Antique tractors don’t spit fire and smoke like their modern diesel counterparts, but for tractor pull competitors like Reuben Yount and Jimmy Hance antique tractor pulls are a time for fun with family and friends.
“It isn’t like the old days when there wasn’t any rules at tractor pulls. The competitions weren’t exactly safe,” Yount said, “and there isn’t any drunks fighting with each other.”
Yount has driven tractors in pulls for 32 years. He bought his first tractor when he was 18. Yount came in first place at the Henry County Fair’s 6,000 pound antique tractor pull when his 1954 Farmall pulled 322.23 feet, Tommy Arvin came in second at 296.98 feet and Jimmy Hance placed third with 254.94 feet.
“Some days you do well and sometimes you don’t,” Yount said. “It’s a guessing game and sometimes it’s who does best at guessing the right gear at the right place in the track. You balance the gearing and you don’t want your front end to leave the ground too much.”
Yount has dreamed about tractor pulling since he was a kid. He, his son and father all compete. Saturday they placed within the top four out of 11 contenders at a competition in Indiana. They compete within 100 miles of Henry County, but sometimes they make exceptions.
““We’ve been to Mississippi and we’ve traveled about 120 miles several times to Princeton, Ind.,” Yount said. “It’s a really good bunch of people to compete with and a good number of kids get involved. It’s a fun family event.”
Yount’s son Logan also participated in the antique pull. Logan drove a 1939 Farmall M model tractor, which only had 35 horsepower when it came out in 1939. The Younts’ Farmall M has 120 horsepower.
“Horsepower doesn’t help you, but it is better to have it than not,” Yount said. “It doesn’t mean you are going to win.”
Yount and President Hance, which is the president of the Salt River Anitque Power Association, both agree that despite an antique tractor’s lack of bells and whistle like modern diesel tractors it is a less expensive hobby and repair bill.
“The price is the biggest difference,” Hance said. “You may spend $8,000 on antique tractor, but modern tractors can cost up $50,000 when you are running all year long.”
Yount agrees that repair costs can be intimidating.
“You spend a few thousand on an antique, but on a diesel tractor you may spend it again tomorrow. Antique tractors are more basic and you aren’t building as much heat,” Yount said.
The Salt River group includes all tractors made before 1960. Hance has a 1954 Farmall M and a 1959 Farmall 560 from. Competitions begin at 3,500 pounds up to 7,000 pounds in 500-pound increments. The association organizes in Shelby, Spencer and Henry County. They will host another pull at the Harvest Showcase July 28.
“I’ve been pulling for 10 years and everyone helps everyone out,” Hance said. “It’s a very competitive sport and a lot of younger people are in to it, but it’s the good people you meet that are great to pull with and you’re always making new friends.”
For more information about the association visit www. saltriverantiquepower.com
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