In the late 70’s, the rumble of the Garden Tractors headed down the Schomberg track to compete for the title of the strongest lawn tractor in Schomberg. In January of every year, the old garden tractors of years gone by were pulled out of back sheds and assessed to see if they were worthy of running in the spring pull at the fair. The men would sit in the garage with their sons looking on as they went over the specs to see if they could design a garden tractor that would bring home the bragging rights. Hoping that their garden tractor would be the one that could pull the sled that Ed Gardhouse built, the furthest distance down the track.
It has been a few years since the Garden Tractors have made their spring debut in Schomberg. However, in 2011, Kevin Holmes brought the Stock & Modified Garden Tractor pull back to the track of the Schomberg Agricultural Fair grounds
For those of you who are not familiar with the Tractor pulling competition. It is when a special-built weighted pulling machine, which is more commonly known as a “sled” is pulled by a modified lawn tractor on a dirt track of a specific distance. As the Garden Tractor pulls the sled down the track, ballast (weights) that are in a box which is positioned at the rear of the sled are automatically transferred (mechanically winched) forward on the frame of the sled. This transfer of weight, or ever-increasing weight, creates friction between the skid pan (that’s part of the front of the sled) and the ground. That in turn, makes the sled harder to pull, eventually stopping the vehicle. The winner is determined not by how fast the pulling vehicle goes down the track, but by which tractor drags the sled the farthest. In other words, it’s not a race, it’s a pulling event
When speaking to the members of the Acton Agricultural Society, Kevin found out they had designed a sled and their fair would come to fair and help us run a success Stock and Modified Tractor pull. The more he listened, the more he thought this was a great way for his family to get back into Tractor pulling and to show his son Cale and daughter Leanne what it was like to roar down the track.
That fall Kevin worked with Ed Gardhouse and his son Cale as they rebuilt a lawn tractor to specs for the upcoming season. All of their friends follow them on Facebook as they built the tractor trying to get it ready for its debut at the Schomberg Agricultural Spring Fair. With one week to go, Kevin was getting worried Cale’s tractor was not running properly. However, working together as a team they got it going and it made it down to the Schomberg Track at 2011 Fair.
If you are interested in participating this year, and participated in the stock class, you are required to make a few safety modifications to your lawn tractor. Please visit www.schombergfair.com where you can find the requirements that are needed to get your tractor ready for this year’s pull. If you have any questions, call Kevin Holmes at (905)960-1744 with any questions.
Garden tractor pulling helps build good character and sportsmanship in kids, as well as in adults. Sports have always been considered a healthy outlet for kids. Pulling shows young people how to win or lose and how to learn from each experience and what to improve on for the next pull. But most importantly they learn how to play by the rules safely and to work as a team.
“The Holmes Team” of Kevin, Uncle Ed and Cale sit down after each pull and discuss how the pull went, what can be done different for next pull and what could be done to modify the tractor. The process was simple, Cale would tell his dad and Uncle Ed what he thought the tractor was doing right or wrong and then Kevin and Uncle Ed would stay up to all hours of the night discussing how to fix the tractor and get it done for the next pull so they can bring home that red ribbon. Kevin recalls the Milton Fair and how proud he was of his son when he won first place in his class.
Garden tractor pulling can be very affordable and a lot of fun for the entire family. Just an average pickup truck and a small trailer is all that’s required to haul the garden tractors to and from the pulls. Garden tractor pulling also helps to bring families and friends closer together. You and your family and friends will travel to other towns, see the beautiful countryside and interesting sights along the way. While on the road, meet interesting people, have a chance to be with other pullers who share your interests and make new friends! Kevin thinks that travelling to and from a pull is half the fun. Then when the pull is over, Cale thinks half the fun is going on rides and enjoying the rest of each fair.
This year pull is Saturday evening at the Schomberg Agricultural Spring Fair. We invite you to come out and cheer on your neighbours or get your own family involved and modify your own Garden tractor to pull in this year’s event.
This year watch out for Leanne Holmes as she comes out to show her brother Cale that girls can pull too! See You there at the Fair!!!