Competition and camaraderie bring drivers to truck pull

FONDA – The roar of engines briefly overtook the sound of celebrations at the Fonda Fair on Friday night as drivers competed in the Four-Wheel Drive Outlaw Gas Truck Pull.

More than 30 competitors were scheduled to compete Friday night, tugging a rig known as “Mr. Machine” to see who would drag the object the farthest. Trucks, both specialized vehicles and those right off the street, lined up around the Fonda Speedway waiting for their opportunity to pull the rig.

Bill Yurkewecz, the organizer of the pull, said the competitors had separate pulls throughout the fair.

“We had 16 [competitors] last night, and we have 40 [Friday]” Yurkewecz said.

With 30 competitors set to go Friday night, Yurkewecz said he was pleased with the turnout.

“It is nice, very nice,” Yurkewecz said. “Everything is running smooth.”

Yurkewecz said crowds love the noise and the dust generated by the pulls, as well as seeing local competitors put their rigs to the test.

Many of the trucks were larger models that had been modified or weighted down in certain areas.

Many of the contestants were in the pit, talking with friends and family or preparing their ride before their pull.

“It’s just the camaraderie,” Yurkewecz said.

Many of the trucks sported special names, such as Old Blue, or family names. Regardless of the name, some drivers take the pull seriously and compete often

“We all go to different fairs, and they say Fonda is one of the best,” Yurkewecz said.

Tom Proctor, who won an earlier pull against Yurkewecz, both rode around and worked behind the scenes at the pull. Proctor said he came in first against his friend, Yurkewecz.

“It felt great,” Proctor said.

“[Winning] always feels great,” Yurkewecz replied.

Ethan Fervan of Yorktown Heights, Westchester?County, was a first time competitor in the pull. Fervan said he thought he would give it a try after talking with friends.

Bringing his 1996 Chevy 250, a truck he uses every day, he was not too confident in his chances.

“This is my daily drive, so I’m not trying to break anything,” he said.

Rick Cole of Fort Edward said he comes to pulls whenever he can, competing in the Washington County Fair and others. Pulling at 214 feet on Friday, Cole was pleased with the result.

“The second pull was a lot better than the first,” Cole said.

Larry Johnson and his son, Dustin, of Gloversville said they came to the start of the tractor pull after attending the fair.

“It’s just the fair, the fun,” Larry Johnson said. “It’s not too bad, it will get better as the night goes on.”

“It is loud,” Dustin Johnson said. “I think it is pretty cool. There is not much going on right now, but once it gets started it gets pretty cool.”