It’s official, Mother Nature is a big fan the Gas/Diesel truck pull night at the Madison County Fair.
On an evening where meteorologists said there was an 80 percent chance for thunderstorms, the grandstands were full Tuesday, July 8, the exhaust smoke was thick, fans cheered, engines roared and there wasn’t a storm cloud in sight.
Nealy 60 or so drivers brought their gas/diesel trucks out to the dirt homestretch at the Fairgrounds to see who could pull their way to victory.
The truck pull is a popular event at the week-long fair, but also one of the 27 stops on the Central Ohio Truck Pull Circuit, an organization started and run by London natives Dennis Long and his daughter Bridgett Shoemaker.
“We’ve been doing this for five years,” Shoemaker said. “We did this locally here at the fair, but we had guys come to us to see if we could set up some rules and such and set up a circuit. We got it all together and now have 65-70 people on the circuit and we have truck pulls all over Central Ohio.”
The circuit is growing in popularity and has its die-hard group of fans that often show up at events all summer long.
“The farthest we go is Preble County which is five miles from Indiana,” Shoemaker said. “We go to Butler County, Clark, Champaign, Franklin and here in Madison County. The circuit runs from May to September.”
The drivers aren’t in it just for fun or for bragging rights, there are cash prizes that are awarded at the end of the season to the top-five finishers in each of the different racing classes. Those classes include the 7,800 pound 2.5 Diesel, 6,200 pound Cheater Stock Gas, the 8,000 pound 2.6 Diesel, the 6,500 pound Pro Stock Gas, the 7,800 3.0 Diesel and the RWYB/Open division.
“The last race of the circuit is right here (Madison County Fairgrounds) Sept. 20 where we will give away all the sponsorship money,” Shoemaker said. “Last year we gave away $27,000 to five classes. The top five in each class get money. It’s more than just a hobby, who gets paid for their hobby?”
The trucks are pulling a sled that starts around 38,000 pounds for the smaller divisions and increases in size as the size of the engines in the vehicles pulling them increases. The object is to pull the sled as far down the track as possible.
The crew working to get the dirt competition area ready starts around 9 a.m. and usually doesn’t end till well after the truck pulling is done which is usually around 10:30 or 11 p.m. While the days are long Shoemaker said the best part about the experience of working events like the Madison County Fair is getting to work along side her dad.
“The best part is getting a chance to spend time with my dad,” she said. “You have to get use to the noise and dust and stuff, but I grew up on a farm right here in London so I’m use to all of this.”
In the early action at the Madison County Fair, Evan Davis of Leesburg, won the 2.5 Diesel Class with a pull of 294’.044”, Darrick Leis was second in his 2005 Chevy Durango and Brad Emerine of South Bloomingville was third. Richard Mazzaini won the 6,200 Stock Gas class with a pull of 298.982 which was slightly farther than the pull of Matt Anderson of Williamsport (296.364). Richard Forrest of West Jefferson was third in the class with a pull of 295.547.
Alan Blackburn of New Vienna won the 2.6 Diesel class in 336.809, Jeremy Goyings of Fayetteville was second (335.705) and Keith Sullivan was third (328.232).
Jared Troyer of London was fourth in the class with a pull of 327.200 and Plain City’s John Shriver was fifth (326.200).
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.