Coolatai Tractor Pull

You might well wonder what a Tractor Pull. I had no idea the first year what to expect.

Looking down over the Coolatain show ground where the Pull is held. The tractors are located behind the red fencing. This was taken at the beginning of Saturday before the crowds arrived!

Looking down over the Coolatain show ground where the Pull is held. The tractors are located behind the red fencing. This was taken at the beginning of Saturday before the crowds arrived!

All the local people of Coolatai district (and from afar) bring their tractors and pull a machine with weights on it and all the tractors test  their testosterone powers (not many women pullers!!). There are all sorts of classes and divisions for horse power and other mechanical measures which I don’t know about. It’s fun to watch the pride and anticipation of the Pullers – each believing his (or her) tractor was better than any other there.

Man and his machine - true connection!

Man and his machine – true connection! Farming avatar!

Some of the older models of tractors. Mighty fierce machines despite their age!

Some of the older models of tractors. Mighty fierce machines despite their age!

Also to listen to the commentator was amusing:

“If Al doesn’t get to the start line now he’ll be out on his ear. He’s probably having one of those fabulous cream and scones morning teas and a cuppa tea.Oh – there he is coming out of the gents. Obviously a bit nervous.”.

And so the humorous commentary goes on and on. All day. I marvel at how someone can keep coming up with more personal comments and even MORE information about yet another class of tractor – that looks the same to me as the last 3!! No personal detail is safe. If it’s known, or not, it will be told – or made to sound ambiguous. Anything for a good yarn!! I love the dry humour of the bush.

The were the mighty - Garth and Marilyn's Texan Long Horn......

There were the mighty – Garth and Marilyn’s Texan Long Horn……

and there were the meek - Cute little chickens for sale.

and there were the meek – Cute little chickens for sale (note shade made out of newspaper).

This year was the 4th Pull. It’s the biggest turn out yet Hundreds of people turned up.

I love the day because it is so country. Everyone turns up in their ute or 4WD (that actually looks like its used as a 4WD not as Mum’s taxi in the city). Some don their “Sunday best” which is their best Akubra hat. There is certainly fashion and country style to be noted.

Making sure the Sunday best is still in place!! Garth - one of the many volunteers that make this fabulous day happen.

Making sure the Sunday best is still in place!! Garth – one of the many volunteers that make this fabulous day happen.

It’s mostly boys and their big toys. All the girls roll up too to cheer people on and catch up with everyone after a busy harvest. I chatted to those I knew and met a whole lot more. Everyone is so friendly.

Chainsaw display going waaaaay back - and still working. These men can make anything work.

Chainsaw display going waaaaay back – and still working. These men can make anything work.

This year there were more spectaculars to see than 2 years ago (I was overseas for last year’s Pull).

Lawn mowing took on a whole new meaning for me seeing supercharged ride on lawn mowers. Oh to have my lawn razzed by one of these mowers in about 1/100th of the time I can whipper snip 1.2m tall grass over .5 acre. I could just see me dodging the apple tree and then around the peach tree and a quick uie around the peppercorn tree…. It looked fun and really fast.

Supercharged Lawn mowers!! Wow - they flew. Not sure the grass could keep up with them!

Supercharged Lawn mowers!! Wow – they flew. Not sure the grass could keep up with them!

Clydesdales have always appealed to me but I’ve never seen them working – especially pulling machinery from the turn of the 20th century. A character named Peter  Venables brought along  his team of Clydies  and machinery that looked old and rusty  and not useable.

Peter Venerbales - a true man of the bush and his horses.

Peter Venables – a true man of the bush and his horses.

But Peter  mowed the grass at the show ground with his team and this VERY usable machinery and ploughed long furrows. It was tranquil to see Peter and his horse team walking the fields. Much more tranquil than the super charged ride on lawn mowers!!

Setting the plough up to the correct depth.

Setting the plough up to the correct depth.

Ploughing. 3 Clydesdales, a machine and a very talented man.

Ploughing. 3 Clydesdales, a machine and a very talented man.

Although massive, these Clydies just ooooze calmness. They smell delicious too - so earthy and clean.

Although massive, these Clydies just ooooze calmness. They smell delicious too – so earthy and clean.

The senior team.

The senior team.

The team. Aren't they grand!

The team. Aren’t they grand!

