Pedal Tractor Pulls harness kid power

The free competition is designed for kids 4-12. The event will take place three times today.

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While grandma Diane Dawley coaxed him on with a bag of blue cotton candy Jesse Hackiewicz, 7, huffed and puffed a heavy load to the completion of the 25-foot mark to move on in the Kids Tractor Pull competition Saturday at the fair.

WALLA WALLA — A scaled-down version of a tractor-pulling competition has been added to this year’s Walla Walla County Fair for the first time.

Kids Pedal Tractor Pulls, a free grounds show for kids 4-12, is modeled after the adult tractor-pull competitions, said tractor-pull emcee Ky Dobson.

In both the adult and kid version, contestants use tractors to pull two-wheel trailers that are equipped with skid plates at the front end.

The trailers also have weights and pulleys that move from back to front as the rig is being pulled. The further the weights move up the trailer, the more the skid plate drags on the ground, eventually causing the tractor to bog down.

"It’s a scaled-down version of a real tractor pull. Basically they (contestants) are battling friction," Dobson said.

But unlike the adult version, kids use pedal power, pull less weight for a shorter distance — up to 250 pounds across 24 feet — and are paired in uneven matches, such as a 5-year- old against an 8-year-old.

"I do that on purpose for a couple reasons, to make it more of an individual competition, and there is usually one sled that slides better, and we save that one for the younger kids," Dobson said.

Though Dobson takes care to match different ages when choosing two contestants, he said he doesn’t worry whether they are boys or girls.

"I think the interesting thing about it is that more often than not the girls dominate in this, and it really gets to the boys," he said.

Kids Pedal Tractor Pulls takes place on the north end of the main lawn — between the community building and racetrack — today at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. Sign-ups start 10 minutes before the event.

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