Super Pull means a lot to many

Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Mike Conny from Beloit, Ohio roars down the track Friday night in his MAC Nasty-John Deere 8410 10,000-lb. Pro Stock Tractor. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The 40th Annual Lions Club Super Pull of the South was a rousing success once again with the event sparking many emotions, topped off by the sheer excitement of motorsports that attracts people, pullers and friends from all over the country.

"It was a very successful weekend and I believe all the pullers went away happy," Manners said. "They all said they would be back because it is their favorite place to come."

Heather Gresmire and Jerimiah Blair were having a great time Saturday night at the Super Pull of the South at Chapel Hill. "The fans here are awesome, you have fans that have been for years, years and years," Blair said. "This is my first time ever, so I'm just waiting for the noise when those big ones come out," Gresmire stated.

Tractor pulling is a motorsport with deep rural roots that fans can relate to and with it comes a profound sense of loyalty, a trait that is magnified many times with Chapel Hill's award winning Super Pull.

Total support

There is that sense of community support and pride evident in the manner in which the orange clad volunteers go about their work from what is a full year of planning to the initial race week setup, the two days of jam packed magnificent fun when the pulling commences on the Lions Club Memorial Field at Chapel Hill, and even after when the workers meticulously and like a puzzle, tear it all down and put it away.

"It's quite a spectacle, it's like starting on Monday evening putting a puzzle together and Saturday night looking at it ending," Manners said.

Those are just a few of the things that are seen to naked eye, but there are other emotions as well as many of the same fans nationwide etch the date of the Super Pull of the South on their calendars as to never miss it.

Homecoming

Ex-residents come home for the "Tractor Pull" weekend from all over the country to be with their friends they had shared the full experience growing up in Chapel Hill together and now they want to share that with their children, while reconnecting with school chums.

Smyrna resident Erick Evans stands with just of the few of the 14 family members he went to the Tractor Pull with Saturday night.

"Just looking around and talking to people, riding around speaking and meeting people I saw there are people from all walks," Manners said. "I met people from Alabama, Kentucky and Ohio and they were just fans of the sport."

That is all great stuff and would be enough in most cases, but not for the Lions Club, whose greatest attribute is one of giving back to the community and they have given on an enormous scale over many years through the Lions Club affiliation with the Vanderbilt Children's Eye Hospital, its support of the Chapel Hill Volunteer Fire Department, the Senior Citizens Center and to the local schools and athletic programs, including the construction of the $500,000 Lions Club Fieldhouse on the Forrest campus in 1999.

Helping others

"As we sit here right now (Monday evening), we can see the football team go out on the practice field," Manners said. "I have a grandson in the middle school program in football and baseball and I know what it means to him to come out and play and not worry about his parents having to put in a lot of extra money for equipment, because the Lions Club does a great job in supporting that."

The Lions Club also supports Leader Dogs for the blind and White Cane Safety Day.

A Soldiers Child Foundation Director Daryl Mackin and Clifton Maurer, who lost his dad in the Army 2011 pose for a shot. Clifton is now an ASC mentor to the children that attend the Journey Camp and has appeared on the World Fishing Network ASC bass fishing Tournament with our partners at Army Bass Anglers.

One of the newer recipients of the Lions Clubs' unending generosity began last year when the club honored our country's fallen soldiers by supporting A Soldiers Child Foundation (ASC).

Military honored

The ASC was started by founder Daryl Mackin, who was a neighbor of Lewisburg's U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Marcus Andrew "Marc" Golcyznski father.

Marcus Golcyznski was killed in Iraq in 2007 and the following year, Mackin presented the foundations first birthday party to Golcyznski's son Christian and from there the ASC has expanded its programs to include mentorship programs and the establishment of college scholarships.

A Soldiers Child Foundation Executive Director Daryl Mackin leads the crowd in a special Happy Birthday song to fallen soldiers' child Madison Walker, whose dad Army Staff Sergeant Timothy H. Walker was killed in Iraq in 2008.

"It was exciting to see those kids in the parade and I saw the looks on their faces when they came down the track and it is just a true testament to what this event does," Manners said. "We would not be able to have this event with them (veterans)."

Newcomers

Then there are the newcomers to the sport, who for the first time experienced pulling last weekend and were hooked.

We will be seeing them next year and for years to come and added with that excitement comes their willingness to share their experiences to others, who may be first-timers next.

"It's a family affair and you look all through there and you see dads bringing their children and families just coming for the good clean fun," Manners stated. "It's exciting to watch and a just a good time to spend a weekend."

Jay Riley from Winter Haven, Florida and son of former Chapel Hill resident Jeremy Lawhon took this photo of one of the drivers before he took the track Saturday night

Generations flow by quickly in 40 years and by all accounts, there will be no let up over the next four decades for the Lions Club, which will continue the Super Pull tradition and by its example has highlighted the great state of Tennessee's nickname of the "Volunteer State" which was created because of the enormous amount of volunteers sent to the battlefields early in the 19th Century.

Next Year's Super Pull of the South will be July 21 and 22.

Check out all the great photos from both nights in the Tribune's photo gallery section.