September 1, 2014

Fair introducing antique tractor pull

Tim Barnum
Amanda Miller poses for a photo next to her Angus steer, Buddy, who she will be selling in this year' livestock auction on Thursday night during the fair.
TIm Barnum
Brian Wenkel, 18, sits atop a 1957 John Deere 520, attached to a dray. Brian says he will participate in the antique tractor pull.
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By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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ARENAC COUNTY — It’s only a matter of weeks before the Arenac County Fair and an antique tractor pull is being rolled out on Wednesday night at this year’s fair to draw more attention to the fair’s grandstand activities.

According to Arenac County Fair Board member Bob Stein, the tractor pull requires tractors be dated 1957 or older.

“It’s going to get the older farmer to come to the fair and say ‘I had a tractor like that and I loved it,’” Bob said. “The average age of a tractor (owned by a farmer or collector) is over 20 years old.”

He says the area has already gotten behind the antique tractor pull in providing the dray, which is what the tractor pulls, and providing weights to place on the dray.

“This one (dray in photo) was made in the metals class at Pinconning High School,” Bob said. “Arquette’s (Concrete, Standish) are making weights for it.”

Hopefully, he added, the community will continue to support the antique tractor pull and county fair as a whole.

“We’d like to think it’s (antique tractor pull) something that can get the community involved,” Bob said. “We’re desperate for new things to make money.”

According to Bob, the state of Michigan is pulling out of fair premium support, meaning the Arenac County Fair is losing approximately $11,000 of annual state matching funds.

Marilyn Stein, Bob’s wife who is also a fair board member, says the state matched premium funds invested by the board for fairground improvements.

“Our new buildings were all built with matching monies,” she said, adding the horse barn, small animal barn and fairgrounds’ grandstand are all relatively new structures funded in part by state funds.

Marilyn also says a new feature introduced last year, a senior citizen program that includes games, music and lunch, will return this year on Thursday morning during the fair, which runs July 21-15.

“We’ve added more to it (senior citizen program),” Marilyn said, adding last year about 40 people participated in the event. “We’re hoping this year it’ll be at least double that.”

Bob added that fair staples, such as the livestock auction on Thursday night the week of the fair, will also continue this year.

For a list of more fair events, check the Arenac County Fair book.

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