Monday, July 30, 2012

On the road again...

As I'm sitting here on this Monday afternoon in late July I've taken a moment to ask myself the question, "Where did the summer go?" Needless to say, it went, and went fast, in a hot and dry fashion unlike anything most of us have seen since '88. My memory suggests that '83 was pretty bad too especially here in KY. '88 was more widespread of course. Enough about the weather report. When I picked up The HOOK and started covering pulling aggressively I made it a point to go and see as many new and different clubs as I could. This year has been a great opportunity to do that, and I can say I've been to some pretty remarkable places this summer. Places like Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Oklahoma, and even in my backdoor in Battletown, Kentucky--all 3 stand out for the beauty of the country. In terms of my observations for this summer and a common thread for me is the stability and success of pulling at the grassroots level. Puller numbers and spectator numbers have been quite good at that level. Spectator numbers at a national level have seemed good, but puller numbers are down, be it because a desire to cut back or a more glaring issue of parts availability in some classes to get back out on the track. My good friend Dick Morgan touched on the issues at the National level, and my thought is that we're at a tipping point on vehicle numbers in some classes, Light Super for example. It's remarkable to me to see the numbers TWD and SF sustain, but as a rule--COMPARED to other GN classes--maintenance and breakage are not as common. For some of you that's a "no kidding" observation, but their success at making repeatable runs makes them attractive to promoters and a big reason why they have so many hooks. The fact also remains that even with lower numbers at that level of the sport, thats just natural design, no different than other forms of competition, where the national level of the sport by numbers is a small, minute percentage of what we see. Given the numbers we see in Tunica and Gordyville that is easy to see. The rise of the LPS 4.1 and Light Pro are also big news in my mind. I've had the unique opportunity recently to "advise"--and boy do I use that term loosely--a friend as they wanted to get in the game of "blowing smoke" and have done so after running antiques for a few years. I'll be following the process of getting the tractor up to spec in the Light Pro Class, and outline a new pattern I'm seeing, which is pullers moving on into more modern tractors. I also have a piece on LPS 4.1 I'll publish here soon. Well, the website is looking better. Finally. I'll be updating it as I can in the coming days. My event schedule is pretty much locked up through the first of November, but I'll keep updating my schedule to let folks know where Im at. Lastly, the pitch: If you're not getting The HOOK, give it a try. I have a great support system of contributors that help me with the magazine and I manage to hit a ton of events covering everything you don't see in The Puller, which I also work for. So, check out the new website: and follow our social media links if you don't already. Check out the photos and soon we'll have some merchandise up. Thanks for your time and thanks for reading.