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Showdown Friday to benefit FFA alumni

People accustomed to the truck and tractor pulls normally held in the Ellsworth area will need to kick it up a notch when going to the "Showdown in Curd Town" this Friday.

Billed as "the greatest show on dirt," this Tri-State Truck and Tractor Pullers Association event is being held for the first time in the community to benefit the Ellsworth FFA Alumni. The action will begin at 7 p.m. and continue until 11-11:30 p.m. in front of the grandstand at the Pierce County Fairgrounds.

Not a typical farm tractor pull, the association's version is in the upper level of sanctioned tractor and truck pulls, according to information from the alumni. Unlike local pulls, these vehicles must all be equipped with a roll cage or Rops rollover devices, seat belts, dead man's throttle and side shields, and drivers must wear helmets and fire suits.

"As wheel speeds reach up to 100 mph at take-off, dirt flies, smoke bellows and engines roar," the information states. "You can feel the vibrations in your seat as the driver builds his rpms and slips into gear. You can almost feel the power as some of the vehicles tilt up and then rip down the track toward the finish line."

Doug and Nina Borth of the alumni group confirmed Thursday there hasn't been a pull of this caliber locally since the Konklin pull in the late 1970s. Doug Borth, who's co-chairing the local appearance with Kevin Lindstrom of the alumni, credited Lindstrom for making arrangements to have the association here. Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin comprise their territory.

"This is as far north as they ever come," Borth said, noting Lindstrom has pulled with Tri-State for three or four years.

The alumni sought a fundraiser they could have once yearly to meet their needs, he said. Several members were familiar with association pulls and recommended the effort. Planning has been underway since November.

"A lot of pullers like the track here," Mrs. Borth said.

This weekend fit into both the association's schedule and the fairgrounds availability, her husband said. Eighty hooks are expected, meaning there should be 40-to-50 vehicles.

They'll pull on a 300-foot-long track and whoever takes the weight transfer sled the farthest is the winner, the information states. Because of the speed and ability of the vehicles, it's not uncommon to see a floating finish at up to 330 feet.

The pulling vehicles range from 6,000# modified V-8 single engine tractors, two- and four-wheel-drive Mod and super stock trucks, 9,300# super farm tractors, 9,500- and 10,000# hot farm tractors, and 9,350# super stock-diesel/9,500# pro stock tractors, alcohol 8,500# tractors.

The Borths said the association is a step below the national level, but follows National Truck Pull Association (NTPA) rules. The NTPA's biggest annual show was in Tomah this past weekend and several participants there may come here, bringing along vehicles for display, if not participation.

Concessions will be available in Ellsworth on the grounds Friday. There will be hot dogs, brats, chips and candy. A beer garden will be open.

Local FFA members will help serve refreshments, plus with set-up and the like. Proceeds from the event are designated toward the advancement of agriculture in the schools and community.

MDMA Equipment of Ellsworth, an event sponsor, is donating the use of tractors for track purposes. Other sponsors are: Hiawatha National Bank, Rohl Custom Harvesting, Plummer Concrete, AgStar Financial Services, Royal Brand Embroidery, Pierce County Herald, Johnson Sanitation, Western Wisconsin Ag Supply, Lubich Repair, State Farm Insurance-Denton Achenbach, Hager Auction Service and Al Hines Construction.

The gates for Friday's event will open at 5:30 p.m. and there will be free parking on the grounds.