It’s almost time for dairy days and fair season – and that means tractor pulls. The Wisconsin Tractor Pullers Association’s first event of the season is June 11. But president Kurt Afdahl says planning has been taking place since December.
WTPA recently bought a video scoreboard for replays, placings and standings. The organization can also now show commercials for sponsors, pictures and videos. It’s one way of giving the fans something to see and keeping them engaged in between pullers, Afdahl explains.
He says membership is looking good going into the summer with at least seven new teams signing on with WTPA. In addition to new teams, Afdahl is welcoming new generations into the association. His daughter will be taking the wheel this summer, and many of the kids she grew up with in tractor pulling are taking on new roles within their family teams.
Shifting the discussion to supply chain and inflationary pressures, Afdahl says the price of fuel as a challenge for tractor pullers has yet to be seen. He gives Kwik Trip a shoutout for being a sponsor of WTPA. As far as getting parts for both the pulling tractor and equipment, that’s been a question for everyone – both availability and shipping time. Afdahl says his team is sitting well, but that’s not the same story for other competitors in the WTPA.
Reflecting on 2020, Afdahl says it was a blow to cancel events due to COVID-19. But 2021 brought large crowds, and WTPA saw more hits on their social media pages. He says they’ve hired four new faces to work on social media, the website and the new video board.
Looking ahead to 2022, Afdahl is predicting a good tractor pulling season. He expects bleachers to be full this year. WTPA’s first event is on June 11 in Ellsworth.