Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Calendar Clearance!

Still have a few calendars left with lots of great photos!  Get one today for $5 including shipping, originally $15!

Thank you for support of The HOOK!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

January Sale!

Thanks for visiting our ordering link!

Don't miss out on a 2019 Calendar,  with a discount if you choose to order a subscription and a calendar!

Purchase Options

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tractor Pulling For A Purpose

Submitted by Mike Palmer (Ed. note - I get emails and regular mail all the time and sometimes they stand out more than others. This email sent to me by Mike Palmer about the young boy and his battle with cancer is one of the most memorable I've received. Please take the time to read the letter in full and the PS at the end. If anyone has anything to add or wishes to help initiate what Mike's proposed in the PS, LET ME KNOW. Kudos to Mike for his efforts on Jayden's behalf. Thanks. Dear Bryan, Recently, I had the pleasure of witnessing and participating in a pulling event that reminds me why we enjoy this sport so much. This past Monday, July 30th I had the privilege of pulling with a young boy of 4 years old who has truly touched me to the depths of my heart. His name is Jayden Barber and like me he is in love with tractors particularly those green and yellow ones, but just about any color tractor will get his attention. I met Jayden about a month ago, when I learned about him from my girlfriend. To give you a quick history, Jayden is a 4 year old boy who has fought for every day he has on this earth. At the age of 2, he was diagnosed with bone cancer. After a long fight and countless chemo therapy treatments the family was all smiles as they thought Jayden had beaten the odds. Unfortunately, the odds were entirely against him, Jayden is one of the few cases where his body actually reacted to the chemo and developed and extremely rare form of terminal leukemia. Again the family was hopeful, but after a bone marrow transplants and T-cell infusions the doctors delivered the crushing blow that Jayden’s body just wasn’t reacting to the treatments and so he was sent home to spend the next six weeks with his family and enjoy their time together. Despite all of this, upon meeting this little boy for the first time, you would have no idea he is in a battle for his life. He has always had a smile on his face and is as happy as can be. He is in pain, has limited use of his right arm from the bone cancer, and still never complains or "asks why me?". I spent only a few honors with Jayden, but I can tell you they were life changing hours at that. Here I am complaining about a bad day at the office, horrible customers, being tired, and yet in front of me is a 4 year old with a death sentence who is smiling and laughing as if nothing is wrong, even though I know he has to take a pain pill every 3 hours just to function. So it didn't take me long to look for a what can I do to help solution........ The answer, I learned that Jayden and his 3 year old brother Carson are in LOVE with tractors which is great because so am I ! So last week we arranged for the family to come out and drive some tractors around the farm, we ended up driving anything that ran! Apparently, Jayden had a good time, because he was so excited to come back that he was trying to arrange another play date for the very next night. He kept asking to drive bigger tractors next time, and then it hit me, what about a tractor pull! Now, this may seem like a small request to some, but for those of us associated with pulling, think of all the red tape, insurance, safety concerns, etc.! Well, through the big hearts of the Columbiana County Fair in Lisbon Ohio, Steve Knizat fair board vice-president, Reesman Farm Supply, Trophy Works, and various others we were able to put together a special Exhibition pull on Monday Night July 30th 2012, at the Columbiana County Fair. I am not sure who was more excited Jayden or myself, I later learned that Jayden had prepared his wardrobe for the pull a day ahead of time just to be sure everything was perfect! The pull itself, was special in so many ways. I used one our Farm Stock pullers and retrofitted it with a special seat, fenders, and safety belt for Jayden and I to make this once in a lifetime voyage down the 300’ track for a Full Pull. We may have only been idling along, but to Jayden we were full speed ahead on a mission to pass that 300’ cone!
As special as it was for Jayden, it had an even bigger impact on the spectators and of course me. I have been to countless pulls in my lifetime and I have NEVER seen a crowd that overwhelmed with the event. The announcer gave a quick background on Jayden’s history and then asked for the crowd to rise to their feet and support this little boy as he made his first ever pull. All eyes were on Jayden, there wasn’t a single engine running, no one was speaking, and of course there wasn’t a dry eye in the whole place. The moment was incredible for anyone who had the pleasure of witnessing it. I have never seen an entire arena go silent so quickly and then erupt so loudly with cheers and applause. Finally to top it all off, as Jayden reached the 300’ mark, he raised his little hand and fist upward in celebration as crowd roared to life in approval!!!! Afterwards a trophy commemorating the event (donated by Trophy works) was presented to Jayden for his accomplishments. It all was worth it as I heard him tell his mom “this was the best day ever!”
Now if all this generosity wasn’t enough, I came to learn later that evening that a few pullers had taken it upon themselves to donate their class winnings back to the Barber family in support of Jayden’s cause to help with medical bills and any other expense. I know there are some people out there, who question what this world is coming to, and heck I am just as guilty at times, but after Monday night I was overwhelmed with the generosity, kindness, and compassion people still have. I have never been more honored to be at a pull and could not be prouder of my fellow pullers. This was truly a pull for a cause that won’t soon be forgotten by anyone in attendance and it reminds me just why I love this sport. Sincerely, Michael Palmer PS: Since then the idea of starting a foundation of “pulling for a cure” or “tractors for therapy” where sick kids get to come and drive tractors as a therapy or impromptu make-a-wish. Something that seems so simple, but just the idea of being able to put a smile on a child’s face, seems worth it. Do you know of any such organizations? Also, do you think there are people out there who would embrace this idea as well as maybe help me build a wheel chair accessible tractor? I think it could be a great thing for kids, teens, and adults alike, but in order to get it off the ground I may need a little support! (Ed. note: Here is the follow-up I received in recent days. I for one thought the room got a little dusty reading the follow-up given the situation initially faced. Proof of the dramatic blessings that God does bestow, and keep him in your thoughts and prayers! Just to share some great news, I found out late last night that while at the hospital for his weekly transfusions and checkup, the blood work came back negative for cancer. Thinking there was a mistake the doctors did some scans and more test and Jayden is now deemed to be 99% cancer free. He's not totally out of the clear yet, as he is still fighting a graft vs host disease from all the transfusion but things are on the up and up. Best of all, the doctors have no explanation what so ever. However, if you asked Jayden, he'll tell you without a moment's pause that it was Jesus who told him he would be ok. All this from a 4 year old...WOW. This is the type of miracle that just shows you how the power of prayer can work, sometimes we may not understand why things happen but there is defiantly a plan at work much more powerful than I can understand. Thanks again for the article and I would love some feedback on the non-profit idea. I have some plans in the work to find an orchard tractor for a fully hydraulically controlled wheelchair tractor, and have been talking with some friends who are lawyers to find out just what it would take to make this idea become a reality. Any and all feedback is welcomed and appreciated. Thank you so much! Michael Palmer

