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THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2007
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Conner McKinney of Decatur blocks out the loud sound of the Super Farm Tractor at last year's Truck and Tractor Pull in Tanner. McKinney went to the pull with grandfather Carl Montgomery of Greenbrier and cousin Daniel Phillips of Belle Mina. They plan to attend the event again this year.
Daily file photo by Emily Saunders
Conner McKinney of Decatur blocks out the loud sound of the Super Farm Tractor at last year's Truck and Tractor Pull in Tanner. McKinney went to the pull with grandfather Carl Montgomery of Greenbrier and cousin Daniel Phillips of Belle Mina. They plan to attend the event again this year.

Roar into Tanner
Annual truck & tractor show pulls enthusiasts from across Southeast

By Patrice Stewart
pstewart@decaturdaily.com · 340-2446

Noisy fun will take over the Tanner High School campus Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. during the 31st annual Alabama Championship Tractor and Truck Pull.

Carl Montgomery of Greenbrier plans to take his grandsons to the Tanner Quarterback Club benefit again this year, because there's always something to entertain Conner McKinney, 7, of Decatur and his cousin Daniel Phillips, 8, of Belle Mina.

"We started going when my grandsons got old enough and showed a little interest in it, and now they have a big time," Montgomery said. "There's quite a bit of racket, and it's pretty loud when the trucks and tractors are coming down the track, so they keep their hands over their ears a lot. Maybe I'll get 'em ear plugs this year."

He said he also has taken his grandsons to Huntsville for the monster truck shows, "but I think they like the tractors better."

After he retired from 3M, he started doing farm work with Mike Murphy.

"We've got a lot of tractors down at the farm, and the boys enjoy them, too," he said.

Daniel Bates of Tanner, chairman of the pull, said they expect to have 60 to 70 participants each night.

"They come to us from all over the Southeast and from states like Ohio and Indiana, but the bulk of 'em will be from Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama," he said.

They run eight classes of competition each night, with seven of those the same both nights. The eighth class Friday night will be stock semi-trucks, while Saturday it will be heavy dual-wheel farm tractors.

The event is sanctioned by the National Tractor Pullers Association and the Mid-South Pullers Association.

"The stock semi-truck class is new," said Bates. "This will be the first year we've ever done it, but we wanted to try to provide something a little bit different for people to see."

Some of these souped-up, modified engines may have $50,000 in them, with the vehicles overall valued at more than $100,000 and turning more than 2,000 horsepower, he said

"We get a lot of local interest with these (last) classes, because people will bring their tractors off the farm and trucks off the highway," said Bates, who has worked with the event for about 15 years.

He is heading up the pull for the first time since the retirement of Johnny Malone, who was chairman for about 30 years. A 1994 Tanner High graduate, he played baseball and football there. While he currently teaches and coaches at Hartselle Junior High, he also helps with Tanner athletic fundraisers because he has a son in first grade and youth sports programs there, plus a younger daughter.

"Everything we raise through the tractor pull goes back into Tanner sports and youth programs," Bates said, adding that there is no parks and recreation department providing youth sports programs for Tanner.

In a year with good weather, attendance and other factors, this event can raise big money. Sharon McMeans, treasurer of the Quarterback Club, said they gave close to $35,000 to sports from last year's proceeds. They also give away $35,000 in prize money to participants.

"Everything is done by volunteers, with the community coming together to help out," McMeans said. "Unless you are involved, you don't have any idea how big an undertaking a tractor pull like this is. And many people, like Quarterback Club president Jim Cooper, keep helping for years after their children are out of school."

If you go

What: 31st annual Alabama Championship Tractor and Truck Pull, a fundraiser of the Tanner Quarterback Club

When: Friday and Saturday beginning at 7 p.m.

Where: In Tanner, adjacent to the Tanner High School football field

Admission: At the gate, $15 for adults and $10 for children 6-12; advance tickets can be purchased for $10 and $5 at locations including Mid-South Salvage in Decatur and, in Athens, Dixie Auto Parts, First South Farm Credit, Haney Equipment Co., Limestone Farmers Co-op, Norman Tire and Wright’s Kubota Sales

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