The Holiday Season is among us and I have found myself truly reflecting on the things that I am most thankful for in my life. After a lot of reflecting on the things that I am personally thankful for in my life, I turned the corner and began thinking about all of the things that I am thankful for in the sport of pulling. My dad introduced me to this sport when I was just a baby and from that moment I have been hooked! My appreciation to my father for sharing this sport with me grows daily! I am thankful for everyone who is fighting to bring truck and tractor pulling to the next level and I look forward to watching the future years of the sports growth! Though the five groups I chose to highlight are a given and ultimately are expected, I want to extend my gratitude as they are making the sport happen!
The economy has not been the strongest in previous years but that really hasn't seemed to hinder the sport as it has others. It is easy to turn on the television and see a half full football/baseball stadium or tons of bleachers empty at NASCAR and NHRA events. In 2010 and again in 2011, I can't point to one event that didn't have an increase in attendance or at least from my perception. I am so deeply thankful for the fans of the sport for their devotion and willingness to be supportive of pulling when the state of the economy indicates they shouldn't spend the extra money.
Vendor support in our sport continues to increase and grow with the addition of corporate sponsors for the larger National series but also the local state circuits. As an announcer it is easy to keep the crowd informed of sponsors when they genuinely enjoy the sport and give back to those involved. I firmly believe the vast majority of companies that are supporting the sport are invested in the fans in someway. My new favorite sponsor in 2011 had to be Kentucky Whoopie Pies! I was introduced to these snack cakes at Gordyville USA, when super farm puller Michael Fanning dropped some samples by the announcer's stand. I enjoyed the red velvet flavored pie and looked forward to when I might get to sample another flavor. Needless to say Tomah was a chance for me to try a few more flavors!!!
Promoters and Venues
For many years it appeared to me that the addition of new venues or events was slowing down within the sport but in 2011 my mind was totally changed about this. Many events decided to take a step up into the ranks of Grand National or Champions Tour events, several moved from state level to the Regional level in an effort to bring more vehicles and higher profile competitors to their devoted fans. This is a big risk, promoters have to convince their fair boards that an increase is purse is worth the risk to bring in a different series for their fair. I appreciate all of the promoters and their continued efforts for bringing the sport to their cities.
I love the off season for one reason; pullers don't forget about the sport over the break, they get to work on improving their equipment in a quest to make big gains. Some are searching for horsepower, some start fresh and build new vehicles, but they are in constant pursuit of a few more feet for their vehicle. The number of competitors seems to increase at the events that I am lucky enough to attend and I love the fact that new classes are being introduced to create more opportunities for competition.
I love this sport as I seem to say in every one of my posts but it is so very true and that is in huge part because of the friendships that I have been able to make in my time traveling. I love announcing shows and interacting closely with the fans who are seated in the stands, and I look forward to each shows conclusion so that I can fellowship with fans and pullers in the pits. The sport of pulling is unique in the fact that competitors are not hidden from the fans but are ultimately readily available for interaction with each person that makes their way pit side.
A deep heart felt thanks must also go to the sanctioning bodies as they are the folks that hire me. I take deep pride in representing each of the groups that I am lucky enough to announce for and understand there are many announcers out there that they could choose. I believe that each sanctioning body is good for the other as it allows for some friendly competition. Each group is watching the other and follows their progress over the summer as to not be out done.
Happy Holidays to you all as I wish you nothing but a safe and joyous season!