Truck pull draws crowd at Fair

FONDA – The smell of gasoline, exhaust and fried food mixed together Friday night as the 173rd Fonda Fair held its Four-Wheel Drive Outlaw Gas Truck Pull.

Twenty-four stock pickup trucks and 15 custom-made trucks were set to drag “Mr. Machine,” a colossal sled run by New Hampshire resident Larry Wilkens, in a contest to see who could drag the rig the farthest.

The sounds of revving engines and grinding metal periodically overtook the sounds from the rest of the fair, while exhaust fumes blew out of both Mr. Machine and the contestants trying to pull the massive sled.

Yurkewecz said he expected a good turnout for the event, citing the pleasant weather and the fact it was a Friday night.

The pits behind the front end of the track were filled with trucks. Along with trucks driven daily to work were custom jobs made specifically to pull heavy objects.

Contestants and those in the crowd gave a simple answer for why people came out to see the event: “Because it’s fun.”

Bobby Donnelly of Richfield Springs, Otsego County, and his truck Rolling Thunder were both set to compete in the custom category.

Donnelly said he got into the hobby due to his upbringing.

“I’ve always been into trucks, and all my friends were into trucks,” Donnelly said. “I’ve always liked competition.”

In 1981, Donnelly built his first pulling truck. He currently has more than 10 trucks he made over the years.

Ash Hazelton and his son, Joshua, of Amsterdam were both sitting in the bleachers Friday night, among the hundreds of spectators watching the truck pull.

“We try to come every year,” Ash Hazelton said.

“Because it’s awesome,” Joshua Hazelton said.

“You see the truck pull and the tractor pull, I don’t want to say it is relaxing, but it is entertaining. Where else can you go where its cheaper to get in and watch this kind of entertainment?” Ash Hazelton said.

Matt Marshall of Johnstown said he watched the truck pulls a couple of times and decided to try it.

Driving a cheap truck he purchased specifically for truck pulls, Marshall competed for the first time Friday, dragging the sled more than 240 yards.

“I don’t think it’s too bad,” Marshall said.

Matt Seamon of West Winfield, Herkimer County, who has been competing for 12 years, said his father was a big inspiration to him, helping him get into the truck pulls.

“I’ve been doing this since I was 10 years old,” Seamon said,

The Fonda Fair continues through Monday.