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Published October 02, 2009, 12:00 AM

Tractors have pull with man

Has won more than 150 awards
Tractors have been a hobby for a 73-year-old Leonard, N.D., man for more than two decades. Arlo Anderson has competed in tractor-pulling competitions for about 22 years – and he’s won more than 150 awards.

By: Kristen Daum, INFORUM

Tractors have been a hobby for a 73-year-old Leonard, N.D., man for more than two decades.

Arlo Anderson has competed in tractor-pulling competitions for about 22 years – and he’s won more than 150 awards.

This year, he won two first-place honors when he pulled at the Big Iron show in West Fargo – a feat he’s accomplished for three years in a row.

“That’s kind of unusual,” Anderson admitted. “It’s quite a science to get all your tractors ready. It takes years to figure out how your tractor pulls the best.”

When Anderson first started in the 1980s, he made it a family affair, with his 16-year-old daughter joining him in the competition.

“I was kind of a daddy’s girl, and I liked to hang out with him and I wanted to do whatever he was doing,” said Marsha Grindahl, now 37.

“I just know he really enjoys it and now that he has the time, he can do it more.”

Anderson knows more about tractors than just how to pull them the best. For more than 15 years, the retired farmer and part-time electrician also has collected antique tractors.

“Before, we just pulled them, then I got interested in collecting old tractors,” Anderson said. “And I started restoring ’em.”

His collection of a dozen antique tractors includes some that he uses in tractor pulls and others that he drives on caravan trips across the Great Plains, like his 1935 Allis-Chalmers WC.

“They’re a whole lot simpler,” Anderson said of his antique tractors. “If something goes wrong, you can fix ’em. And if you work on them yourself, you appreciate it more.”

For about five years, Anderson has joined dozens of other tractor enthusiasts from North Dakota on caravan trips using Allis-Chalmers tractors.

This year, Anderson was part of a caravan of more than two dozen tractors that trekked about 225 miles over three days from Oakes, N.D., to Madison, S.D. – averaging about 70 miles per day, he said.

“When you’re driving at 11 miles an hour with a tractor, you can see a lot more of the country,” Anderson said. “You can see the flowers and everything on the road. It’s a lot different than driving a car.”

Anderson’s wife, Doris, has been a spectator for many of Anderson’s competitions and trips – and has watched his interest grow over the years.

“He just likes the tractors, and he enjoys it so much,” she said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541

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