye on his neighbors tractor, sitting out in the weather in a field for several years. At a family gathering last fall, Stockman said he convinced Pebley to go and look at it with him. They contacted the owner, and Stockman offered him $500 for the tractor. The neighbor said sure, and the deal was done.
They brought it back to Pebley’s tractor shed at his 20-acre piece of ground north of Hutchinson, and that’s where the two men spent many hours over the winter working to restore it. Saturday was the Massey-Harris’ debut.
Hooked up to a trailer loaded with several water tanks, the object was to see how far the tractor could pull before it lost traction. As Pebley made his way down the track, the one of the larger water tanks slowly moved along a track from the back of the trailer to the front, increasing the weight on the “shoe” as it went. As the weight was redistributed, this had the effect of making the tractor work harder. Finally, the tires began to spin. He’d pulled it over 200 feet.
Next up, Stockman took his seat behind the wheel. He believes he may have found a section of the track where the tires were able to find more traction, and ended up several feet further before his tires spun.
Back at the trailer, Stockman and Pebley congratulated each other as they maneuvered it back onto the trailer for the trip back to Hutchison. Then, it was time to mingle and watch the other contestants.
“I saw a t-shirt recently that made me smile,” Stockman said. “It said, ‘get your children hooked on tractor pulling, and they won’t have money for drugs.’”
That’s what’s happened to Stockman. “I’m hooked,” he said.