WILMINGTON, Ohio (AP) — Amid deafening sound and belching smoke, professional truck and tractor pullers from around the country gather at fairgrounds each spring to test the power of their machines.
On Saturday at the Clinton County Fairgrounds, the 64 entrants ranged from regular-looking farm tractors to hulking marvels of engineering powered by multiple engines. Their goal: to pull a loaded sled the farthest on a dirt track. The resulting spectacle draws an audience eager to hear the roar and feel the vibration of engines.
The roots of competitive pulling are planted firmly in modest rural tradition, but the sport has evolved to feature machines that would never be found in the field. Teams, some staffed by a single family, are sponsored by companies keen to advertise their products on the powerful, moving billboards.
Yet for all the product logos and the marketing slogans bellowing over the loudspeakers, the unpretentious feeling of community remains palpable.
It all comes together on a warm Saturday night with cold beer, lawn chairs and a front row seat to watch big wheels move big weight in the heartland.