Tractor pull roars to life, draws crowd

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Robbie 'Gooserooter' Shefford is reaching out to people in the community wanting to talk, help and support themselves and others dealing with mental health issues.

Scores of tractors and hundreds of spectators attended the Canterbury Tractor Pull Club’s inaugural fun event at Mayfield A&P Showgrounds last weekend.

It was run as an event on the Wheels Week Plus programme.

The two day tractor pull, which saw the second day canned due to wet conditions, was the brainchild of many helpers involved with the Mayfield A&P Show tractor pull.

Action from day one of the Canterbury Tractor Pull Club’s inaugural tractor pull at Mayfield. PHOTO: BAILEY CHAMBERS PHOTOGRAPHY

Robbie Shefford and a dedicated team took on a challenge of building a sliding weight transfer sled, the biggest of its style in New Zealand.

The sled was built on a volvo truck chassis, with bits from a wheeled digger, aircraft loading truck through to a engine from a generator.

A Southland fan of tractor pull said it would take two years to build, Robbie said.

Yet Robbie found time between a driving gig for Roger Smith Contracting at the wheel of a twin stack Bulldog Mack and doing his own health works with Matrix Mental Health Talks’; there were also “two buggared knees”.

It was built in seven months.

Robbie said despite a few teething issues at the tractor pull event – including a deluge of overnight rain – it was still a great success.

“It worked out as a really good event.”

Action from day one of the Canterbury Tractor Pull Club’s inaugural tractor pull at Mayfield. PHOTO: BAILEY CHAMBERS PHOTOGRAPHY

There was a big turnout of people to support those involved, including stallholders, food and beverage sellers along with a bouncy castle and little Jeep rides for kids, he said.

During the tractor pull there was plenty of action with a few engine failures, some big wheelies and a temporary breakdown of the sled, which called for some Kiwi ingenuity and the team work to get up and running again.

Drivers came from far and wide to participate and ran a range of makes and models including six highly modified tractors, a 1937 Lanz Bulldog through to the latest model 942 Fent, owned by TAC Contracting and driven by Robbie’s son in-law Glen Francis.

It is one of the biggest Fent’s in New Zealand, Robbie said.

Action from day one of the Canterbury Tractor Pull Club’s inaugural tractor pull at Mayfield. PHOTO: BAILEY CHAMBERS PHOTOGRAPHY

We had around 25 tractors have a go on day one, he said.

Each tractor got four to six runs each trying to hit a 100 metre distance pull target.

“It was a cracker,” and the sled stopped every tractor, Robbie said.

Overnight rain hit the foothills and by the tractor pull’s scheduled 9am start on day two, the ground was considered too wet to proceed.

Tractor pull was becoming a popular sport again and the plan was to have more specific modified weekend events, Robbie said.

He looked forward to confirming future events and thanked all those who help make the weekend possible.

Above and below: Action from day one of the Canterbury Tractor Pull Club’s inaugural tractor pull at Mayfield. PHOTOS: BAILEY CHAMBERS PHOTOGRAPHY