PHOTOS: Tractor pulls in Lancaster County

June 14, 2018

Tractor Pulls, Southern End, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Farming, Rural, Sunset

A roar would echo across the farming hills in the twilight. It came a distance of several miles, slipping through silhouettes of maple and oak trees, on nights when the summer air barely moved.

As a child, I would be outside catching fireflies with my hands as the first stars and planets winked at us from an ever darkening blue canopy. Then I’d hear the roar, a mechanical howl, the call of a beast made of pistons, spark plugs, and ignition switches.

It was tractor pull night in Holtwood.

When I went scouting for photographs last September as part of my essay about growing up in the “Southern End” of Lancaster County, Pa., one event I listed as a must-have was a tractor pull.

Tractor pulls, for the uninitiated, features a weighted sled on four wheels hooked to the back of a tractor. The driver then hits the throttle and tries to pull the sled down a lane of dirt between bleachers filled with cheering locals.

This often happens Friday nights at Buck Motorsports Park, a rustic shrine to the motorized past times of rural America.

Tractor pulls feature professionals who’ve poured thousands into souping up their otherwise ordinary tractors, and one I remember as a kid purportedly had a jet engine. I recall being in the stands nervous as hell when the tractor, with green paneling and a silver-colored exhaust pipe standing like the Washington Monument out of the front, pulled to the start, then fired up the high-pitch whine of its motor. I covered my ears. I feared it might explode.

The Buck is well known among local Lancasterians, so I sought a different tractor pull event. The massive Solanco Fair features a pull by classic tractors, and that proved too tempting to resist.

Here are the images from that night:

Tractor Pulls, Southern End, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Farming, Rural,
Four children watch the beginning of the classic tractor pulls event at the Solanco Fair in Lancaster County, Pa.
Tractor Pulls, Southern End, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Farming, Rural,
The crowd watches the start of the classic tractor pulls during the Solanco Fair in Lancaster County, Pa.
Tractor Pulls, Southern End, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Farming, Rural, Sunset,
Sunset during the classic tractor pulls at the Solanco Fair in Lancaster County, Pa.
Tractor Pulls, Southern End, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Farming, Rural, Monochrome, Black-and-White
Waiting a turn at the classic tractor pulls during the Solanco Fair in Lancaster County, Pa.
Tractor Pulls, Southern End, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Farming, Rural, Sunset
Sunset during the classic tractor pulls at the Solanco Fair in Lancaster County, Pa.
Tractor Pulls, Southern End, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Farming, Rural, Monochrome, Black-and-White
Waiting a turn at the classic tractor pulls during the Solanco Fair in Lancaster County, Pa.

 

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