Antique tractor pull tugs in the crowds

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More than 100 people gathered in the frosty morning air to watch tractors strain against loads of mammoth proportions Sunday. Among the crowd were several newcomers to the Antique Tractor Pull, one of the events held in conjunction with Grand Olde West Days.

Six of the first-timers, all relatives of Jim Simos, came up from Grand Junction. They watched as Simos and Mike Willems first tied then competed in a pull-off in which even more weight was added to their respective loads.

Simos finished victorious. His secret to success: "Put it in first gear, give it the gas and go."

The uninitiated might see the tractor pull simply as a bunch of people driving their tractors until either the load is so heavy they can't move forward or until they reach the finish line.

It's not just about the tractor though. A fair amount of skill is involved according to John Schram, a member of the Yampa Valley Antique Power Club and Craig resident for 49 years.

Knowing your tractor is important, because some do better starting off with full power, while others' wheels would spin if the driver tried that, Schram said.

"It helps to have done it when you were younger," Schram said, although he added that using a tractor to pull is much different from working in the fields.

Tractors are divided into different classes based on their weights. Each takes a turn pulling a sled loaded with weights.

As the tractor moves forward the angle of the sled changes so that the weight gradually increases.

Tractors are judged by the total percent of their gross weight that they are able to haul.

The winners of Sunday's tractor pull didn't win money.

They didn't win fame, but according to Schram, he competes for the fun of it.

"Bragging rights, that's really why we keep coming back," Schram said laughing.

The Antique Tractor Pull continues today at the old Cosgriff Lot on East Victory Way. For a complete schedule, see page 12.

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