Wednesday, February 22, 2012

National Farm Machinery Show 2012

It seems this occurs every year, my friends and I spend weeks looking forward to the National Farm Machinery Show, only to be disappointed by how quickly the show comes and goes.  My experience at the Farm Show this year was totally different than previous years, as I treated this season as a chance to grow and promote Miles Beyond 300.  The results of my week in Louisville will be coming to the blog in the near future, as I conducted numerous interviews and got several suggestions for feature stories.  It was very humbling to walk into Broadbent Arena and meet someone who is reading the blog!  On a spur of the moment decision, I chose to write a story about Louisville and the unique places travelers could visit while in the city for the pull.  It was unreal the feedback I received from people who had made their way to one of the attractions we highlighted.  It has prompted me to work even harder for next years Travel Guide, while considering making suggestions for some of the great pulltowns that I am blessed to travel too.

Before the pull began, I wrote a story highlighting the classes that I felt would be the most exciting at Louisville in 2012!  My prediction was truly off as the Wednesday Pro Stock definitely left something to be desired.  There were a few tractors that suffered breakage, while the cutthroat sort of competition I expected never quite made it to the track.  Wednesday was highlighted by Brett Berg's Moneymaker winning the Modified Tractor class with a solid cross tracking strategy.  Brett as the first puller in the pulloff laid a run down that was untouchable.  Another big highlight of the evening was Jody Ross grabbing a surprising win with his McCormick in the Super Stock Diesel class.  In all the Wednesday Night session started the week off but left my wanting more!

Thursday Night belonged to Neil Gettinger!  In 2010 Neil bought a very potent tractor from Ken Measel, the tractor formerly known as Mining for Dollars had, had great success on the NTPA Grand National circuit as well as the NFMS.  In 2011, Neil brought an updated tractor out on the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Champions Tour.  Gettinger took quite quickly to driving an alcohol super as opposed to the old standby Diesel he was so used too.  Watching it all come together on Thursday Night for the Lesson's Learned team was a true testament to the hard work and effort the Gettinger's have put forward.

Additionally on Thursday night we saw Jeff Writsel lay down a sensational pass with his At it Again C-cab.  Jeff's truck performed the best on a track that threw many savvy veterans a curve ball.  I believe Jeff truly drove that truck perfectly and they had it tuned to respond exactly how it needed too.  Jacob Fuqua dodged many a bullet from the pole position to find his way to the finals in his debut in Louisville! 

Friday Night we saw John Mumma make his way back to the winner's circle with his After Midnight Chevy SSR.  Mumma, the fourth of the Midnight Motorsports trucks to hit the track did a great job of driving as he took the win by a large margin in the Two Wheel Drive class. The win marks his second trip to a preliminary title in as many attempts!   Ken Couch announced his presence in the Pro Stock class with a remarkable pass that truly showed the power of his tractor.  The Cotton Pickn Deere may be one of the best kept secrets in the sport as he typically stays on the Mid South circuit and doesn't venture out to the National circuit very often.  Couch went on to win the class by five feet and sent the message he was ready for Saturday Night. The other winner on Friday was Norm Kavan, this guy comes to play in Louisville every year and the outcome is often the same.  He is one of the safest bets in Louisville as a qualifier for the finals!

It is no secret that last year's Saturday Afternoon session was lacking in excitement and was incredibly drawn out.  I was one that believed that the diesel truck class may have wore out their welcome before they truly even got a chance to enjoy the NFMS. I want to commend the committee on sticking with them and providing them another chance as they brought a much better show to the crowd this year.  The Saturday Afternoon session in my opinion was the best of the four preliminary sessions, with a great Diesel truck class to start the show.  The afternoon's most exciting class may have been the Light Supers; with the unreal wheel speeds and variety of tractors competing they did a great job of showcasing their class.  The pull-off came down to Brian Korth times two and Mike Wilhite's Blue Blazes.  In the end Korth kept his streak alive as he has not been defeated in the Light Super class at Louisville.  The final class of the afternoon belonged to Danny Schmucker of Louisville, Ohio.  Much like Norm Kavan on Friday, The Schmucker's are one of the safest bets to make the finals annually and they didn't fray from that, as the Rampage grabbed the win.

The finals were solid in each of the divisions, with seasoned veterans and NFMS winners finding their way back to the front of the pack.  Jeff Writsel, Joe Eder, Neil Gettinger, Darrin Hunt, Esdon Lehn and Mike Linder were the event winners in their respected classes.  That breaks down to winners from these respective states: 2 Ohio, 1 Minnesota, 1 Indiana, 1 New York, and 1 Kentucky.  There were many great side stories and battles in the finals, but in my opinion the most exciting class of the evening was the Unlimited Super Stock class.  I am a straight shooter almost always, so it was no secret that I believed this class had gotten stale and was in need of a facelift.  The facelift came in the form of Neil Gettinger, Sjors Zienstra and Jordan Lustik in a pulloff.  We had the staple in the Silver Bullet (Lustik) representing AGCO, the veteran puller in a new place in Lesson's Learned (Gettinger) flying the red flag, and Sjors from the Netherlands carrying the banner of John Deere with his New Born Deere.  The excitement was flowing through Freedom Hall for this pulloff! 

The NFMS was great again this year!  There are certainly a few things that I would like to see changed but in the end, I was pleased as punch to be sitting in Freedom Hall watching the best pullers in the country fighting for bragging rights.

My next blog will be the top 10 moments/stories of the NFMS, where I hope to highlight some of the great achievements of the action packed week in Louisville!  Additionally, I will have a discussion of a few things that I noticed along the way.

The Photos that my brother Jeremy and I took are gradually being posted to the Miles Beyond 300 Facebook page, if you aren't following us please do so and help yourself to the pictures.  We are still learning but there are a few keepers in the pile! 


Thanks for Reading!

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