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Tractor pulling

Brett Roberts driving in Louisville, Kentucky, at the National Farm Machinery Show.

Out with the old and in with the new indeed proved relevant for the Butler County Fair Board members.

The company that had put on the rodeo during the Butler County Fair had disbanded after last year’s fair, leaving local organizers in a quandary as to how to move forward. Then came an idea: Instead of trying to do the same old things, board members opted to bring a local favorite back: the tractor pull.

“Agriculture is such a big part of this community,” Butler County Ag Society Board President Marilyn Smith said. “We’re a proud agriculture community and we thought this is something people would love to have at their fair.”

Butler County Ag Society Board Secretary Marilyn Zeilinger shared a similar perspective.

Yep, the Outlaw Truck & Tractor Pulling Association is scheduled to touch down in David City for a 7 p.m. Saturday, July 21, competition at the Butler County Fairgrounds, 62 L St. in David City. Since the announcement for it came earlier this year, it has easily become one of the most-anticipated aspects of the annual festivities.

“We’re in a farming community and to be able to see these tractors is a special thing,” said fair board member Kevin Havlovic said.

Truck and tractor pulling, also known as power pulling, is a motorsport competition. It requires modified trucks or tractors to pull a heavy sled along a 35-foot wide, 330-foot long track, with the winner being the tractor that pulls the sled the farthest. All tractors in their respective weight classes, in this case 466 light limited pro stock, super farm, diesel super stock, unlimited super stock and 4.1 limited pro stock, pull a set weight in the sled.

The idea to feature a tractor pull as part of the fair came about thanks in part to community members Mark Roberts, Bill Schmitt and Doug Matulka, who had organized the competition in David City on their own in recent years on July 3. Fair board members, according to Havlovic, were impressed.

“Motorsports in Butler County have always been a big thing,” he said.

Roberts, who has for over a decade traveled across the country with his New Holland T 80 50 competing in Outlaw-sanctioned competitions, said he, Schmitt and Matulka were happy to help feature tractor pulling in the fair.

“This kind of stuff helps the fair, helps the town,” he said, noting there will be about 60 tractors on the track. “There will be a lot of nice tractors and it will be a good show. These always bring good crowds, the people all get excited.”

Tractor pulling is about family for Roberts, whose two sons and daughter also participate. Actually, his daughter, Markie, will be behind the wheel of his tractor for the David City event.

Tickets for the show will be available on the night of at the gate. Children (ages 6-12) are $5, while adults are $10 per person. Kids up to age 5 are free.

“Expect a great show,” Havlovic said.

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at

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