Our coverage on tractor pulling safety continues as we spoke with a driver and saw how they make sure it’s as safe as possible.
We were able to see everything from the protective equipment that the drivers wear, to the different parts of the tractor.
We also learned about what guidelines are in place for these events.
Tractor pulling is going on at many of the fairs in the commonwealth and with big machines comes big risks, but local puller Steve Mundrick says it’s safer than a lot of other competitions.
“I think it’s one of the safest sports, motorsports out there. You’re going down a 300-foot track by yourself, you’re not being banged around by another vehicle.”
He said he feels like tractor pulling has gotten a bad reputation after the tragic incident at the Union County West End Fair last week, where a Somerset County woman was hit and killed by a broken piece of an exhaust from a vehicle participating in the fair.
Mundrick showed us the different parts of the tractor that are there to prevent such tragedies.
“As you can see on this tractor here, there are side shields on both sides to keep everything from flying out of the tractor.”
He also said that all spectators are seated at least 100 feet away and he even showed some of the safety equipment that the drivers wear.
“For the most part, that’s my buddy (points to helmet). I don’t have enough brains to give any away.”
Mundrick has been pulling since 1976. He knows the risks and says that tractor puller clubs across the state are always working to make it safer.
He also said that they have meetings every month to discuss these types of safety concerns and noted that he himself did not always realize how important these new rules were.
“Years ago, I would have been the person that when they made us wear a helmet, I was one of the first people that stood up and walked out of the meeting and I fought and carried on, but you know, I got older.”
Mundrick says his two sons and daughter-in-law are all pulling now. He said the whole tractor pulling community is like one big family.
Mundrick added that his two tractors, ‘Fat Boys Toy’ and ‘Stripes,’ will be at the Grange Fair on Saturday night.
He also added that he feels like tractor pulling is only getting safer with new technology.