Ah, summer in the Southern Tier. The breeze is warm, the sun is shining … the season is in full swing. The hustle and bustle of our vibrant downtown areas, as well as the smells of barbeques and fresh cut grass all remind us why we live in this amazing corner of the world. But there’s one sound that you either find it oddly soothing or insanely invasive during those normally relaxing Sunday evenings … it is the roar of a lawnmower, the summer anthem of communities everywhere!
Fresh off the wildly successful ‘Hillbilly NASCAR’ lawn tractor races hosted by the Rotary Club here in Ellicottville, we here at The Summer Local set out to find out what other forms of lawn tractor entertainment the region has to offer. Alas, we discovered the Southern Tier Mini Tractor Pullers, an exciting club specializing in - you guessed it - garden tractor pulling!
The STMTP club was started over ten years ago by a group of local lawn tractor enthusiasts who had come from pulling and racing backgrounds. After a neighboring club folded due to the unfortunate death of their founder, the current regime vowed to keep the fun and excitement alive in the form of the STMTP club. The premise was simple: accessible, family fun, based on the idea that we ALL have, at one time or another, wished our lawnmower would go faster, turn sharper, and pull more!
So now that we’ve piqued your curiosity, here are the basics behind the STMTP club. First of all, this club is probably one of the only clubs that is literally ALL ages. Riders as young as 4, and as seasoned as 70 climb aboard their machines, across their youth, stock 1, 2 & altered, sportsman, modified and V8 classes. Yes you read that correctly - a V8 powered lawnmower. Essentially, anything goes (less a few safety regulations) provided the engine is under 2300cc’s.
Back to the aforementioned 70-year-old … not only does John Willis pull, he plays host at one of the most frequently visited venues, named ‘Jack’s Track’ located across from Route 241 in Randolph on Swamp Road. These riders compete mostly for fun, the occasional trophy, and the hope that more will come from around the area to check out their events, as well as to participate. In speaking to a few members of the club, they want to reassure anyone who is interested that this is all about affordable, country, family fun, with everyone out to help one another enjoy the event. Most events take a few hours to get through the approximately 25 pullers who attend, and all are a reasonably short drive away.
With a longstanding tradition, coupled with their closely-knit pulling community, the STMTP club is most certainly something yourself or your family should make an effort to check out one of these weekends. With pulls in Randolph, McKean County, Otto and Ellington, as well as plans to expand to fairs next year such as the Cattaraugus County Fair in Little Valley, it’s as accessible as can be, both as a participant or a spectator. (The STMTP club will host an event at this month’s McKean County Fair!) Each stop has a concession stand, as well as an Amish quilt raffle & 50/50 raffles to help raise funds towards the operation of the club. Simply bring your lawn chair and get ready for some good times. If you’re interested in learning more about the club, being a sponsor, or have a place for the STMTP to put on an exhibition, contact Sara Krotz at 716-244-2149. You can also find them on Facebook under ‘Southern Tier Mini Tractor Pullers’ where a complete schedule, photos, and interactions from club members can be found. Give ‘em a like, and check out all that this great crew has to offer!