Behind the Scenes: Cal Poly Truck and Tractor Pull

Tractor Pull

When choosing Truck and Tractor Pull as the subject for our first feature story, no one in our group really knew anything about it. After doing further research within the Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo community, I soon found that a big chunk of people didn’t know anything about Truck and Tractor Pull either. 

As soon as I got out of my car in the orange parking lot on campus on Saturday afternoon, I knew I was going to be in for something unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I saw herds of people flocking towards the loudest rumble of an engine that I had ever heard.

Truck Pull

As soon as Priya Sodlapur and I walked into the outdoor arena, we were both shocked. There were hundreds of people lined up in the stands, wearing ear plugs for that matter, cheering as loud as they could as trucks and tractors barreled down the raceway, pulling as much weight as they could. It was quite the spectacle. I felt like I had entered another world, one that I had never seen before.

“I didn’t know too much about Tractor Pulling before we began this story, so for me it was especially interesting to go to the actual Truck and Tractor Pulling event and see the culture around it (and) how passionate the community involved in it is. In terms of my interactive portion of the story being at the event was great because there were so many opportunities for action shots of the actual event”, said Sodlapur.

Truck and Tractor Pull has been celebrated at Cal Poly for the past 40 years. Being one of the biggest events during Open House weekend, it draws a large crowd. Katie Hoyer and Stephanie Garibay sat down with club president Bradley Livingston and previous club advisor Dr. Mark Zohns to discuss the ideals behind Truck and Tractor Pull, as well as its history at Cal Poly.

“It was great experience learning the ins and outs of tractor pull. I didn’t really know anything before starting this project”, said Hoyer.

Livingston, a bioresource and agrigcultural engineer junior, has been involved in tractor pull since he got to Cal Poly. “Basically, you’re trying to compete to see who has the strongest tractor”, Livingston said.

Tractor- Close up

Zohns, who was the advisor of the Tractor Pull club for quite some time up until his retirement, discusses Cal Poly’s involvement in the early years of tractor pull. “One of the students in this department built one of the first modified tractors in California”, said Zohns.

Cal Poly has been collecting photos and videos of tractor pull in its archives for quite some time. During my social engagement report, we got a lead on reddit about where to find them. 

“Yeah I thought it was really cool to learn about what tractor pull actually is because I had an idea of what it was but actually learning the technicality of it was really interesting. I also found video tapes from Tractor Pulls at cal poly from the 80’s so it was really cool to be able to see that”, said Garibay.