Letter to the editor
Yup, “Someday everything’s going to be different, when I paint my masterpiece.”
So sings Bob Dylan in his lament about how everything is going to be different, when he paints his masterpiece.
Having listened to Bob since my youth his nasal cry for perfection and the peace it will bring him has been the sound track to my life, every misstep and stumble I remind myself someday everything will be different,someday when I paint my masterpiece.
Well, Saturday I did it, now what do I do, just lay down and die, my life’s work done, am I no more then the lowly grunion fish? Is this all there is?
What was my masterpiece? Well I can assure you it wasn’t no stinking song, and it wasn’t no fruity tooty painting. Nope, so siree Bob, Saturday at the Graettinger tractor pull I got my long sought bi-fecta. Two back-to-back perfect pulls, no not full pulls but perfect pulls.
The track just felt good when I walked it, oh yeah, we walk our tracks us tractor pullers, with every bit as much concern and attention to detail as a sprint car driver before the A main. This track was special, it talked to me, tacky and damp it practically pulled the soles from my Dexters as I tred it from end to end, side to side, looking for the loose spots, searching for the holes.
I peeked around back behind the big elevator building and spotted my old boss Jim Valen unloading his Massey 101, I dropped to my knees and whispered, “Thank you Lord for delivering thine enemy to thine tractor pull”.
Drivers’ meeting, same old stuff, no kicking or gouging of the eyes, Judges rulings final. First up is the 3000 lb. class then the 3500, I run both, Jimbo comes in with his Massey at 3500.
The sled breaks out nice, as soon as I get on top of the load I open it up, the front end lifts off, no, floats up like a cloud and then as my little homebuilt builds speed it drifts back to earth, we are really cranking the RPM now, little engine screaming the straight pipe a scant four feet from my ears. I back off just a touch as my mind drifts to thinking about rod stretch and how many times I have over-revved my little jewel.
Just when it feels like nothing can stop us we are reminded of the maxim, “Gravity never sleeps” as the giant hand of the weight moving forward seems to push against us.
The motor pulls down, really working now, the tires dig our speed drops lower the tires search for bite, we are nearing the judges tent when we start to pull to the left, two old birds are sitting in lawn chairs under it. I have them dead in my sights as my tractor hooks even further left, I wonder how they can just sit there, if I had a tractor screaming to within 10 feet of my chair I would think I would at least shift my weight to be prepared to run in case a chain broke or hitch pin shattered.
Them old boys just sat there, I shut it down three feet before the out of bounds line, couldn’t stand the thought of running the old coots over. Sure there would have been all kinds of papers to fill out had I flattened them.
Anyway a perfect pull at about 190 feet, not just perfect cause it was 190, no perfect cause it felt perfect. Perfect isn’t something you measure with a yardstick, perfect is something you measure with your heart, and the seat of your pants.
Moving to the 3500 class a couple of nice Oliver 66s went through, a John Deere B and and then Jim’s little Massey 101. Last year Jim beat me by five feet a loss which threw me into a blue funk lasted all of six months. I watched as Jim’s Massey churned down the track laying out a 167 foot pull. Well within my grasp I thought, if. If the track had not loosened up to much, if, I didn’t hook early, if, I didn’t choke.
The second pull mirrored the first, nice lift off, set the wheels back down screamed to the end pulling a hard lef hook at the judges stand, same two old birds in lawn chairs by now fast asleep.
Felt GREAT! I told my old boss’ sons Jeff and Jarrod it was likely the next couple months would be hard for old Dad and advised they keep him away from sharp knives, loaded guns and short ropes.
And, for me at least that wraps up the season. I would like to thank all of you who have taken the time to read my pulling updates and columns. In particular I would like to thank all the pullers for being such good sports. My writing is a blend of fact and fancy complimented with outright lies. Over the past couple of years I have called some good people liars and cheats among other things. Being a goodsport can be a hard thing when you are the one being made sport of, so, my hat is off to all in the sport of tractor pulling, even, yes, even the boy’s from Palo Alto County. I thank you for listening.
Roy “Full Pull” Gage