GAYS MILLS - The recent flooding messed up more than a few things it seems and one of them was the Pulling for Preston event scheduled to be held this Friday and Saturday in Soldiers Grove.
Yes, water spilled all over the park depositing debris and mud in its wake. A third of the park was still underwater on Monday and the rest was covered with mud.
Even a massive cleanup effort wouldn’t make the grounds solid enough to hold the parked vehicles by this weekend.
Pulling for Preston event organizer Guy Nelson acknowledged that while it might be possible to hold the event in Soldiers Grove, the crowd would have to park elsewhere and be shuttled to the site.
“Staying in Grove meant dealing with no parking,” Nelson noted.
After reviewing the options, Nelson settled on moving the event to the nearby Crawford County Fairgrounds, where he put on truck and tractor pulls with Southwest Pullers for the past two county fairs.
The Crawford County Fair Committee and Village of Gays Mills met Tuesday to grant the necessary approval.
The fair board agreed to a rental agreement with Nelson for the grandstand and another building for this Friday and Saturday night.
The Gays Mills Village Board approved a picnic liquor license allowing the sale of beer on the nights involved. The village board also granted a operator’s license to Marci Nelson.
As for Guy Nelson, he’s relatively happy with the arrangement. After all, it’s just eight miles down the road from where the event was scheduled to be held.
“At the end of the day, the venue could be a better place for the event,” Nelson said. He noted the fairgrounds definitely offered better public parking.
Nelson also thought some of those attending the Canaan Smith show on Friday night might appreciate using the grandstand for seating. As the stage is envisioned now, it allows people to stand off to the side in front of the stage near the food stands. However, the stage will also allow people to sit in the grandstand to watch the show.
Nelson pointed out the fairgrounds is a larger venue that can accommodate more people and he’s hoping more people will attend and fill the larger venue.
There is a $10 admission charge for the Friday night country music concert featuring Nashville recording artist Canaan Smith. The gates open at 6 p.m. and there will be food and beverages available.
Blue Collar 40, a local country band from the Viroqua-Westby area, will start playing at 7:30 p.m. Smith, the headliner, plays at 9 p.m.
All of the Saturday events are free, including the truck and tractor pulls and the four bands that will start at 1 p.m. There’s a $20 all-you-can-eat wristband if you so desire that let’s you eat all you want from the food stand, as well as sample the BBQ Cook-off.
Guy Nelson thanked the Village of Gays Mills and the Crawford County Fair Board for making the venue available.
However, it wasn’t just the fair board and the village board that were ready to help Nelson out in a pinch. The event organizer said the pulling community came together “to find Guy a place.” This led to offers from the Sauk County Fair, Richland Center, the Boscobel Antique Club and Highland.
“Several communities contacted us with offers to host the event,” Nelson said. However, the Crawford County Fair was an obvious choice given arrangements already made for hotel rooms for the bands and other things.
So the Third Annual Pulling for Preston might not be happening in Soldiers Grove this year, but you can rest assured the show will go on—this time at the Crawford County Fairgrounds on Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29.
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