The Pulling for Preston Memorial Truck and Tractor Pull and Backyard Barbeque Cook Off Competition is quickly approaching and details of the event seem to promise a good time for all.
Located in the parking lot of the Soldiers Grove park on Saturday Aug. 1, rain or shine, the free event will honor the memory of Preston Nelson. Preston was a North Crawford High School graduate and truck pulling enthusiast, who lost his life in a fatal traffic accident in April.
“It started when people contacted us interested in putting something on in Preston’s memory,” explained Guy Nelson, Preston’s father. Starting as the memorial pull for Preston that people had requested, Guy answered the call by organizing it. People in the pulling community, from several different states, as well as locally, have helped sponsor and support the event. The pulling community also helped the family by supporting the decision to rebuild Preston’s truck.
“It’s important to the pulling community to rebuild the truck,” Guy explained. “It will help keep his memory going. As a puller, it’s really a neat thing. We can take it and continue to pull it, and people will get into that kind of thing. With his sister Starr and close family friend Kirsten behind the wheel, it could be the most cheered for truck at other events.”
With the support of the pulling and local community, a large crowd is expected at Saturday’s event.
“The kids and their street diesels will be coming out of the woodwork to show their support,” noted Guy, who expects friends and fellow pullers to roll their machines into town from all over.
Starting things off at the event will be the Backyard Barbeque Cook Off. It runs from noon to 5 p.m. Pit masters will be grilling up delicious fare for hungry patrons. Anyone is able to walk through the barbequing area, taking in the smells and sights, but you need to buy a wristband to taste the grilled delights.
“The wristband is like an all-you-can-eat pass,” explained Guy. With the $20 wristband for adults and $10 for ages, 12-and-under, you can eat until you burst at the event from noon to 9 p.m. That includes food from the different competitors’ barbeques, items from the food stand, as well as corn-on-the-cob.
Drinks are not included with the wristband, but beer, an adult lemonade and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase. The purchase of a wristband also enters you to win a cash prize donated by Lancaster’s Jim Fuller. Two $250 prizes will be given away, one at 5 p.m. and one at 9 p.m.
If you’re hungry, but are not interested in buying a wristband, the food stand will also be available for the individual purchase of brats, hot dogs, corn-on-the-cob and burgers.
“I made a point to order nothing but the best,” Guy Nelson said of the 2,000 pounds of meat purchased for the barbeque event. Contest categories include chicken, baby back ribs and pork shoulder. Another category is the pit master’s choice, where each barbeque team will be free to choose a grilled entry of their own. Everything from fish to vegetables, as well as meat, is welcome in the pit master’s choice category—rumor has it one competitor plans to present lobster tails.
The three food items provided by Guy, chicken, baby back ribs and pork shoulder, as well as the item provided by the teams will each be judged separately. Chicken will be done and judged at 1 p.m., ribs at 2 p.m., pork shoulder at 3 p.m. and pit master’s choice at 4 p.m. Then at 5 p.m., the trophies for each category will be presented, along with a fifth trophy for the ‘Peoples Choice Award.’ Winners will receive a $100 cash prize, as well as a trophy. Each team will also receive a plaque to commemorate their participation in the Pulling for Preston Backyard Barbeque Cook Off.
About 10 teams have signed up for the event so far, with a particularly interesting head-to-head matchup between teams comprised of the Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick and Vernon County Sheriff John Spears and their cooking crews. All in good fun, these and other teams will be cooking it out for the crowd.
“What they’re really battling for is bragging rights,” Guy said with a chuckle. Space is still available for those interested in competing—teams of at least four are encouraged. Entries will be taken until Friday, July 31.
The North Crawford girls softball team will be serving malts to keep the crowd cool and satisfied throughout the day as well.
When the cook-off event winds down after 5 p.m., the remaining barbequed items will be available for purchase at the food stand for those without wristbands, along with all the other available food. The all-you-can-eat wristbands extend from noon to 9 p.m., so you are encouraged to eat your fill. However, the food stand will be serving up grub until 2 a.m., so nobody is expected to leave hungry.
The true bones of this event are the pulls. It is the idea that gave birth to what is now becoming quite the community affair.
Kicking off Pulling for Preston will be the antique and farm tractors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Unlike some pulling events, the bigger stuff is planned to begin soon after the antique and farm pullers are done.
“If you’re interested in the larger trucks and tractors, stop by at 3 p.m.,” Guy stressed.
The Hot Farm and Super Farm Shootout will heat things up at 3 p.m. with a super stock gas class following that. There will also be several diesel truck classes and more tractors.
“We wanted to include a lot of diesel classes with street diesels because that’s the new up-and-coming thing,” Guy noted.
One special event planned for the pull is something that Guy and Preston thought up.
“We came up with the idea for the dump truck pull one day, when we were working and talking in the shop,” Guy said. “It was something Preston always wanted to try.”
Area dump truck drivers will participate in the unique pulling experience that is sure to please all.
Music will echo through the crowd at the event from a rented sound system and a large stage. Two bands will be on hand to fill the ears of the Pulling for Preston crowd.
At 2 p.m., the Blue Eagle Band from Prairie du Chien will be laying down their special blend of R&B and classic rock.
“I picked this band because I thought it would be good tunes for a barbeque atmosphere,” Guy said.
Later, at 9 p.m. when the pulls have finished, High Mileage will take the stage. This band features ‘Spanky’ from Sleepy Hollow Auto in Viroqua.
After the expenses are paid, any proceeds from the event will help rebuild Preston’s truck, as well as help the local fire and rescue squads.
Those interested in participating, volunteering, or those with general questions about the event are encouraged to contact Guy Nelson at 608-632-3178. Remember this is an admission-free event—the only charges are food and beverages.