Mulberry garden tractor pull postponed by rain

By Andrew Nash
Pittsburg Morning Sun – May 25, 2015

For the last 11 years, the Mulberry garden tractor pull has always taken place when scheduled. But there’s a first time for everything, and the 12th annual garden tractor pull was rained out on Saturday. The garden tractor pull has been tentatively rescheduled for June 20, with a weighing at 9 a.m. and pulls beginning at 10 a.m.
“We apologize for Mother Nature. She’s not playing fair today,” said organizer Mike Hueston, the president of the Bourbon County Garden Tractor Pulling Club.
The event was ready to go, with a wide path cut through the grass of the Mulberry City Park. But most of the morning and early afternoon were spent hiding under tents, standing in trailers and huddling on tailgates to shield from the rain.
The event’s rainout is a bit frustrating for the city’s volunteer fire department, as the annual garden tractor pull is one of the chief fundraisers for the Mulberry Fire Department.
“A lot of work goes into setting this up. When it’s rained out, it’s hard,” said Donald Dickey, Mulberry Fire Chief. “Some of the food we won’t be able to salvage. It’s just the extra expense.”
In the past, the money raised by the garden tractor pull has paid for some significant upgrades to the fire department’s inventory — both physical and mental. The event has allowed for the purchase of a rescue boat, which comes in handy for the area’s numerous strip pits, an all-terrain vehicle, and training in Parsons and Kansas City for the volunteer staff.
“Every year, they’re able to put some money back [because of this event],” said Mulberry Mayor Randy Jones. “They’re trying to save for a trailer for their new ATV for fires. This money never hits the city budget.”
The rain didn’t keep everyone away, but certainly turned away the larger crowds of past years. Hueston said that there are usually upwards of 50 “pullers,” with some entering three or four tractors in the various events.
Hueston said that the Mulberry event is the kickoff to the garden tractor pulling season locally.
“It’s just the family aspect of it. It’s just a fun activity. We’re all friends, and we share everything and anything parts-wise off the track. But when we get on the track, it’s every man for himself. It’s good, clean fun,” Hueston said. “But we usually plug up a shower drain afterward.”
The garden tractor pull was part of perhaps the busiest weekend of the year in Mulberry. Friday was the celebration of Orange and Black Night, and Saturday evening the penultimate graduating class from Mulberry High School, the Class of 1965, celebrated their 50th high school reunion with an alumni banquet.

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