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'Pullin for Preston" returns to Soldiers Grove
CROP pullin for preston
PULLIN FOR PRESTON organizer Guy Nelson pulled aboard this tractor last year in the massively attended event that served as a memorial for Preston Nelson who died in a traf-fic accident earlier that year.

The Second Annual Pulling for Preston event promises to have something for everyone. There will be food and lots of it. There will also be four bands performing. And of course, there will be some interesting truck and tractor pulling.

The event started last year as a truck and tractor pull in memory of Preston Nelson, who was killed in a traffic accident in the spring of 2015.

This year, Pulling for Preston kicks off Saturday at 11 a.m. with Backyard BBQ Cook-off.  This is a friendly competition among grill chefs and their crews. Like last year, event organizer Guy Nelson will provide all the meat for grilling. That includes chicken, baby back ribs, beef brisket and pork shoulder roast for pulled pork. This year, there will be a pallet of charcoal on hand for those grilling with charcoal.

Additionally, each crew can enter the Pit Master’s Choice, which is their personal favorite from the grill.

Each category will be judged and there will be some cash prizes this year for each category and for the overall champion. Altogether there will be $2,000 in prizes available.

Contestants can register until Friday, July 29 simply by calling Guy Nelson at 608-632-3178.

As the BBQ Cook-Off gets underway, the bands won’t be far behind. The Wundos from Platteville kick off the music at noon with some classic rock and a little blues.

Then, the Blue Eagle Band from Prairie du Chien takes the stage at 3 p.m. for a blues performance.

At 7 p.m., it’s time for the Johnny Cash Tribute featuring Philip Bauer, who is coming all the way from Oklahoma with his five-piece band. Bring a lawn chair and let the music of the legend wash over you.

“You don’t want to miss this,” Guy Nelson said. He’s hoping the earlier start time might allow more families to enjoy the show.

The last act of the night is Spanky and High Mileage, who will begin at about 9 p.m. The band features among others Lavon ‘Spanky’ Felton from Sleepy Hollow Auto in Viroqua.

There is a $10 admission fee this year, but kids under 15 are free. Nelson said he thought that by letting the kids in free, it would keep it affordable for families.

There is an optional $20 all-you-can-eat wristband that will get you some of the food being grilled at the Backyard BBQ Kickoff. If that’s not enough, you can also have some of the burgers, brats and sweet corn available at the food stands. Those with smaller appetites can purchase their food individually at the food stand. The beer is $2.50.

Then, there’s the truck and tractor pulls and that could get wild this year in more ways than one.

First, there’s the Tug of War Challenge that starts at 11 a.m. It’s something that’s done down south, according to Nelson, and it's pretty simple in theory. Two trucks back up to each other and hookup. The object is to pull away the other truck. It’s a double elimination competition starting with the qualifications early and finals later. There will be two categories—half-ton and three-quarter ton. Anyone with the nerve can enter.

Guy Nelson is advising the pullers to come early and walk around the pit area.  There are plans to have some of the bigger names in pulling on hand for a special challenge pull. Among those that are expected to be there is Wes Kuslick from northern Wisconsin with his Cummins Killer Truck. Nelson is also expecting Ben Money and his pulling team with their tractor called ‘The Remedy.’

The challenge will offer the public a chance to make a 50/50 wager on which truck will win. Then, 50 percent goes to the winners and 50 percent will go to a scholarship fund in memory of Preston Nelson. There were three such scholarships given out last year at North Crawford High School.

In fact, donating back proceeds from the event to the community in memory of Preston Nelson is a big part of the event. Last year, there were donations to 20 different groups in addition to scholarships.

Volunteers are still needed and anyone volunteering can have a donation directed to the charity of their choice for the time they volunteered.

If it sounds like a lot of action it is. So, just so you don’t miss something when you’re over at the food stand or backyard BBQ Cook-Off,  there will be a large screen TV so you can watch the pulls or the music.