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Running Full Speed, But in What Direction? An Examination of Pulling’s Fastest Growing Class, Limited Pro Stock 4.1

During the weekend of May 4th-5th, I attended two pulls that transcend The HOOK Magazine. During the evenings, I attended the MSPA H&R Agri-Power Pulling Series events in Ardmore, Tennessee, while during the day of the 5th I covered a local antique pulling event in Shelbyville, Tennessee. While at the antique event I crossed paths with a couple who field three antique tractors and enjoy the sport of pulling at all levels. We had spoken briefly the evening before as they had been at the Ardmore event, but we had opportunity for more conversation during the antique pull. In our conversation, without prompt or asking the gentleman remarked, paraphrasing here, “that was a good pull last night…but that Limited Pro Stock class was really good.” He continued on to reveal his understanding of the class and how good a place it holds within a given show. Basically the message I got from this was: The fans are watching…and keeping score. I was first introduced to LPS 4.1 two years ago at an event in Illinois. It certainly had a different feel and flair that Super Farm didn’t possess, but was still that diamond in the rough, ready to be polished so that it might shine brightly to the pulling world. Fast forward to the Missouri State Fair in 2011, where nearly 30 of these tractors made pass after pass, wheels up, with a sound and presence only eclipsed by a Pro Stocker. I too became a believer in that evening, recognizing that the class has some fantastic potential. With every up-and-coming class there is a certain new-kid-in-town novelty. The novelty here is that in many circles LPS is thought to be the class that Super Farm should have been all along, as well as the great show they provide. But as the headline suggests for this class that is already being booked heavily throughout the Midwest, what direction is the class heading in? As a person who has a deeply vested interest in keeping the sport of tractor and truck pulling alive and well personally and professionally, I think it’s important that history does not repeat itself so that LPS does not fall victim of the ills that other classes that have fell prey to in their formative stages. In short: 1) Align rules across organizations. It’s important that a tractor in Missouri or from any other state should be able to go anywhere in the pulling world and roll off the trailer without having to change their setup beyond those changes they normally make through the season. Uniformity of rules also saves money in the long run, plain and simple. If not, LPS pullers that travel will have to keep multiple setups to run given on the set of rules they’re running into. Diesel shops will make money still, just won’t have to develop different setups on their end, allowing them to focus on one for LPS. 2) To promoters and sanctioning bodies: overbooking the class makes for a long, hard summer. They are reliable, but they will break with enough pounding through the season. There’s also a certain responsibility on the part of the puller to say “when,” and “when” more often than not is when the parts funds dry up or the supplier’s ability to provide replacement parts becomes an issue. This is probably the hardest measure of all; it is truly hard to say “no.” 3) Maintain this class as a regional class only; The knock from many is that Super Farm isn’t a class for the national stage, and in the grand scheme LPS 4.1 is not either, even though it is more attractive to be at that level. There are already enough hooks to support this class with less travel, and it finally pushes Pro Stock into national-only status like the USS, Mod, and Unl Mod classes. It is indeed fun to sit back and watch this class when all is said and done. The speed, noise, and overall display of brute power is remarkable; where some classes might seem to bring a pack of sparklers to the show, LPS is a stick of dynamite; furious, loud and uncompromising. Every effort needs to be made to project the path of the class in the right direction, and I don’t think by any stretch I have all the right answers. I do know after a visit with a fan on a beautiful Saturday morning is that the fans are watching, and want more. Let’s give it to them. P.S. After initially writing this piece back early in the season I have had several more fans specifically come up to me and make note of the quality and speed of this class—even a promoter. Though some may grumble that the class is “too big” “broken” or whatever, it again ultimately matters what the fans are doing when LPS 4.1 is going down the track—they’re standing and cheering and evidently telling people about the class after they’ve seen it the first time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sabotage--We talk all the time about the Good; now a brief moment on the Bad and Ugly...

