It’s ‘Pull Day’ at Wood County Fair

(Updated at 11 a.m. 8-7) The Flames were hot at the Wood County Fair Antique Tractor Pull Thursday.
But there wasn’t a fire of any sort at the grandstand, just the father and son tandem of Paul and Jason
Flames burning up the competition.
The Flames’, of Portage, combined to claim three first-place finishes in the first six events during
“Pull Day” at the fairgrounds.
“You never expect or plan on it,” said Paul Flames, Jason’s dad, who has been involved with tractor
pulling for over 40 years. “There’s as many ways to lose as there is to win. We just enjoy the
competition and the camaraderie with the guys.”
Jason Flames took first in the Division II 5,500 weight class, pulling his Farmall “M” tractor 227.7
feet. He also won in the Division III 5,500 weight class, pulling his dad’s Oliver Super 88 tractor
226.2 feet. He added a second-place finish in the Division III 6,500 weight class, falling behind only
his father, who won with a pull of 224 feet. CLICK

“Anytime you can place in the top five it’s a good day,” said Jason Flames, who at age 30 has already
been pulling tractors competitively for over half his life. “We pull against these guys all over
northwest Ohio … Every tractor that comes down the track can win. Often we see that. The same guy
usually doesn’t win every place you go. It’s usually pretty close.”
The Flames brought three tractors with them to the fair, and due to a unique ruling system, were each
allowed to use their different tractors in the same division. Each could pull one tractor and then
switch to drive the other. The results included the two combining to take the top four spots overall in
the Division III 5,500 weight class.
The duo combined for nine top-five finishes for the day.
“There’s a lot of strategy in it. There’s a lot of variables.” Paul Flames said. “Nobody’s got a lock on
it. Nobody can say he’s going to win every year because his tractor is more powerful.”
The tractor pull involves more than simply pulling a heavy sled behind farm machinery. Just some of the
variables that the puller must incorporate for the perfect pull include taking into account the weight,
balance, speed, tire pressure and momentum of the tractor. The pullers must also stay under a strict
speed limit or face being penalized.
And there is no “one” way to pull. Just as in golf or baseball with players utilizing different swings,
each puller has their own style.
“You’re trying to get all those together … You have all these different techniques for all the
different guys,” Jason Flames said.
As for being able to experience the pull together, the Flames, who also work on their family farm
together, enjoy every minute of it.
“It’s something I was kind of raised with,” Jason Flames said. “My dad’s been pulling for 40, 50 years.
It’s something that I was brought up with. When you have a good pull and everything goes right, your
speed is there and you balance is there, you can just feel it. It feels like a good pull.”
“It’s a genuine blessing to be able to work hand in hand with your son. It doesn’t get any better than
that,” Paul Flames said.
In other events Thursday afternoon Joe Geiger of Oak Harbor took first in the Division II 3,750 weight
class with a pull of 253.9. Bowling Green’s Shad Ridenour won the Division II 4,500 weight class with a
pull of 237.6. Jeremy Buchman, of Pemberville, was first in the Division II 6,500 class with a pull of
Pulling continues through the evening.
Division II
3,750 Class
(Top five distances pulled in each class with hometown in parentheses.)
1) Joe Greiger (Oak Harbor), 253.9; 2) Mike Bay (Bowling Green), 238.5; 3) Roger Gillen (Swanton), 223.6;
4) Jeremy Cross (Bowling Green), 215.2; 5) Richard Sigler (Bowling Green), 161.9.
4,500 Class
1) Shad Ridenour (Bowling Green), 237.6; 2) Brant Chamberlain (Custar), 229.3; 3) Scott Gerken (Deshler),
226.8; 4) Dan Gillen (Austin, Texas), 223.5; 5) Josh Barnhisel (Deshler), 221.8.
5,500 Class
1) Jason Flames (Portage), 227.7; 2) Josh Barnhisel (Deshler), 223.7; 3) Shad Ridenour (Bowling Green),
220.5; 4) Roger Gillen (Swanton), 220.1; 5) Lowell Rahe (Pemberville), 219.2.
