Remembering the voice of the championship Tractor Pull, Butch Krieger

Published: February 13, 2023 Updated: December 6, 2023

While there have been a host of announcers who taken to the floor of Freedom Hall to announce at the National Farm Machinery Show Championship Tractor Pull, none endured nor has been more identified with the event than Walter “Butch” Krieger. Sadly, Butch departed from us on November 25th, 2022 after a brief illness. Those of us with the Championship Tractor Pull take this time to reflect not only on his imprint on this event, but on the pulling community across the nation. Krieger began announcing in the 1977 at a truck pull in his hometown of Greenville, Indiana. His talents would take notice from Tom Carter of TNT Motorsports, leading to a career that saw him announce in stadiums across the nation in the “Golden Years” of truck and tractor pulling. That work opened the door to likely his most recognizable position, as a voice of the Championship Tractor Pull in 1980. Butch initially worked with farm broadcaster Jack Crowner and Lloyd Douglas and stepped into the lead announcer position in 1988 after Crowner and Douglas retired. As the lead announcer of the CTP, notable voices in the motorsports world like Scott Douglas, Army Armstrong, the late Frank Scott, and Harold Walliser (who sadly passed in 2022 also) would be at Butch’s side along the way. When Butch retired from the CTP in 2019, the announcing team included Dave Bennett and Dan Mayer. With his many accolades as announcer of the Championship Tractor Pull, Krieger’s reach extended across the nation and multiple sanctioning bodies. Butch was an enduring voice at a host of events, including the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green, Ohio; the Lions Super Pull of the South in Chapel Hill, Tennessee; and America’s Pull in Henry, Illinois. Butch also announced events for one of his other motorsport’s loves, drag racing, at Ohio Valley Raceway in Louisville, Kentucky. Because of his legendary body of work, Butch was inducted into the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2012 and the National Tractor Pulling Championships Hall of Fame in August of 2022.   Pullers, fans, and promoters across the country have a host of memories of Butch. Mike Whitt, member of the Championship Tractor Pull committee offered thoughts about how he skillfully promoted the sport. “Butch was a great ambassador to the sport of truck and tractor pulling as a salesman,” said Whitt. “He would announce at an event like Bowling Green, Ohio and sell them on attending the Farm Show in Louisville…it didn’t matter which sanctioning body it was or event he was at, he would promote and sell upcoming events.” Scott Douglas commented, “When it comes to truck and tractor pulling announcers Butch Krieger is the GOAT. Period. But he was an even greater human being. One of the nicest, most giving people I’ve ever met. Butch was my mentor at TNT in both pulling and monster truck announcing, and I learned so much from him in how to get a crowd excited and highlight the competitors. To have had the opportunity to have a microphone in my hand standing next to Butch in Freedom Hall as his co-host for several years at the iconic NFMS Championship pulls are some of the most special memories of my career.” Dave Bennett shared a memory from 2013. “Butch knew when to get a crowd involved...he picked the right time. The night when Carlton Cope (Warpath Massey Ferguson Pro Stock) was in a red versus green battle (in the Saturday night finals) we talked about how picture-perfect that would be (a red versus green pulloff) and it played out just like a script…and he (Butch) said, ‘let’s get this crowd going.’ Me, being the AGCO/red guy, I took the red (leading the red chant) and Butch took the green. All we did was just provide the chants for the crowd and the pullers got them going. We talked after the pull, (which Cope won) it was the loudest that building has ever been.” Current Championship Tractor Pull announcer and pulling historian Dan Mayer would add, “(Butch) was a mentor; he laid the path for all of us who announce today in the sport. It was an honor to work with him at the Championship Tractor Pull and other events. Above all he was a true professional.” Butch announced his last event in September of 2022 for the Pro Pulling League in Lanesville, Indiana, with the energy and enthusiasm for engaging the crowd that everyone who encountered him grew to know and love. While his passing leaves many with a tremendous sense of loss, his legacy lives on through all those whose lives he touched. Butch leaves behind his family and a host of friends across his many motorsports interests who carry on his memory. A new generation of announcers, including his sons Miles and Jeremy, carry the torch onward to entertain and inform pulling fans, preserving his legacy as the sport’s most identifiable voice. Thank you Butch for your voice, and for being the voice of Championship Tractor Pull. Photos courtesy of Dan Mayer