Feb 13, 2023
Saturday Afternoon Pull Previews
7,500lb 4x4 Super Stock Diesel Trucks
Only the best 4X4 diesel drivers dare to compete in Freedom Hall. The chilly temperatures can create a unique challenge for diesel trucks. It’s a balancing act to get the engine warm enough before running out of time. Van Hailsey, driving Rock Harm Ram, certainly fits the bill. Last year’s Grand Champion is a three-time National Farm Machinery Show winner earning titles in 2022, 2017 and 2011 knows how to beat the odds at the Championship Tractor Pull.
2022 runner-up, Kent Crowder behind the wheel of Scheid Diesel, also knows how to read the track and win in Freedom Hall. After winning in 2012 and coming close last year, Crowder is ready to try his hand at bringing home another title.
Those aren’t the only experienced drivers heading down the track. Both the third place truck, Brion Withrow with Nut Job 2, and fourth place truck, Chase Eller with Caretaker from last year, are back in the competition. Eller has a history of winning, earning a Grand Champion title in 2019. One more former champion vehicle, On Borrowed Time, driven to the 2015 Grand Champion spot by Shawn Hodge, is back vying for a second title with Aiden Hodge now at the wheel.
8,500lb Light Pro Stock
With competition like this, the Saturday afternoon pulling session is championship-caliber. The 8,500lb Light Pro Stock class features nine different points champions, two runner-ups and two past Championship Tractor Pull Grand Champions.
The 2022 Grand Champion, Adam Luhnow with One Bad Binder, is back after an excellent season where he finished second in points in the Indiana Pulling League. The 2018 Grand Champion, Kendall Beasley driving Hi-Gear Harvester, is also returning after finishing first in the Carolina Truck and Tractor Pullers points competition this past season.
The talented lineup of winners includes: Justin Grimes with Just Another Buck (Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pulling Association), Alan Cook with Black Thunder (National Tractor Pulling Association Region 3 and Wisconsin Tractor Pulling Association), Justin Hopkins with Just Getting’ Started (Champion Seed Western Series), Kevin Giddens with Defiant (Indiana Pulling League), Devin Riggin with The Bandit (Full Pull Productions), Fred Hoch with Never Enuff (East Coast Pro Pulling), Travis Tilton with Always $omething (National Tractor Pulling Association Region 2) and Mark Wiederhold with Bare Necessities (Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Silver Series).
6,400lb Lightweight Super Stock Alcohol Tractors
Let’s talk about talent. Filled with past champions and league points race winners, this class is a must-watch for any Lightweight Super Stock fan. Last year’s winner returns for another Battle of the Blackbourns. Terry Blackbourn is back behind the wheel of Armed & Dangerous Excessive Force. One of the most decorated drivers in Freedom Hall history, he’s won two Grand Champions in the 6,400lb Lightweight Super Stock Tractors class and three championships in the 8,000lb Super Stock Alcohol Class. He’ll be competing against last year’s second place tractor, Detonator Black, with a different talented driver behind the wheel. Adam Spiegelberg is coming off an excellent season where he won the NTPA Grand National points race.
The third place finisher from 2022, Josh Blackbourn and Considered Armed and Dangerous, returns for a family battle on the dirt of Freedom Hall.
The talent doesn’t stop there. Nine-time Illinois Tractor Pulling Association points champion Jacob Kesler behind the wheel of Night Shift is looking for his first Freedom Hall title. Two-time Grand Champion Jacob Fuqua with Tennessee Tracks and 2019 Grand Champion Larry Phillips round out a talented line-up of drivers for a competition that’s hard to beat.
10,200lb Pro Stock Tractors
With only a few hours to make adjustments or fix broken tractors, pulling on Saturday afternoon and advancing to the finals Saturday evening requires talent, teamwork and a little bit of luck. The drivers fortunate enough to advance from the Saturday afternoon Pro Stock Tractor class have to be ready.
Last year’s runner-up, Rampage driven by Danny Schmucker, comes off an excellent season where he won the NTPA Grand National points race. After last year’s trip to Freedom Hall, winning preliminaries and coming in second during the finals, he’s ready to take his talent to the winner’s circle.
Loud and Heavy X, driven by Michael Boyd is the third entry for the Simon Sez stable this year seeking a trip to the Saturday evening finals. Several previous Grand Champions, including Carlton Cope’s Warpath (2013), Steve Wischmeier (who won the title in 2010 on Barely Gettin’ By but driving Whiskey Wild in 2023), and Justin Wagler (2006 Super Farm Grand Champion) on the Real Deere Pro are also on the roster of potent competitors. The Badger State Tractor Pullers points champion, Blaine Stamm behind the wheel of Stammpede, is also looking for a title in Freedom Hall.