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SWOTPA inquiries

Connor Cook
(519) 384-0595
1st Vice-President
Anson Bailey
(519) 878-4072
2nd Vice-President
Shawn Rodger
(226) 921-0366
Secretary Treasurer
Brenda Huis
(519) 365-4114
Head Tech Official
Anson Bailey
(519) 878-4072
Please let us know what's on your mind. Have a question for us? Ask away.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pulling?

The sport of Truck and Tractor pulling has roots derived from the days when horsepower was literally that, horses! It began as a grudge match between neighbours over whose horse could pull more weight. This led to competitions which consisted of pulling a “stone boat” down a track lined with spectators who would step onto the boat as it travelled past them, thereby increasing the weight until the horse could no longer pull it. The longest distance won.

With the introduction of the farm tractors, the sport naturally evolved to replace horses with tractors based on the same principle. It became popular through the 50’s and 60’s where modifications to tractors were becoming a regular occurrence. Thus became the necessity for a uniform set of rules and the development of different classes of competition. At this time there was also the development of sanctioning bodies (i.e.: NTPA – National Tractor Pullers Association) to uphold and develop these rules and classes. This gave us the basis for the sport we have today.

Many things have evolved over the years. As tractors were modified, ground speed and horse power increased, and the safety of spectators stepping on a moving object became too dangerous. Along came the weight transfer machine, commonly referred to as the “sled” or “boat”. This machine allows the transfer of weight over the length of the track, starting out with an easily manageable weight and gradually increasing as the truck or tractor progresses the length of the track. Most operators of these machines today keep a detailed log of each class and each venue to assist in setting it up for the following year.

The trucks and tractors themselves have evolved greatly over the years as well. Things began with the “pull on Sunday, plow on Monday” theory. Farm tractors were modified to compete at events, and then returned to stock form for field work. As horse power and competition increased, the need for a “competition only” vehicle became necessary. Stock trucks and tractors received modifications that stayed permanent and were continually honed to run stronger every week, as well as year over year. This has progressed to the point today where vehicles at the highest level of the sport (NTPA Grand National/Super National circuit) are manufactured as “component” vehicles. At this level the sheet metal and engine are often the only original items retained from the manufacturer (John Deere, Chevrolet, etc) with all driveline and frame components being custom built.

In the South Western Ontario Tractor Pullers Association, there are generally six sanctioned divisions of competition. They are 2WD trucks, Super Stock 4X4 Trucks, Hot Farm Tractors, Light Limited Pro Stock, Limited Pro Stock, and Superfarm. Some of these divisions are offered in the NTPA, which takes some of our competitors to events in the U.S. from time to time. This also offers the ability for some U.S. competitors to attend our events as well. Consult the SWOTPA Pull Schedule for the closest event to you, and come out and enjoy the competition.

Divisions & Equipment

2WD Trucks

Competing at a weight of 6200 pounds, this division carries a likeness to the “funny car” division of racing with their lengthened wheelbase and flip up fibreglass bodies. Powered by a maximum of a 575 cubic inch V-8, they are limited to a 14-71 supercharger for air induction. This class is also offered on the NTPA schedule. Plenty of noise and front wheels in the air for most of the run, these vehicles are often steered with rear wheel brakes to stay straight!

Super Stock 4X4 Trucks

Competing at a weight of 6000 pounds, this division carries a relatively stock body appearance. Limited to a 526 cubic inch naturally aspirated V-8, this class uses a maximum of a 35” tall DOT approved tire that cannot be custom cut or altered in any way. An exciting class that relates to most people based on their street truck like appearance.

Hot Farm Tractors

Competing at a weight of 8000 and 9000 pounds, this is truly the entry level class for those looking to get involved. With limitations like 410 cubic inches, 3100 rpm limit, and turbocharger size limits, it allows an individual to take a genuine farm tractor and alter it to enter the class. The absence of roll cages and aluminum wheels with puller tires keeps these tractors looking like their field working brothers. These same tractors have also competed at 10 000 pounds.

Light Limited Pro Stock

Competing at 6500 and 7000 pounds, this was originally created as an entry level class. It has evolved over the years into a very competitive division. Limited to 410 cubic inches and a 2.5” turbocharger inlet size, the light weight of these tractors make for an exciting class. A mix of diesel and gasoline power makes for an interesting twist.

Limited Pro Stock

Competing at 8000 and 9000 pounds, this class is the big brother of the Light Limited Pro Stock. Limited to 515 cubic inches and a 3.0” turbocharger, this division is generally powered by diesel fuel only. A nice mix of manufacturers and colour make for an interesting class.

