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Tractor pull draws crowds to fairgrounds in Inverness

Organizers declare the event's debut a success after 2,000 people attend on Saturday and 1,200 Sunday. Competitors came from across Florida and other states.

A large crowd showed up for two days of tractor pulling at the Citrus County Fairgrounds, marking a successful debut for the event.

About 2,000 people came Saturday and a smaller crowd of about 1,200 people attended the tractor pull on Sunday, according to organizers.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the community support," said Jean Grant, manager of the Citrus County Fair and fair board member.

The county fair board organized the fundraiser. Grant said the money will be used to make repairs to the fairgrounds and fund the scholarships the organization gives out to high school seniors.

For the uninitiated, a tractor pull consists of regular and vintage farm tractors attempting to pull a weighted, mechanized sled.

The sled bears a large weight which slides up an incline toward the tractor, making it harder to pull. Pulling the sled past the finish line is a "full pull."

Tractor owners came from all parts of Florida and even from other states to compete in the pull.

Several tractors easily made the full pull, while others faltered.

"You should have seen Charlie Dean on Saturday," said fair board director Bill Hoppert, referring to his friend and former county sheriff. "He pulled about a foot."

Local tractor aficionado Dale Wilder showed off his Farmall and John Deere tractors. Wesley Smith traveled from Wisconsin to participate.

Tractor pulling is an organized sport, with major events taking place in just about every state, Smith said.

The local economy also benefited from the tractor pull. Area motels, such as the Central Motel in Inverness and the Best Western in Citrus Hills reported increased occupancy from tractor pull participants.