Ross helps region excel in Stampede tractor pull
Dick Ross was among a contingent of area competitors who posted excellent results in various events at the Calgary Stampede last week. Ross, in his third Calgary Stampede tractor pull, captured the featherweight division of the Vintage Tractor Pull by pulling a weighted sled 232 feet, seven inches over two runs on July 8 with his 1950 Allis Chalmers WD.
The distinctive orange machine, competing in the featherweight division between 1,000 and 3,999 pounds, tipped the scales at 3,990 pounds with operator and fuel included.
What made the victory even sweeter was the fact that last year, Ross finished dead last in his category.
“I finally got on the board. I didn’t have very good luck the first couple years. Somebody’s always gotta be last but it’s nice not to be last all the time,” he said.
Ross, who has been competing for several years on the tractor pull circuit, said one of the things that draws him to the sport is meeting the other competitors.
“You meet a lot of good people. That’s probably one of the biggest reasons we do that,” he said.
A former mechanic, Ross has about 30 tractors that he’s restored on his farm in Harmattan. He uses different ones for about 10 events a year, including in Leduc, Markerville, Delburne, and Leslieville, among others.
One of the unique things about the Stampede, in particular, is all the different events that comprise it and the fact that as a competitor, he has a front-row seat to a lot of other action as well.
Ross said there is a fairly active local group of pull enthusiasts who compete on the circuit throughout the year and that’s one reason why so many local people did well in the other divisions of the competition.
Other local content that won tractor events at the Stampede included Don Smith of Carstairs, whose 1955 Oliver 88 pulled a combined length of 248 feet, six inches to claim the class three (6,000 to 6,999 pounds) crown; Keith Weigum of Three Hills, whose 1949 John Deere R took the class four title (7,000 to 8,499 pounds) with a total of 363 feet, three inches; and Jim Page of Didsbury, whose 1955 John Deere 80 managed to claim the class five title (8,500 to 9,999 pounds) with a combined pull of 363 feet, one inch.
In other events, Ben Thorlakson of Carstairs and his team of Alex Hansen and Bruce Stewart claimed the team cattle penning competition on July 9 with a combined time of 163.12 seconds over three rounds of competition. The trio split a cheque for $39,396. Each also received a Stampede buckle for their efforts. Randy Dye of Bowden and his dog Sweep finished third in the world stock dog championship, herding sheep into the gate in two minutes, three seconds on July 8.
At press time Friday, Bowden bull rider Tanner Girletz was to be heading back to the Stampede grounds on Saturday to try to secure a wild card spot in the finals on Sunday after earning 79 points during a July 6 ride and 81.5 points for a July 7 ride. Subsequent rides on July 8 and 9 saw him get no score, as he was bucked off both times. He earned $2,500 for his rides.
“I had some bad luck the last couple days,” Girletz said.