Souped-Up Mowers in Tractor Pull Help Hopkins’ Child Cancer Unit
The Anne Arundel County Fair started on Wednesday, and because the fair is celebrating its 60th year, there will be fireworks and other celebrations staged in the area where the tractor pull competition usually takes place. According to Clyde Schuyler, they will still conduct a pull this year, but they will do it at the track in Dunkirk on Saturday (Sept. 15). In addition, it will be a fundraising pull to raise money for Johns Hopkins Hospital.
This is the seventh year for the Craig Beck Leukemia/Johns Hopkins Benefit Pull, which raises money for the pediatric oncology unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Tractor pulling involves taking a lawnmower, your everyday riding mower, and attempting to pull 3,000 pounds in the form of a steel sled that is hitched to the tractor. Whoever pulls the farthest, wins. There are several classes of mower, based on horsepower (minimum 16 HP to maximum 24HP class), the kind of tires and whether the mower has been modified (stock or altered class). In all there are 16 classes.
The Chesapeake Garden Tractor Pullers group hosts these pulls once a month starting in April. Their final pull of the season will be October 6. Each year they take one of their pulls to the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds. Each year they make one of the pulls a fundraiser for the hospital. This year, the group was invited to come to the fair on Sunday, but Schuyler said that wouldn’t work out with everyone’s schedules.
They will return to the county fair in Crownsville in 2013, he said.
Schuyler said that they had been doing tractor pulls when his grandson was diagnosed with leukemia. He said that his daughter was driving back and forth for treatments and the costs were adding up. So they decided to turn one of the pulls into a fundraiser. After three years, and with his grandson’s cancer in remission, his daughter said that he no longer needed to do the fundraiser.
“I told her no way. We will continue to give this money to Hopkins. When I saw my grandson in that hospital bed. I can’t tell you. We will continue,” Schuyler said.
Schuyler’s grandson has been in remission for four years.
“He’s doing great now. It’s what I want to give those other kids—to have full lives.”
Schuyler said that he wanted to fund-raise because often the money doesn’t get to the families. He said he likes the idea of giving a check directly to the unit, not hoping some gets through to the unit from a hospital-wide fundraiser.
Schuyler hopes to raise $2,000 this year with the benefit pull. When the event is over, they also turn over leftover t-shirts and medallions to the children at the hospital. In addition to the pull, there will be a mini car show and the always-fun “David vs. Goliath pull.” That is where Schuyler pulls in a competition with the children. The loser gets a pie in the face.
There will be participants coming from Delaware, Virginia, and Western Maryland as well as locals with regular mowers and souped-up models. The youngest age category is six years old pulling for points. Adults pull for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
There is plenty for spectators too. The money for Johns Hopkins is raised through food, t-shirt and medallion sales.
The fun starts at 11 a.m. at the track at 230 Jewel Road in Dunkirk. For more information, visit them online: Chesapeake Garden Tractor Pullers.