DARKE COUNTY — A little bit of competition, a little bit of fun. That’s what the National Champions Tour of the Seventh Annual Ohio State Benefit Pull will offer this year.
The benefit supports the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Dates are Friday and Saturday at the Darke County Fairgrounds, starting at 6:30 p.m. both nights in front of the Grandstand in the infield. Folks may sit in the grandstands, bring their own chairs or sit in bleachers in the infield.
The Friday competition features two pulling tracks for Super Modified tractors, Unlimited Super Stocks, Light/Limited Pro Stocks, SMFWD Trucks and the Pro Stock Semis. On Saturday night the Super Modified, Pro Stock, Unlimited Super Stock and SS Diesel Trucks.
“We are the promoters of the Lukus Oil Pro Pulling League,” said Doris Barga of the Barga Family Farms. Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League sanctions the Championship Pull at The Great Darke County Fairgrounds. The Barga Family has been involved in tractor pulling for nearly 50 years, too. “The Barga Family are grain and poultry farmers in Darke County and have been sponsoring this. It will be the seventh year.”
The tractor classes consists of members from the Pulling League who travel throughout the country participating in summer pulling events.
Darrick Barga will drive “The Judge Next Generation” tractor, and the team is sponsored by iON Camera Unlimited Super Stock. The iON camera records from overhead safety cage he sits in while driving. Darrick is the youngest son of Ron and Doris Barga, and the family is bringing back The Judge name after four years with the Apache. Prepping The Judge included sharpening 30.5 inch tires, he said.
“This is the modified Class. It’s all custom built from the front to the end,” Darrick said, adding that The Judge is the only turbine tractor in its class of 8,000 pounds and 9,400 horse power. Classes are categorized by horse power and weight.
The Barga Crew includes crew chief Ron Barga II, team manager Randy Barga, engine specialist Brad Barga and chief engineer Galen Barga.
Team history include winning in its class in 2011 and 2012, Darrick said.
“Dad (Ron Barga I) started the 1968 Pontiac GTO Judge that was also orange and black,” Darrick said. He said tractor pulling started because the guys wanted more horse power. They’d fuel it up to make more power and use fuels like kerosene and methane alcohol.
Ron I added that the difference from his first tractor, a WD Allis Chalmers, had 45 horse power, while The Judge has 9,400 horse power. The National Champions Tour will be televised during the winter on Sundays in Greenville on MAVTV at 3, 6 and 9 p.m. Ron I is expected to drive the 4000 hp- International Harvester DT 466 for the benefit.
Just for fun and new this year open to the public is the ATV/Golf Cart “Run whatya brung” Pull Saturday at 1 p.m. It is open to the first 40 entries and a $20 fee.
“They pull a small sled,” Doris said. “It’s something that people can bring and it’s small. Just something to have fun.”
The National Kiddie Pedal Pull is for kids aged 4 to 10 years old. It is also on Saturday with sign ups at 3:30 p.m. and a start of 4 p.m. in front of the grandstands.
Also new this year are the pits open to general admission, as well as a $25 weekend pass. Tickets for each day are $20 and kids 12 and younger enter for free. The fairgrounds also have overnight camping sites.
In the last six years, the pull raised more than $50,000 for JDRF, helps create awareness and is a worthwhile project, Doris said.
“My husband and I have four grandchildren who have the diabetes,” she added. The event has drawn about 2,500 people each night in the past.
“I was concerned because of the economy that it would be tough on the businesses for their support and when we go in and ask for donations, they are with us 100 percent. Of course we lose a few and gain a few. I do want them to know we are really appreciative.”
The Barga’s are grateful for the following businesses supporting the benefit: Ag Protect 1, Bayer Crop Science, Greenville National Bank, Pohl Transportation Inc., Mote Farm Service, Channel Seed, C&C Ag Carriers, Eldora Speedway, Apple Farm Services, Ansonia Lumber Company, The Meat Shop, TruPointe, Troy Ford, The Andersons, Kenn-Feld Group, Menke Consulting Inc., Wayne Oil, North Star Hardware & Implement, North Star Plumbing, Ohio Crankshaft/Stan Ray & Sons, RB Cox Insurance, Shook Tool, Veterinary Service & Supply, Lyme Seed Service Inc., Rowland Truck & Equipment Inc., Silveus Financial, LLC, Crop Star Consulting, Inc., Cooper Farms, Fertilizer Dealer Supply Inc., Weaver Bros., Diversified Insurance Service, Ansonia Auto Parts, Muhlenkamp & Associates LLC, Leis Realty, the Whistle Stop, Edwin F. Nickol Monument Inc and Tiger Country 97.5.
“We keep it a family affair to have the kids 12 and under enter for free,” Doris said. Plus a $5 off coupon will still be available at Dollar General for the 2014 event, make sure to visit the 12 participating DG Stores.
“First of all, I think they come because they enjoy tractor pulling, and they may have juvenile diabetes in their family. Some just enjoy the tractor pulls,” Doris said. “We put on a good show and hold a T-shirt toss. We start at 6:30 p.m. and end at 10 to 10:30 p.m. It’s a three to four hour show.”
“It’s the biggest thing we’re most proud of,” Darrick said. “All proceeds go to JDRF.”