Super Pull lights up Chapel Hill

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
McMinnville's Wesley Foster speeds down the track in his Modified Two-Wheel Drive Truck named Barbwire for a second place finish Friday night. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The 36th Annual Lions Super Pull of the South, one of the landmark stops for the National Tractor Pull Association (NTPA) circuit, transformed Chapel Hill into a small city over the weekend and once again, was a huge success.

Tractor Pull Chairman Chris Gilbert, who has been a part of all 36 Super Pulls said, "Things went great this weekend, it was an exciting time and we had big crowds both nights. We had little rain delay Saturday night, but we covered the track and once the showers went away, we got right back to pulling and things went fantastic."

Gilbert indicated that the estimated gross income from the Super Pull would be between $350,000 and $400,000.

Chapel Hill Elementary School music teacher Ashley Sweeney belts out "The Star-Spangled Banner" to kick off the Lions Super Pull of the South Friday night in Chapel Hill.

The event brought over 20,000 spectators from throughout the country to the town and attracted pullers from 17 different states, including New York and Pennsylvania from the east, Virginia and South Carolina from the southern states, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan from the north, and Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio from the Midwest.

"It's great," said Gilbert. "We know people from all over the United States now because of our involvement with it. We go to pulls in lots of different places and we know the pullers, their wives and kids and it just like a family reunion type thing. It's just great to have them come here and tell other people about the hospitality here."

There were also several pulling teams that showed up from Tennessee and our surrounding states of Kentucky, Missouri, and Georgia.

A huge crowd of over 20,000 fans enjoyed the two days at the Super Pull of the South in Chapel Hill.

One of the local pullers, Wesley Foster from McMinnville, had a great night in session one Friday in his Barbwire machine, finishing in second place, just six inches shy of first place Jesse Petro's 2-Timin machine.

Foster said after his run, "I am going to count this as a win in my books to get second place out of 19 trucks and only by six inches. I really appreciate the Lions Club for letting us come over here to run. I just graduated from MTSU back in May and a bunch of my friends and my family were here watching me, so it really feels good."

Petro, from Camden, Ohio, would take first place on both nights in the 6,200 lb. Modified Two-Wheel Drive Division.

Kathy's Komplaint driver Randy Petro gets the front wheels off the ground.

"Primarily, the bulk of the pullers run the Grand National circuit," said Gilbert. "But, we have the option of bringing in a few special people. We had Wesley out of McMinnville, Theresa Douthit from Pulaski, Jacob Fuqua from Springfield and Kenneth Hale from Estill Springs and that helps bring in the local crowd. It brings a great mixture where they want to just see them pull, but they want to see the other good stuff too. Wesley did not do near as good Saturday night, but he was good enough to be here and was tickled pink."

The Super Pull of the South is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Chapel Hill Lions Club and is run by an all-volunteer staff that works year round to make the event a perpetual success.

Gilbert said about the volunteerism, "We have to have people from all over helping. We have other Lions Clubs that come in and help, we have our members, their wives and kids, people from both schools, the teachers, the principals, and the ball teams and coaches that come in and help. The volunteer fire department, the ambulance service, the sheriff's department, it is truly a community, county effort."

Fearless driver Heather Beeler revs up the supercharger in preparation for her pull in the 6,200 lb. Modified Two-Wheel-Drive Truck Division.

The Super Pull of the South has been voted eight times as the National Tractor Pullers Association National Super Pull of the Year.

All of the proceeds from the event, after expenses, are used for the various community projects sponsored by the Lions Club that include locally donated funds to the Forrest School and Chapel Hill Elementary libraries, the Forrest School Band, Forrest School Boys and Girls State, the Boy Scouts of America, and to help maintain the sports fields.

"It's about the kids," said Gilbert. "It is strictly just a great community effort and we are always willing to do what we can and we try to help everyone we can help, especially here in Marshall County."

In regional efforts, the Lions Club supports the Special Olympics of Marshall County, the Marshall County Education Foundation, the Marshall County Child Development Center, the Columbia State Community College Foundation, and the Imagination Library.

The Lions Club also supports the Tour de Cure Bicycle Race that benefits the American Diabetes Foundation and the Kidsight Outreach Program at the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University.

"The main thing we do is the sight program, we give about $20,000 a year to the Kidsight program," said Gilbert.

The planning is already underway for next year and Gilbert indicated that it is a 52-week effort to pull it off.

"We are already planning for next year and talking to sponsors," said Gilbert. "We all try to get back together as soon as it is over and try to fix what went wrong and keep the things that went well.

"It's a full time job," said Gilbert. "But, I think everyone went away happy this year."

For complete results from the Super Pull of the South, go to and click on Results-Standings, and follow the links to Chapel Hill.