Fair tractor pull draws local families

    Date? Family reunion? Father-son day? All that and more happens at the fair’s tractor pull.

    Posted on July 24, 2014 at 7:45 p.m.

    Tractor pull day at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair is a family tradition held by many.

    It’s the one day that Goshen couple Brent and Barb Lewallen, for example, take a break from Brent’s Elkhart County Chiropractic booth and take time to enjoy the fair, according to their daughter Morgan Lewallen.

    “My parents have been coming to the tractor pull as their date day for a few years now,” she said, sitting in the grandstands early Thursday with her boyfriend, Tom Nowak. “This year, they wanted us to come out and do a double date.”

    For Morgan and Tom, who have been dating five years, the tractor pull’s draw is less about the tractors and more about spending a breezy summer day socializing with family.

    After they’d been in the grandstands for a while, the couple was joined by Morgan’s brother Brandan, who had just arrived from his home in Fort Wayne the night before.

    Later, Brent and Barb arrived.

    Both come from farming backgrounds, Brent said, and they chose tractor pull day as their day off because it’s what they enjoy.

    The Freeman family, from Mishawaka and Bremen, have visited the Elkhart County 4-H Fair tractor pull each year for about 20 years.

    Brothers Monty, Marty and Mark Freeman sat next to their mother, Elnora Freeman and Monty’s two sons, Dalton, 12, and Dillon, 9, in the grandstands Thursday.

    They like the event because it’s the only big tractor pull in the area, they said.

    “We are all farmers,” Elnora explained. “This is kind of a family thing we do every year.”

    Both the younger Freeman boys also show cows in 4-H, and their favorite thing to do at the fair is a toss-up between the cows and the tractors.

    “I’m more of a cow guy,” Dalton admitted. “But I do like the antique tractors.”

    Over in a different section of the grandstands, Scott Mingus and his 15-year-old son Brent quietly observe the tractors, occasionally commenting to each other about the machine’s performance.

    They are from Sturgis, Michigan and Thursday was the second time they’ve traveled to Elkhart County for the fair’s tractor pull.

    “There’s not too many pulls that go till 10 or 11 in our area,” Scott said. “It’s pretty unique, I think.”

    And for a father-son outing, it’s also pretty cheap entertainment, he added.

    “It was just 16 bucks for the two of us,” he said,

    Thursday’s event started at 8 a.m. with the farm stock tractor pull, then continued throughout the day with the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League tractor and truck pull.

    Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks

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