By Kim Renken
No trophies. No prize money. Bragging rights were all that the participants at the recent Benefit Tractor Pull held in Alcester were competing for Sunday, Sept. 8.
The support was huge, with 99 registrants representing 41 different towns in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa competing in a total of 232 hooks. Not just tractors but pickups and even semi tractors, a first for Alcester, competed in the event. Even though place results were not announced, the tractor pull spirit was alive and well, and you can be sure the pullers who were competing knew where they stood at the end of each class pulled.
The benefit tractor pull was held for Alcester High School student Ariyanna Miller, the 15 year old daughter of Loren and Samantha Miller of rural Alcester. In June 2013, Ariyanna was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and is undergoing chemotherapy treatments at Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. The pull was held in conjunction with several other fundraising events that took place in Alcester throughout the weekend for Ariyanna.
There were two pulling sleds that were running consistently for the entire seven hours it took to complete the pull. The HotFoot sled, owned and operated by Mark Shellum of Jasper, Minn., hooked to the Antique Tractors in Class I, Class II, and the Open Class. The Outlaw sled, ran by John Schaffer and the Midwest Outlaw Truck Pullers Association of Heron Lake, Minn., hooked to everything else, ranging from street diesel pickups, stock tractors, modified tractors, and two semis.
A special guest to the pull was the pickup Honeybear, pulled by Sherri Kamolz of Mountain Lake, Minn. Honeybear is decorated with names of people who have fallen victim to or are survivors of Cancer and is pulled in their honor. Honey Bear pulled in Alcester to honor Ariyanna.
All ages were well represented. From eight year olds to retirees, everyone was included in the pull. There were husbands, wives, sons, daughters, grandfathers and brothers.
The Alcester FFA chapter, led by Kelly Dunkleburger, manned the gate and provided food and refreshments, and a silent auction was held by Tonya Rasmussen and her family, all to benefit the Miller’s. The pull was organized by Tim and Kim Renken, and sponsors were Pederson Machine, Independence Waste, Union County Fairboard, Mark Shellum family, Midwest Outlaw Truck Pullers Association and John and Lori Schaffer, Mike Scott, Larry Pilla, D.J.’s Express, Jesse and Desiree Duncan, Kyle and Marcy Stene, Jerrod Driesen, Huenink Auction Service, Lead Foot Lucy, Justin and Maria Shultz, Stacy Rasmussen, Bar K Farms, Chad Berentschot, City of Alcester, and Tim and Kim Renken.