This is one of those stories that I quite frankly admit that I didn’t care to have to write, but it was time to do it.  After recent events at a pull I attended,  the issue had to be explored, had to come to light. 

Let me preface this story with this comment:  The activities of a few should NEVER cast a shadow upon an event, promoter or the other pullers that had nothing to do with the activity.  It is however the activities of the few that leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth from top to bottom and it should be directly attributed to the person who committed the crime, and no one else.

The first time I was ever around a tractor that had been tampered with was owned by grandfather’s mechanic some 25 years ago.  The mechanic, owning a very stout 88 Oliver, had done well in his early classes but at some point in the evening someone had found means to put sugar in his fuel tank.  In his own words “The S.O.B. ran good ‘til I got sabotaged.”  For whatever reason I remember that as clear as day, probably because I added S.O.B. to my vocabulary that day, and my dad soon removed it.  Moving on...

Tampering comes in many forms, from something as simple as messing with tire pressure to pulling wires off a tractor.   One puller recently told me that his chains and boomers were taken off his trailer, which is just a higher lever of tampering in outright theft.  There are any number of scenarios, and none of them are good.  Most everyone reading this has heard of something sabotaged or has had it done to them.

What lies underneath this is the current is someone putting a chink in the armor of what is one of the last few sportsmanlike of motorsports.  From drag racing to dirt tracks to Sprint Cup, you have to watch your back.  Pulling has largely avoided that stigma, especially at those events we cover here at The HOOK.  I don’t think that is the case now, but in my own estimation you have to speak out about misuse and abuse early to get it stopped before it runs rampant.

I don’t know what possesses folks to do something like this, but it is pretty obvious: tampering with a vehicle is the highest level of cowardice in motorsports, period.  My advice to them is simply, sell your tractor, and don’t come back.  Your brand of kicks is unwanted and unneeded in this or any other motorsport.  If you are afraid of getting beat, then take your licks and find some means to get better.   Become a better driver, a better track reader, do something other than messing with other people’s stuff.  A victory gained by those means is not a victory at all; it is a farce.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

That time again...

Tonight we finished the latest issue of The HOOK.  It is the largest edition we have printed yet at 76 pages.  We have had great opportunity to meet and work with some wonderful new people in the sport, and we want to continue to do that as much as possible. 

What I'm about to share partly comes from the latest editorial.  There's a sports talk show personality named Jim Rome whose main gig is spending three hours a day spouting of to millions of listeners--he is popular.  One of his bits or actually could be what he believes to be true.  His claim is that the show is much better when he is the only one talking, and not any of the many listeners who might call in.  "More of me, less of you" he says.

For The HOOK, the opposite is true. It is my intent to help you all, the readers and pullers, to become more involved in the content of the magazine.  I do not to plan to slow down the amount I travel to meet new pullers in new clubs, I simply cannot be everywhere at once.  More of YOU, Less of ME. 

If you have comments and ideas, shoot them my way.  rblively@hotmail.com is the best way to reach me.

Although this blogging bit has been pretty sporadic, I have had ample windshield time to think through some ideas and hash them out to share in a manner everyone can understand...So expect more ramblings on...

For now, Let's go Pullin'