Super Farm

Competing at 9300 and 10 000 pounds, this is the heavy weight class offered. Limited to 640 cubic inches and 3” inlet/outlet turbocharger, this division is all about muscle! With horse power approaching 1300 and torque at nearly 3000 foot pounds, these guys are serious. Fractional inches often separate these competitors making for an exciting class. Also offered on the NTPA circuit, this division will see many different competitors over the season. If you like black smoke, this is the division for you!

The Pulling Sled

In the early days, either a dead weight of fixed mass was dragged, or the step-on method was used, which people stood at fixed positions and stepped aboard as the sled passed. Today’s sleds use a complex system of gears to move weights up to 65,000 pounds. Upon starting, all the weights are over the sled’s rear axles to give an effective weight of the sled plus zero. As the tractor travels the course, the weights are pushed ahead of the sled’s axles, pushing the front of the sled into the ground, synthetically creating a gain in weight until the tractor is no longer able to overcome the force of friction.

The sled can be adjusted in many ways to create a desired pull. Weight can be added or removed from the box. Adding weight on the pan can give more starting weight to the pan of the sled. The box gearing can be changed to move faster or slower, and the starting position of the box can be moved among a two feet area, affecting the distance of travel. The final adjustment is the placement of the trip, which applies the push down system to expend the full weight of the sled on to the pulling vehicle.

  • Box – Contains the weight used to stop the vehicle and moves up the length of the sled rails progressively during the pull, driven off the front set of sled wheels.
  • Weight Block – Most sleds use a “full block” that weighs 2,000 pounds and a “half block” weighs 1,000 pounds.
  • Pan – Applies the force of the weight to the ground creating needed friction. The sled starts with only the front of the pan touching the ground. Bars attached to the bottom of the pan help make added friction at the end of the pull to stop pulling vehicle.
  • Trip – Sits between the frame rails of the sled. As the box moves up the rails the trip is hit and starts the push-down system. The trip is adjustable.
  • Push-Down System – Uses hydraulic cylinders to lift the back half of the sled in the air, allowing 100 percent of the sled’s weight on the pan.
  • Kill Switch and Hook -The kill switch is always hooked first, allowing the sled operator to stop the engine of the attached vehicle in the event of an emergency or if the vehicle breaks free of the sled. The hook is used to connect the sled to the pulling vehicle and extends the weight of the sled to the vehicle’s hitch.
  • Sled Operator – The driver of the sled. Has the responsibility of maintaining a controlled pull at all times. May pull kill switch if they feel something is out of control.

How the Sled works:

