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Ottertail to host seventh annual Smokin' Iron

Neil Gettinger of Hagerstown, Ind., drives his "Up N' Atom" John Deere 4010 Disel Super Stock in last year's Smokin' Iron Tractor Pull in Ottertail.

The National Tractor Pullers Association kicks off the Region III tour with competition set to take place in Ottertail, at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Five Region III classes and one Grand National class will appear at this two-day event, with some of the toughest competitors in the Region turning out to take their shot at bragging rights and valuable points.

The classes on tap for Friday and Saturday night include: NTPA Region III Two Wheel Drive Trucks, multi engine Modified Tractors, Super Farm Tractors, Four Wheel Drive Trucks and Heavy Super Stock Tractors. Modified Mini Tractors will battle it out for Grand National points.

The Ottertail Smokin' Iron Tractor Pull will also feature a new track, which has been rotated 180-degrees for a fans' closer vantage point.

The Ottertail Smokin' Iron track has won Region 3 Track of the Year four out of the last six years and also the Region 3 Pull of the Year.

Entering it's seventh year, Smokin' Iron has attracted pullers from all over the nation, including Grand National Champion Mini-Rod puller Larry Koester of Wadesville, Ind., who drives with the Pennzoil Race Team.

The mini-rod event will be a Grand National competition, while the others will be Region 3 classes, which includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.

Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday and the pull starts at 7 p.m., while Saturday's gates are open at noon, with the events starting at 7 p.m.

There is a cold pit open to the public, who can then meet the pullers, along with food booths and a beer garden.

The annual Lion's Pancake Feed will be Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, while street dance will be held in Ottertail village from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Average attendance over the course of the last several years has been up to 6,000 spectators, which is over 13 times the 451 population of Ottertail.

"It's a family-oriented atmosphere and (Smokin' Iron) is not like your normal mom and pop farm tractor pull," said Smokin' Iron president Terry Wagenman. "This is like the NASCAR of tractor pulling."

This year's event will also be held in honor of Bill Ferrell -- who passed away this past February -- and was one of the originators of Smokin' Iron and integral contributors to the rise of the tractor pulling competitions as one of the tops in the nation.