The World Champs came to town Sunday and Monday for the 2015 Missouri State Fair tractor pull. Two competitors, the Baille Diesel Team, of Nixa, and David R. Gilmore, of Ashland, had hopes of winning big.
The Baille Diesel team placed first and second at the world championships last year in Texas. Jim Greenway, owner of Baille Diesel, had the national points championship for the NHRDA two years ago, prior to his world championship win. Even for this pulling power house, one thing holds true and that’s family. Jim’s wife, Amy, pulls with a truck of her own.
“Jim built the first truck,” she said. “I was going along to all the pulls and he said, ‘Hey, we’ll build you a truck that’s not quite like mine,’ and there we go. We have two daughters; one really enjoys the social media aspect of this and promoting the sponsors we have, while our youngest daughter is really into photography. She really likes taking pictures of the trucks so it all kind of goes together.”
For longtime puller David R. Gilmore, tractor pulling is more than a hobby, it’s a lifelong passion. At 66 years old, Gilmore has been pulling for 50 years, starting at age 16 with his father. Although his father retired in 2011 at age 85, Gilmore was the 2010 Missouri State Champion. He and his wife continue to pull for the father-son team with their tractors, “Tuff E Nuff” and “Puff N’ Stuff.” The Tuff and Puff pair proved to be stiff competition.
“I won everywhere with Tuff E Nuff – Nebraska State Fair, Iowa, Illinois, all with this tractor,” Gilmore said. “One of my highlights was probably when I won the state fair in Lincoln, Nebraska. That was one of the good ones.”
As exciting as tractor pulling can be, there is some risk involved. In 1997, Gilmore got into a big crash which threw him from his tractor. That same night at a pull in Tomah, Wisconsin, a man had the very same wreck which left him disabled. Because of these two accidents, the tractors are now required to have roll bars.
Eli Kemp is a student at Smith-Cotton High School.