MOUNT VERNON — Saturday night was time for local tractor pullers to shine under the lights at the Knox County Fair.
The Ohio State Tractor Pullers Association provided fun and thrills for drivers from all over the state to send off this year’s fair in style.
Fredericktown’s Billy Rinehart was the top Knox County puller in the OSTPA classes. His 276.80 foot drag in his ‘Freight Rod’ was good enough for fourth place among the semis.
“I’ve had (Freight Rod) 11 or 12 years now,” said Rinehart, who was originally from Mount Vernon. “Actually, Dale Mitchell owns it and I drive and wrench on it — It’s my favorite old piece.”
There’s nothing like pulling in front of the home folks.
“Crowd-wise, this is one of the top fairs,” said Rinehart. “It’s one of the funnest ones around — yes it is. Everyone enjoys and loves this fair. I’ve always come here to watch them pull since I was a kid, so it’s kind of cool to get to pull here. They are die-hard fans of pulling here. That’s for sure.”
Steve Baker, who lives near Batavia, pulled the sled 301.35 feet in the Chevy he christened ‘Live Wire’ and won the OSTPA Super Modified 4-Wheel Drive class.
“We’ve been at it a long time,” said Baker. “A lot of preparation. Just be ready when you get out there. Know what you’ve got to do and get it done.”
For Baker, the Knox County Fair is an annual event to which he looks forward.
“In a two to three month span, we have 32 Ohio pulls,” said Baker, “so we stay busy. (Knox County) is a really great place to pull. It’s always awesome, when you can come up in front of a big crowd. They know a lot about pulling. It’s a great time. They love it here and this is the heart of farm country, pickup trucks and all that good stuff.”