Super Pull raises bar of success

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Chapel Hill Lions Club President Bill Beasley addresses the huge Saturday night crowd at the 2014 Super Pull of the South. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The 2014 Lions Club Super Pull of the South had some trying moments with the weather in its 38th edition of the extravaganza last weekend, but by all indications, the event turned out to be one of the most satisfying in the club's history.

"Sunday was maybe a bit of a disappointment as far as attendance, however it was a new experience for us and we'll learn from it. The gate and concessions will still help us carry out our work as a Lions Club," said Lions Club President Bill Beasley. "I feel that this was one of our best events ever considering the challenges we faced. I swell with pride just seeing how the Lions Club and all the community responded."

Rain strikes

The Touchstone Energy Cooperatives' hot air balloon takes to the sky, flying Old Glory, as Forrest teacher Lance Horton belts out the National Anthem before the Super Pull on Saturday night.

After their first Friday night rainout in 26 years, the Lions Club put on their mud boots and with the help of countless volunteers who always take special pride in the event, the momentous task of making sure everything that goes along with making well over 15,000 visitors to the Chapel Hill community happy and safe was accomplished for the Saturday session that saw fans streaming in until the late hours of the evening.

"We fought it hard last night (Friday) until about 8:30 to get things going, but the rain would just not stop," said Beasley. "But, the track was covered the entire time, we never uncovered it, so getting the track in order was not a big deal, but getting the parking areas and the entrances and exits ready was a challenge and a lot of hard work by all the volunteers who make this event happen," said Beasley.

By the time Petro Trucking's Buckeye Hauler opened up the action with a mighty roar down the track Saturday night, the inclement weather from Friday was long lost in the memories of all.

Liv'n A Dream, driven by Brandon Hunt from Oak Grove, Ky. gets his wheels off the ground in his Diesel Super Stock Tractor Saturday night in Chapel Hill.

Packed stands

"This was a traditional Saturday night crowd, it's just fantastic," said Beasley. "We knew the weather would not hold back the fans tonight and I think we may have exceeded our expectations."

The Lions Club also decided to honor all tickets purchased for the Friday night session for the make-up session on Sunday afternoon.

Fan favorite Renee Theobald waves to the crowd during driver introductions Saturday night.

"The pullers were very happy, it wasn't the best track we have ever had or certainly not the best in pit areas, but the pullers have all complimented us on how hard we had to work to have this pull and they were happy we held the Sunday session," said Beasley.

Fans and drivers traditionally travel to Chapel Hill from all over the country and they were not disappointed as the weekend action was hot and heavy as several pull-offs were necessary to decide many of the classes, adding to the excitement of one of the most cherished and celebrated pulls in the United States.

Giving back

Bret Berg from Farmington, Minn. rips down the track, spitting up some mud along the way in his Modified Mini Tractor Round Up Ready 2 at the Lions Club Super Pull of the South.

The Lions Club, despite the lower than normal gate receipts, will not be deterred in their main mission of giving back to the local community as well as supporting the many other charitable endeavors they have contributed to for almost four decades.

"First of all, we'll make our regular contributions to Lions sight conservation, including White Cane and Operation Kidsight. Sight conservation is first and foremost what Lions Clubs are about and we'll address those first," said Beasley. "The next thing we support is the schools and the community. We'll continue to support the libraries, the band, various athletic programs, and the many other worthy charities, as is our tradition."

After the tedious work of dismantling, cleaning, and restoring the area back to normal takes place, the Lions Club will continue on in their work and immediately begin preparations for next year's Super Pull.

Working together

"Sadly we may have a reduced budget for next year, but we'll carry on and look forward to Super Pull 2015," said Beasley. "I would like to say the pull is not only about the money, but the feeling of community and what can be accomplished when everyone comes together. I hope everyone in Chapel Hill, particularly our children realize what a special place Chapel Hill is."

For complete results from the 2014 Super Pull of the South, go to ntpapull.com and click on results.