6,500 Class
Jeremy Buchman (Pemberville), 217.7; 2) Ryan Johnson (McClure), 215.0; 3) Jason Naus (Portage), 212.6; 4)
Eric Baugher (Tiffin) 211.5; 5) Dan Hartman (Oak Harbor), 210.0.
5,500 Class
1) Jason Flames (Portage), 226.2; 2) Jason Flames (Portage), 226.1; 3) Paul Flames (Portage), 222.4; 4)
Paul Flames (Portage), 222.2; 5) Tom Gillen (Schoolcraft, Mich.), 217.1.
6,500 Class
1) Paul Flames (Portage), 224.0; 2) Jason Flames (Portage), 218.7; 3) Paul Flames (Portage), 218.4; 4)
Tom Gillen (Schoolcraft, Mich.), 214.1; 5) Jason Flames (Portage), 209.1
Farm stock division
6,500 Class
1) Steve Casey (Cygnet), 212.5; 2) Larry Dauch (Bellevue), 211.1; 3) Matt Casey (Cygnet), 210.3; 4)
Nathan Wiechman (Bradner), 206.0; 5) Paul Flames (Portage), 205.1.
8,500 Class
1) Chris Johnson (McClure), 221.1; 2) Paul Clark (Antwerp), 220.1; 3) Steve Casey (Cygnet), 219.1; 4)
Bill Casey (Cygnet), 218.4; 5) Nathan Wiechman (Bradner), 216.0.
11,000 Class
1) Kyle Borton (Wauseon), 229.0; 2) Bill Hartman (Oak Harbor), 221.1; 3) Paul Perry (Woodville), 219.7;
4) Ben Kelbley (hometown not provided), 218.5; 5) Brett Bankey (hometown not provided), 214.5.
12,000 Class
1) Kyle Borton (Wauseon), 230.7; 2) Brett Bankey (hometown not provided), 219.7; 3) Bob Badenhop
(Wauseon), 214.7; 4) Chris Rahe (Pemberville), 213.1; 5) Mike Carpenter 9Wayne), 203.1.
8,500 Class
1) Dan Mahl (Willard), 231.8; 2) Steve Casey (Cygnet), 230.4; 3) Jeff Casey (Cygnet), 230.1; 4) Chris
Johnson (McClure), 228.1; 5) Larry Dauch (Bellevue), 225.2.
10,000 Class
1) Matt Weihrauch (Jenera), 259.5; 2) Bill Hartman (Oak Harbor), 255.1; 3) Dan Mahl (Willard), 251.2; 4)
Bill James (Ada), 248.2; 5) Paul Perry (Woodville), 238.1.
11,500 Class
1) Paul Perry (Woodville), 324.1; 2) Bill Hartman (Oak Harbor), 291.1; 3) Bill James (Ada), 274.5; 4)
Dave Weihrauch (Jenera), 267.0; 5) Dan Mahl (Woodville), 251.0.
Pickup Truck Division
Gas, 6,700 Class
1) Gary Oen (hometown not provided), 312.4; 2) Heather Smith (Weston), 278.7; 3) Caleb Zimmerman (Wayne),
277.6; 4) Nick Torok (Wayne), 274.3.
Diesel, 8,000 Class
1) Mike Smith (Weston), 317.5; 2) Mark Miller (Genoa), 307.4; 3) Len Linski (Pemberville), 287.1; 4) Zac
Lonsway (Tiffin), 295.7; 5) Kevin Sharp (Risingsun), 295.4.
Note: Smith won via a three-truck pull-off with Miller and Linski.
401 Horsepower and over
1) Pat Altunbach (Wayne), 326.5; 2) Trigger Smith (Swanton), 322.0; 3) Mark Scott (Perrysburg), 302.5; 4)
David Smith (Swanton) 264.1; 5) Dan Potter (Grand Rapids), 257.0.
400 Horsepower and under
1) Mitchell Scott (Perrysburg), 310.2; 2) Tony Phillips (Deshler), 260.9; 3) Bill Mareches (Bloomdale),
257.4; 4) Chris Turley (Fostoria), 252.1; 5) Kirk Keppler (Helena), 221.5.