Pull Terminology

AC: An Allis Chalmers Tractor..
Allison: World War II vintage v-12 aircraft engine.1710 cu. In., approximately 2000 horsepower.
Arias: Racing engine brand common in Minis and TWD trucks.
Bite: Traction.
Bench Pulling: Talking about pulling.
Binder: International tractor.
Bite: Traction
Blower: Supercharger.
Boost: Air pressure generated by turbo’s or superchargers.
Bore & Stroke: Diameter of the cylinders and the distance the piston moves up and down the cylinder.
Box: Part of a weight transfer machine that carries and transfers the weight.
Brush Pull: Non-sanctioned pull.
Cam: The camshaft, a revolving engine part that moves the valves up and down.
Carb: The carburetor.
Chevy: A Chevrolet style engine. Also referring to the Chevrolet brand of cars and trucks.
Chevy Hemi: An engine that uses a Chevrolet style block with Hemi style heads. Arias is a common brand of this style engine.
Class: Type of vehicle and rules used to define that type of vehicle(s). Modified, Super Stock (Open or Diesel), Two Wheel Drive Truck, Mini Modified, Semi, Pro Stock, etc.
Clay: The most desirable track surface.
Cleats: The tread on a tractor tire.
Cubes: Cubic inch displacement of an engine.
Cut Tires: Trim the tire bar to a preferred angle for maximum bite.
Deere: A John Deere tractor.
Diesel: An engine that ignites the fuel by the heat of compression, rather than by spark plugs.
Drawbar: The part of the tractor or truck which attaches to the chain and hook of the transfer.
Drawbar Height: The distance between the drawbar and the track surface.
Drop the Hammer: Hitting the throttle hard.
4 x 4: Four wheel drive.
FWD: Four wheel drive truck.
Fuel: Either Alcohol or Diesel fuel.
Full Pull: Pulling the entire length of the track.
GN: Grand National level of pulling.
Gooney: A puller’s helper.
Grenade: Damage to engine, usually terminal.
Headers: Exhaust pipes designed for free exhaust flow.
Hemi: A Chrysler engine with a dome-shaped combustion chamber.
Hired Gun: A driver who drives tractors or trucks other than his or her own.
Hook: The point of attachment to tractor’s or truck’s drawbar.
Hook Points: Points received for attempting a pull. Each competitor can earn 15 per attempt.
Hooking Up: Tires getting a bite on the track.
Horsepower: The ability to do a specific amount of work during a specific amount of time and over a specific distance. Abbreviated HP.
IH: An International Harvester tractor. (Also International)
Kill Switch: A required hook-up that automatically kills the engine if the tractor becomes unhooked from the sled.
Mini: Small modified tractor, 2050 lb.
Miss the Balance: Improper weight balance on a tractor, either too light on the front resulting in an uncontrollable wheelie, or too heavy on the rear resulting in poor power transfer.
MM: Minneapolis Moline tractor.
Modified: Tractor using any combination of engines, transmission and final drive.
Mopar: Chrysler products.
NTPA: The National Tractor Pullers Association, Inc.
Out the Gate: A full pull, going the entire length of the track.
Overspeed: A safety device on turbine engines to keep them at a safe operating speed. If achieved engine will shut down.
Pan: Part of the weight transfer that makes contact with the track to create the friction necessary to stop the tractor.
Pits: Area for pulling tractors and trucks to park.
Points Champ: The person who has won the most points at season’s end.
Power Track: Track made with the combination of water and clay to pack, requiring a lot of power from the tractor to pull the transfer.
Pro Stock: One turbo charger and limited alterations being allowed in a class.
Pull-Off: A second pulling contest for pullers going past the full pull mark.
Purse: The total prize money awarded at an event.
Read the Track: Determine track conditions (soil type, soil texture. etc.) for weighting tractor and spotting sled.
Revs: RPMs or revolutions per minute of the crankshaft.
Sanctioning: A contract, which evidences the event’s commitment to follow national rules and regulations of the sport and to provide a safe environment for the participants and spectators.
Second Attempt: If, on the first try, the tractor doesn’t move the sled to the 100 foot line, the puller can try again.
Skid: Pan of the sled.
Sled: Weight transfer machine.
Slider: A clutch which uses the centrifugal force inherent in the spinning of the clutch to activate the clutch mechanism (also a Slipper Clutch).
Slip the Clutch: Prevention of 100% lock-up of the clutch, used to hook up the tires to the track. Also means a malfunctioning clutch which never locks up.
Smoke Machine: Used at indoor pulls, attaches to weight transfer machine, sucks exhaust smoke from tractor outside.
Smoker: Vehicle using diesel fuel.
SOHC: Single Overhead Camshaft engine.
Spotting the Sled: Puller choosing where the sled will sit along the start line for the pull.
Squeaked It Out: Barely pulling past the full-pull mark.
Staged: Lined up at the starting line. Also connecting turbochargers in progressive sequence on super stocks.
Super Stock: Refers to multiple turbochargers with few limitations to alterations in the given class.
Test Puller: First puller of each class to check sled gear and weight. Has option of re-pulling or dropping six positions, or dropping to last.
Throw Weights: To move detachable weight around on the tractor to achieve a preferred balance of weight for track conditions.
Torque: The power needed to twist or pull under counter pressure.
Transfer: Weight transfer machine to which the tractor hooks to pull.
Turbine: An engine using the exploding fuel to drive rotary fan blades, creating the turning power of the engine, as in aircraft jet engines.
Turbo: Turbocharger (an exhaust powered compressor adding power to the basic engine by adding more air).
TWD: Two wheel drive truck.
Under the Turbos: Not being able to keep engine speed up to the proper levels to maintain turbocharger pressure.
Weight Classes: 6200 Ib., 7200 lb., etc. The maximum weight of the tractor and driver for a particular class.
Wheelie: Lifting the front wheels off the ground.
Wrench: To repair, work on tractor.

How to Volunteer

SWOTPA is looking for volunteers who would like to help at the Registration Trailer and/or as a Distance Recorder.  This volunteerism is open to the public (adult/student). SWOTPA is recognized as a valid avenue for students to collect their volunteer credit hours.

If interested, please contact any member or send an email to:

Cook N Case pulling at SWOTPA