Dodge City Raceway Park resounded with good vibrations this 4th of July weekend, proving itself to be the perfect stomping ground for the sport of pulling. Craig Dollansky Racing Promotions was pleased the enthusiasm of both the spectators and pullers.
More than 35 competitors traveled to Dodge City, Kansas to compete in the National Tractor Puller Association’s ‘Wild West’ Grand National Championship over the weekend. Teams pulled into the pits from states as far as Georgia and New York, eager to earn points, bragging rights and trophies.
Event sponsor, Todd Dugan of Angry Farmer Products, cited Kansas’ central location as one reason he found DCRP an appealing venue. Dodge City is 1,500 miles from everywhere…Florida, New York and California!
Four-Wheel-Drive champions, brothers Jim and Paul Holman have competed on the NTPA tour for 30 years. Together they have won NTPA events in 18 states. This was their first win in Kansas. Jim took top honors on Friday night with his 1960 Chevy Apache nicknamed, ‘4 Play,’ bringing their Grand National win total to 115.
Other siblings, Adam and Jordan Spiegelberg traveled 13+ hours from their home state of Wisconsin to compete. Adam stated from Victory Lane in Dodge City, “the trophies made it all worthwhile!” Achieving a full-pull in his ‘Detonator Black’ machine with a 360.11 foot effort on Friday in the Light Super Stock class. Jordan took the honors in the class on Saturday in ‘Detonator Red’ with a 312.35 foot pulling effort.
Forty-seven years of experience paid dividends for Bret ‘The Money Maker’ Berg from from Farmington, Minnesota, as he was crowned the Modified Tractor champion. He achieved the longest pull in his class both sessions with ‘The Renk Seed, Money Maker’ at 345.68 and 354.29 feet, respectively. Berg is a four-time NTPA 7,500-pound Modified champion.
Fairgrove, Michigan’s Rob Foster won Saturday in the Four-Wheel-Drive Truck class with a 359.68-foot effort in his 1958 Chevy. His wife Tanya and puller daughter, Carmen ‘Foster Child’ Foster, were crowd pleasers throughout the event. Rob was the 2010 NTPA Grand National Champion in the Four-Wheel-Drive class. Carmen Foster has placed in the top-ten in the Grand National points race every year as a diver.
Kent Payne, of Veedersberg, Indiana roared his International 1066 ‘Super Rooster’ to a 286-foot first place win in the Super Stock Diesel Tractor class Friday. The crowd erupted on Saturday when Marengo, Iowa native Travis Schlabach pulled ‘Bone Twister’ 349 feet — more than 40-feet longer than his competition.
Esdon ‘The King of Smoke’ Lehn, an accomplished puller and 12-time pulling champion, had the support of the crowd and his competitors alike when he made a comeback Saturday night to place third in his class with his Super Stock Diesel ‘Diggin Fever.’ Lehn’s career began in the early 80’s in the pickup pulling divisions. Saturday night came to an unfortunate end for Lehn, when his machine blew-up spitting fire and splitting the engine block half.
The pulling track was built from scratch by the best dirt-track cultivators in the business. Promoter Craig Dollansky, and a dedicated team from the National Tractor Pullers Association produced a competitive surface for the event. The time and attention to dirt detail was evident from start to finish.
The ‘Wild West’ Grand National Championship proved DCRP is more than just a racing track — it is a top-notch venue for any motorsport competition. In a time when more racetracks are closing than opening, this event gave Southwest Kansas spectators an exciting and new form of summertime entertainment.
At the conclusion of the 2-day event, Factory Direct Fireworks saluted the USA with a massive fireworks finale to honor our country’s independence. The crowd responded with drumroll stomps of applause and whistles. CDR Promotions would like to thank all who participated and pulled, and the fans who chose to spend their holiday weekend in attendance of this event, and they hope to bring it back for many years to come.
This event was brought to Dodge City in part by a grant from Dodge City Festivals, Inc and our great sponsors. Angry Farmer Products, Big Corner Creative, Big Corner Creative, Bud Light, Pepsi, O’Reilly Auto Parts, United Rentals, Factory Direct Fireworks, Roto-Mix, Murphy Tractor & Equipment, Lewis Auto Group, Briney Motorsports, Coors Light, U.S. Navy, and Mel Hambelton Ford Racing.