The kids loved being near the Clyesdales. The horses didn't seem to mind the face paint!!

The kids loved being near the Clyesdales. The horses didn’t seem to mind the face paint!!

Peter was lamenting that lots of these lovely old pieces of equipment are being sold for scrap metal. Useable history being sold.

Equipment made to last. From last century - not last year!!

Equipment made to last. From last century – not last year!!

The Lawn Mower! Is your lawn mower 100 years old and still going?  No petrol? This one still goes on solar (converted into grass!!).

The Lawn Mower! Is your lawn mower 100 years old and still going?
No petrol? This one still goes on solar (converted into grass!!).

I spoke to Peter for a while after the demo. What a character!! He was so animated and excited about all the equipment he had with him. He showed me and a group of teenagers how to get corn off the cob with one hand operated machine and then to grind it into flour with another. Modern day machines are no doubt faster but there was something earthy about Peter and his earth and food preparation. I wondered if there would be a taste and nutrition difference in grains coming from a John Deere 40′ wide harvester and those grains sewn and collected by Peter.

Corn off the cob and then ground - all by hand in a twinkle of an eye. These teenagers were fascinated - enough to get out the iPhone and take a picture!!

Corn off the cob and then ground – all by hand in a twinkle of an eye. These teenagers were fascinated – enough to get out the iPhone and take a picture!!

Peter is 76. I wonder what will happen when all these old timers have passed on. All this amazing knowledge just gone if they do not mentor someone. Sandy Thorne has put out a book called “Old Timers” – Peter is on the cover with his 4 abreast team. Peter showed me a photo of one team that had 10 horses abreast – truly magnificent.

And then there was the sheep shearing by Garth and Mick. They got the easy job of shearing. Their mates took turns in providing the power by turning a handle which turned the mechanism to run the shears. Talk about hard work.

Shearing AND creating  the power to run the shears. Note the guy on the left who is turning the fly wheel to make the shears work. The other two guys behind are the reserve "batteries"!! It was REALLY hard work and when you consider they sheared DOZENS of sheep each day this way.....

Shearing (Garth) AND creating the power to run the shears. Note the guy on the left who is turning the fly wheel to make the shears work. The other two guys behind are the reserve “batteries”!! It was REALLY hard work and when you consider they sheared DOZENS of sheep each day this way…..

Mick was a solo show - only having to shear. Pressure was on to do a good job as there were a few professional shearers on hand to pass the odd dry comment or two or more. THe demo was great but the comments made it even more entertaining. The sideline commentaries are one of the best parts of the Pull.

Mick was a solo show – only having to shear. Pressure was on to do a good job as there were a few professional shearers on hand to pass the odd dry comment or two or more. THe demo was great but the comments made it even more entertaining. The sideline commentaries are one of the best parts of the Pull.

I thought I would only spend an hour there but I spent the best part of the day chatting and interacting before filling my backpack with veges from one of the stalls and heading back through the tall grass to home. There were a few kangaroos on the way but no unidentifiable sounds in the long grass – which is a good thing. The glow of the sun on the tall mature grass heads as the sun sinks is truly spectacular. The landscape shines like a sea of grass – and I felt at times as if I was swimming through a sea as the grass was so tall.

This is me finding my own track to the Pull. There were quite a lot of roo (kangaroo) paths to follow and the PA system from the showground to guide me.

This is me finding my own track to the Pull – going cross country from home to town – about 1.5 kms. There were quite a lot of roo (kangaroo) paths to follow and the PA system from the showground to guide me.

Make note to come and see the Coolatai Tractor Pull next year. See you there!!

Hasta pronto……

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6 responses to “Coolatai Tractor Pull

  1. Well done Fiona. You’re blog will be fabulous I’m sure. Now that you’re up and running it’s time to enter the big ol’ blogosphere by connecting with others. Since you didn’t make it to last year’s pull you can get the full report by hopping over to my blog (www.rockysprings.wordpress.com) and searching for the post “Letter to Pa”. Looking forward to more of your words (put in a widget so people can follow you by email).

    • Oh – a comment Mandy!! How exciting. Thank you!! I feel as if I have been tossed into the sea and told to swim. I feel I CAN swim – I just have to get over the initial shock of the cold water!!

      Let’s bring Coolatai onto the map Mandy!!

  2. Pingback: You Know You’re In The Country When…… | Fiona On The GO·

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