Just this spring, the Washington Country Fairgrounds were underwater.
“And you'd never know it now,” the public address announcer said Saturday evening during the Rumble in the Dirt Tractor Pull.
Fittingly, the Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pulling Association pledged money from their Arlington event's apparel sales —and freewill donations — to the Orphan Grain Chain. The Norfolk-based Christian organization works nationwide to share resources with those in need and those devastated by natural disasters, according to the Outlaw website.
“The Orphan Grain Train will use these donations for the relief of families devastated by the flood waters by purchasing water, food, flood relief supplies, building materials, etc.,” the press release said. “(One-hundred percent) of your donation will go towards helping families affected by recent floods.”
The first tractor pull of the Outlaw season also helps fund Arlington Youth Sports and the Arlington FFA Chapter. Athletes and students met with event sponsors prior to the first pull inside the arena to recognize them.
Then, the Rumble in the Dirt got started — after a few misfires.
On the first pull attempt, a tractor did a wheelie, slammed down hard and had to be removed from the arena. The announcer's hypothesis was that the tractor's front spindle had been damaged.
A late-arriving crowd had even more time to reach its seats when technical malfunctions with the measuring equipment caused another delay. Outlaw officials got things running again quickly, though they opted to keep a measuring tape nearby.
Though pulling was slow to start — in the first event of the season — the results started rolling in strong for local talent. Billy Ruwe of Blair won the first class with his pull in the Buck Wild tractor before Ground Force and Tim Dunklau of Arlington won the next, topping Roger Ruwe of Herman among others.
As the event went on, the announcer continually gave credit to locals who helped make sure the Washington County Fairgrounds were ready for pulling action. To give back, Outlaw raised their own contribution to Orphan Grain Chain flood relief through the Arlington event and tonight's — and Friday's — Ravenna tractor pulls.