The Pullers Championship: Where the Associations Meet.

The Pullers Championship: Where the Associations Meet.

The Pullers Championship: Where the Associations Meet. 

For a long time my role in the world of truck and tractor pulling was very simple. Passionate, but simple. I was a fan. One might even say, a big fan. I followed the national level circuits. I became familiar with the history of vehicles and drivers. I dedicated trips in the summertime to attending far away pulls, and chatting with people I had grown up idolizing. I was never doing anything special, or dedicated, or out of the ordinary, as far as I was concerned. This was simply something I had grown up with. My father was a die-hard fan, as was his father before him. As a child, our time together was spent discussing previous champions, the basic rules of the classes, the premier destination pulls, the tracks. Anything pulling related, really. It was such a part of the fabric of my hobbies, that like anything someone spends a lot of time with, I really took for granted all the aspects of the sport. 

It was only after my role transitioned from fandom to media production that I realized just how complex our whole enterprise can look to the outsider, and how more intricate it is to explain. You don’t simply “get” pulling in a twenty minute conversation. You grow up with it. Just the way, you don’t simply read a handbook on football before the superbowl, and hope to understand different defensive formations. One of the biggest new aspects of my life, now that I have taken a more hands on approach to the pulling world, is to explain and expand people’s perception of pulling. A lot of my colleagues, friends, and family members are eager to see the finer points of pulling. They can grasp the surface level attraction: it’s loud, it’s fast, it’s full of beautiful equipment, but the notion that people can make jobs out of this baffles them. That leagues and associations can exist. That there are consistent rules, and regulations, and champions and presidents and committees seems to truly befuddle them. How can someone “work” for pulling? I hear this a lot. Another common question comes in the form of pondering how a driver can be a “professional.” 

At this point it is easiest to liken the sport to more traditional bat and ball sports they may be familiar with. Just as baseball, or football, or basketball all have professional leagues, so does pulling. I explain that state and regional level pulling is somewhat comparable to a developmental program, and the three national levels are professional pulling, each catering to a slightly different geographical area, or subset of pullers. Think of the Outlaws, Professional Pulling League, and National Tractor Pullers Association as the different leagues or conferences in sports. Think of PPL as the American League, and NTPA as the National League. Sure pullers can move amongst leagues, but typically, they will perform within a specific association for any given year. This analogy seemed to hold up well. People were grasping the concept of associations managing national level pulling. Until someone asked the very obvious question that, I admit, I wasn’t entirely prepared for. If the three associations are like leagues, where is the world series? When do they get together to see who is the best of the best? Well… you just kind of win your own association, and I had never pondered it much beyond that. But, no, that isn’t the case! There are instances that they get together. So, folks, what is the world series, or superbowl, or finals of pulling? 

My first thought seemed like an obvious choice: The National Farm Machinery Show. The best of the best from any sanctioning body. But, it’s not really apples to apples. That’s an indoor pull. That tests them in a setup they don’t use throughout the competitive season. So do we have a world series? Then it donned on me. The Pullers Championship. 

I think the mission of this pull was much more rooted in creating a venue that directly supplied pullers with the most true and high percentage purse possible. Pay them the entire profit of the gate. Give pullers what they truly deserve. That seems like it will always be the purpose of The Pullers Championship. However, they have, by accident or design, created a platform that also serves as a place where the top competitors can square off for a bit of bragging rights from each organization, in an outdoor pull. It is structured in the manner that the top three finishers from each class of the three national level pulling organizations are invited to compete. That’s a playoff format. Along with fan voted-in “All-Star” pullers, the whole thing serves as one of the few podiums that pullers from across all the sanctioning bodies can compete head to head. So, to answer the gentleman's question- We do have a championship: The Puller’s Championship. 

You can attend the third iteration of The Puller’s Championship in Nashville, Illinois. May 17th and 18th 2024. 

Green Flags and Tight Chains. 

Pullin’ is fun. 

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