To the Window; Through the Wall?

To the Window; Through the Wall?

Catchphrases. Signature calls. Sign-offs and Mottos. Every announcer wants one, and each great announcer has one. If you have found yourself attending a tractor pull in the previous collection of years announced by the notorious and charismatic Jason Schultz, you have certainly heard his go-to call. “TO THE WINDOOOOOOW! …TO THE WALL!” Mr. Beer Money himself will bellow through the speakers after he and the crowd witness the biggest pass of the night. He reserves it for the monster runs. The ones that bring the crowds to their feet. The walk off wins, or the 370+ measurable pulls down the dirt. The line itself is borrowed, more or less, from a fun upbeat hype-song circa mid 2000’s. It is the perfect application, as Jason himself is by and large truck and tractor pulling’s hype-man, and the passes he applies it to are hype inducing and worth every bit of attention that can be drawn to them. 

… To the wall!” It’s a fun call. It gets the crowd roaring. It brings a fist bump from the driver. It helps move the sport in the upbeat, heart pounding, butterfly-creating direction it deserves to go. And it paints an awesome metaphor. The driver took it all the way to the imaginary wall at the end of the track. Beyond the wall even. Pulling’s very own version of a home run. The best thing in sports. Except, what happens when the wall isn’t a metaphor? What if there is an actual wall at the end of the track? Perhaps with a large sand, or clay, or dirt pile in front of it? From the months of November to March, these exact types of tracks become very real, and very common. Ladies and gentlemen I give to you: indoor pulling. Some people absolutely LOVE indoor pulling. Some people have a hard time with it. The shortened track. The lack of smoke. Whatever it may be. Love it, or tolerate it, indoor pulling is a cornerstone of the sport and has been pretty much since its inception. 

With indoor pulling comes the famously recognizable “sand pile.” The large dirt mound comprised of whatever available soil compound and substance the geographic area has available. It is meant to serve as the track’s fail-safe. In the early days, the pile was nearly untouchable. It was the parachute installed to catch a freefall. It was nothing more than a simple idea serving to protect the end of the track. But then vehicles began to get close to it. Then they touched it occasionally. Then they hit it. Then they hit it… hard. It morphed from a wastegate to a goal. Competitors now carry containers with them that serve the sole purpose to bring home sand from the piles that their weight racks bury themselves in, like tokens of war, or medals of victory. 

The trend of hitting the sand, or “taking it to the beach” as many say, has really become a common trend, and a popular outcome within the world of indoor pulling. We have seen pullers climb the piles, plow the sand, bust tie rods, etc. At the National Farm Machinery Show this year, we saw the ultimate example of piling into the, well, pile. The Bucket List modified four wheel drive truck piloted by Ike Zaring took it to the beach! But then he kept right on going. He didn’t just take it to the beach, he took it to the whole stinking ocean. And behind that beach was a wall. Temporary concrete retaining barriers. Allow me to steal Jason’s call, while modifying it slightly to explain to you exactly what Ike Zaring accomplished, “To the windoooow! .. THROUGH the wall!” He plowed that Dodge Dakota straight through sand, into the wall, toppling the back barriers. The hit was… aggressive. The driver was… as happy as any driver I could remember seeing; raising both arms out the window, waving them to the crowd, encouraging them to cheer louder. Freedom Hall was lucky to still have a rough. Pandemonium. Amazement. Followed by strong feelings, and emotions. And opinions. Lots of opinions. 

The essential question is easy to get straight to the heart of. Is this good? Is this what we want? To target the sand pile, and hit it with full power. You can imagine how the masses have given thoughts that run the gamut of where each person lands. I am not here to swing your personal interpretation of climbing the clay, or slamming the sand one way or another. That is for you to decide. 

Is indoor pulling as good as outdoor pulling? Freedom Hall packed in 17,000 spectators three consecutive nights. Most fairgrounds are set up to accommodate a couple thousand. Is hitting the sand amazing, hard on equipment, or somewhere in between? Can the sled still stop them in less than 250 feet? Ok, that one I’ll go ahead and answer. Yes. Yes, they can. Sled technology still has the ultimate upper hand, I am confident in that. 

Love it, hate it, or can’t peel your eyes from it, I think the only real people we need to ask are the drivers. And as one driver said in one of our many comment sections on the ol’ internet machine, “It’s Louisville, would you lift?” Would you pull back on the throttle, or would you plow the pile? Answer how you may. The crowd and driver definitely didn’t seem terribly sad about it. 


Green flags and tight chains. Pullin’s is fun. 

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