Bring a chair. Bring a blanket.
“Bring one of those little red wagons to pull them,” Daryl Jeter suggested.
The Jeter brothers— Ned II and Daryl— were busy with their father Ned Sr. bolting guardrail to posts that define the track for what will be the first tractor and truck pull they’re hosting on Saturday, July 1 at their farm on the James River just upstream from Buchanan.
They took a break to talk about the pull that they think will be a plus for the community, and they hope an attraction that fits into the county’s tourism efforts.
Dragon Motorsports Power Pulling League will hold point pulls for three classes of farm tractors and two classes of pickup trucks during an evening show July 1.
The tractor pull stage on the farm on Mt. Joy Road has been carved out of a hillside overlooking a cornfield and the James River with Purgatory Mountain looking down from across the river.
It is a pristine view of an agricultural and mountain landscape. But these days, successful agricultural operations often require more than a fields of corn, hay and grazing cattle.
The Jeters are not strangers to thinking outside the traditional agricultural box. Their farm off US 460 in the Bonsack/Blue Ridge area is known for its agri-tourism efforts. Each fall, dozens of school children and families visit the farm animals, pick pumpkins, wander through the corn maze, shoot the pumpkin canon, ride the hay wagon and head home with local produce and other local farm products.
The tractor pull is sort of an extension of that effort.
Plus, the Jeters like tractor pulls.
They’ve gotten a great reception everywhere they’ve turned to promote the event. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. and the pulls begin at 6 p.m. The event will wrap up by 10 p.m.
The venue is just what you’d want for a tractor pull, as long as the weather cooperates.
The hillside overlooking the tractor pull stage will provide the “stadium” seating for visitors— thus, bring those chairs and blankets for great seating.
Mill Creek Baptist Church’s mission teams have contracted with the Jeters to serve food and drinks. The Addy Grace Foundation will have Homestead Creamery ice cream. There will also be beer and wine available. No coolers or outside food and drinks will be allowed.
Next week, just before the event, the Jeters will bring in portable lights for the tractor pull stage and parking area.
Of course, portable “facilities” will be available.
“We want it to be a good family event,” Ned Jeter II explains.
They hope to have some other activities as well— maybe even a mechanical bull.
If all goes well, they would like the tractor pull to be an annual event.
It does coincide with the opening Saturday for the Buchanan Carnival, which will be in view from the hillside above the tractor pull stage. “We think it complements the fair,” Ned Jeter explains.
He sees visitors coming to the tractor pull, going to the carnival, floating the James River. “It would be good for the community,” he said.
For the uninitiated, the tractor and pickup classes are essentially divided up into the sizes by weight of the equipment. Each does have limitations, and with Dragon Motorsports, there’s not only the individual pulls like the one at the Jeter Farm, there’s a season competition with individuals scoring points in individual events all season long.
The classes being run at the Jeter Farm are 10,000 Super Pro Farm Tractor, 7800 Light Pro Stock Tractor, 11,000 Hot Farm Tractor, 6400 Pro Stock 4×4 Pickups and 8050 Street Diesel Pickups.
The 10,000 Super Pro Farm Tractors are diesel tractors that must weigh in at 10,000 pounds. These behemoths have a 540 cubic inch engine limit. They can have Intercoolers and water injection and are allowed one turbo charger with 3.0″ inlet. The maximum tire width is 24.5″ and rim diameter is maximum 38″.
A 7800 Light Pro Stock Tractor must weigh in at 7,800 pounds. They feature a 466 cubic inch maximum engine size, 24.50″x32″ tires, and roll cages are mandatory. Several of these tractors compete on other stages where having stickers and paint schemes are encouraged and a great opportunity for marketing. This class boasts some of the best color in brands— Farmall, International Harvester, Case, Ford, New Holland, John Deere, Allis Chalmers and Oliver.
The 11,000 Hot Farm Class are described as “tractors that are not just off the farm.” These behemoths have not seen rows in a while. They must weigh in at 11,000 pounds, have 466 cubic inch engines with a tire size of 20.8”x38” with top cut only on the cleat.
The 6400 Pro Stock 4×4 Pickups must weigh in at 6,400 pounds. They feature a 510 cubic inch engine and DOT regulation tires. These trucks are popular with fans because of the close competition and the high RPM range. Most are in the 9,000 RPM range.
The 8050 Street Diesel Pickups are stock diesel 4×4 trucks that must weigh in at 8,050 pounds including the driver. They feature diesel engines, turbo chargers and DOT tires with a 510 cubic inch engine limit.
Admission to the tractor/pickup pull is $10 for ages 3 and up and free for ages 2 and under. For more information, visit jeterfarm.com.
— Ed McCoy