Bryan Prewitt called it a national holiday.
Prewitt, a native of Tampico, Indiana, was over the moon about being back at the 55th annual Grassy Fork Volunteer Fire Department Truck and Tractor Pull and Fish Fry.
Last year, the event was canceled due to COVID-19. It was just the second time in its history that it had to be canceled — the first time was one year where it rained all weekend and it couldn’t be held.
There was threat of rain this weekend, especially Friday night and Saturday, but nothing prevented this three-day event from taking place this past weekend.
“I’m thankful we have it. Not having it last year with COVID put a real damper on things,” Prewitt said. “This is sort of like a national holiday for a lot of us around here. We’re thankful we get to have it, and it makes a good bit of money for the fire department to help service everybody around here.”
The fish was frying and the engines were revving as thousands of people gathered at the fire department in Tampico all three days to partake in the festivities.
Admission and parking were both free for everyone in attendance, but money from the food and drinks being served went to the fire department.
“They just ask that you buy a fish sandwich, and I think that’s one of the coolest things around and it still draws 10,000 of your closest friends,” Prewitt said.
Kyle Warren, one of the organizers for the event, was also pleased to have it back this year.
“It was a tough decision from last year not being able to have it,” Warren said.
Warren claims the fish sandwiches are what they’re known for, and although the tractor pull is the top attraction, he thinks a lot of people come for the fish as well.
The fish is already breaded when they get it, but Warren and company fry it at the venue and throw it on a bun to serve. The homemade pies are also a big deal. Warren says “we got everything” for all the types of pies they serve.
The one new thing from last weekend’s event was they sold fish sandwiches on the other side of the track for the first time ever.
“Trying to make it more convenient for people (who sit on the other side) so they don’t have to walk all the way around,” Warren said.
“This weekend is usually our fish sandwich weekend,” said Chad Darlage, who was driving a red and gray tractor called “Show Time.”
Darlage is from Seymour and said his dad started tractor pulling when he was 18 years old. His dad is 69 now, so pulling has been a tradition in the family for over 50 years.
The Darlage crew was happy to be back competing and enjoying the environment in Tampico.
“It’s just a place where you can talk to people you haven’t talked to in forever,” Darlage said. “It’s a family-oriented event basically.”
There were a number of competitions throughout the three days as well.
On Thursday, there was a pedal tractor pull for kids. On Friday, there was the 11,500-pound open farm tractors, followed by hot farm tractors, limited pro stock tractors and pro stock tractors. The last three events were sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League.
On Saturday, there was the 12,000-pound farm stock tractors operating at 10 mph, 12,000-pound farm stock tractors operating at 14 mph and 8,000-pound open diesel trucks.
The Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League sanctioned two of those events: Hot farm tractors as a part of the league’s Midwest Regional and pro stock tractors for the league’s Champions Tour.
All in all, it was a great turnout all three days in Tampico with smiling faces and towering tractors filling the field.
“I think it’s really good for the community,” Warren said. “It’s a free event. We don’t charge admission. Just something we try to do for the community. I think everybody after the pandemic wanted to get out and do something. It’s been nice to put it on again.”
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Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League results from Friday: Green with Envy (Dennie Brown from Clay, KY) 306.47; Loud & Heavy (Brandon Simon from Farley, IA) 301.84; Loud & Loaded (Simon) 299.05; Tinker Toy (Darrly Folz from Grandview, IN) 292.07; Young Blood (Braden Shramek from Williamsburg, MO) 283.23; Revvalation Pro (John Link from Hereford, TX) 282.03; Buck Eater 2 (Mickey Shorter from Sullivan, IN) 281.31; Trailblazer (Travis Kuhns from Arthur, IL) 281.13; Money on Black (Kevin Masterson from Grandview, IN) 278.68; River Rat (Masteron) 276.53; Whiskey Wild (Steve Wischmeier from Brownstown, IN) 274.3; Barely Getting Bye (Jack Wischmeier from Brownstown, IN) 260.89; The Edge of Sundown (Josh Miley from Francisco, IN) 259.52; Rollin Stone (Tim Stone from Greensburg, IN) 68.82.
Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League results from Saturday: Loud & Heavy (Simon) 311.54; Tinker Toy (Folz) 304.5; Money on Black (Masterson) 291.33; Young Blood (Shramek) 290.3; Green with Envy (Brown) 289.5; The Edge of Sundown (Miley) 288.56; Trailblazer (Kuhns) 283.11; Revvalation Pro (Link) 279.21; Whiskey Wild (Steve Wischmeier) 265.1; Buck Eater 2 (Shorter) 263.31; Loud & Loaded (Simon) 186.44; Barely Getting Bye (Jack Wischmeier) 1.21; River Rat (Masterson) DNH; Rollin Stone (Stone) DNH.