Tractor Pulling Thompson

EHS Senior Jake Thompson dives into detail about his love for tractor pulling.


Photo Courtesy of Jake Thompson

Jake Thompson prepares to pull in a competition. The EHS senior has won prize money from placing at multiple competitions.

Jack Otterberg, Reporter

   Of the many activities students partake in outside of Elkhorn High School, tractor pulling is not the most common.  However, Senior Jake Thompson has mastered the sport. 

     For those who are not familiar with the activity, Thompson has a simple description.

     “It’s basically a competition with tractors where there’s certain weight classes and classes for your tractor and you hook it on a sled and pull it down the track, and whoever goes the furthest wins,” Thompson said.

     However, the activity itself takes more effort than one may think.  

     “If you’re in a more high-dollar class, there’s certain rules you have to follow, like engine displacement, size of fuel pump, turbo, et cetera. You have to work on your tractor and make sure it’s following the rules, and you’re not cheating,” Thompson said.  

      The difficulty of tractor pulling  also relies on timing and strength.

      “You just have to know what you’re doing.  The one I pull, there’s a transmission you shift down at the end, so you have to get it at a good time. If you shift too soon, you’re not going to go as far.  If you shift too late, that’s as far as you’re going, you don’t have enough power to come out of it.  And then, you just have to be able to throw weights, because your classes are separated by how much your tractor weighs,  so you have 100 pound weights you hang on the front of them,” Thompson said.

      To add on to the load, Thompson pulls in two classes.

     “I come in the light class, it probably has five weights on it.  Then I come back in, throw 2,000 more pounds on, then I go back out,” Thompson said.  

     However, Thompson receives help with carrying such physical burdens. 

     “I pull with a lot of friends and stuff.  I’m not throwing 2,000 [pounds] myself, everyone grabs weights and throws it on.  And some guys I go pulling with, I go over there, and grab weights, and throw them on their tractor,” Thompson said.  

     Thompson has always had a passion for tractor pulling, starting with pulling lawn mowers. He began pulling tractors two years ago at the age of 15, and has awards to prove his skill.  

     “Most competitions take place at county fairs,” Thompson said.

     “I got third place this year, and got prize money for it, and last year I went down to Wahoo and in both classes I got second, so I got pretty good prize money from that too,” Thompson said.

     His motives behind winning are clear.

     “It’s fun, and when you do good you win money, and a trophy sometimes,” Thompson said.

     And the fun could continue for a while, as Thompson mentioned that tractor pulling is a lifelong activity.  

    “There’s no age limit, so you can do it as much as you want.  There’s super young kids that pull, there’s really old people that pull,” Thompson said.  

    And that camaraderie could be key in attracting those who are interested in pulling, Thompson suggested.  

    “Come check it out.  Watch and learn from the others that are going,” Thompson said.

     Thompson’s success in tractor pulling amounts to his passion and dedication for the sport, and he has one particular kind of tractor he loves to beat.

     “My favorite part is beating the green tractors.”

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