What Are Tractor Pulls? All About Pulling Competition

By Hayden William

Last updated:

Is the tractor just a heavy-duty farm tool? You certainly cannot hold this opinion any longer once you know about the tractor pull competition. So what is it? 

At a glance, it is a thrilling competition between giant vehicles that will surely blow up your mind. For more details, scroll down to learn!

What Is A Tractor Pull?

Tractor pulling is one of the most powerful motorsports, where antique or modified engines pull a sled containing heavy metal plates and try to go as far as it can within the marked route. The distance from start to finish often lasts 10 meters (35 ft).

What Is A Tractor Pull

There are competitions where 100-meter (330 ft) tracks are applied, but it is rare for any participant to complete this entire course.

The player who has moved the farthest becomes a winner. If more than one person reaches the finish line, the host verifies the add-on weight and lengthens the dirt track. Those tractors compete one more time to find the strongest.

This competition drew inspiration from pre-Industrial horse-drawing rivals. By 1929, the game’s rules clarified the appearance of tractors in the Bowling Green (Missouri) and Vaughansville (Ohio) races. 

This competition soon became dominant in rural America in the 1960s and spread to Europe, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It still retains its popularity in many parts of the world, such as England, Greece, Germany, South Africa, etc.

In modern society, tractor pulling is often organized into four levels: State, Regional, Grand National, and Super National. Each group consists of several classes that categorize specific weights, so participants must be willing to handle them.

Some people find operating a tractor for recreational purposes too aggressive and pointless. But the opposite truth is that this sport brings many significant benefits, which we will explain later.

Class Of Competition


Initially, the participants came with modified tractors equipped with non-tractor engines. But then, the game rules changed to custom machines with various choices of engines. 

The only common standard is a maximum tire size of 30.5×32 and a 20-inch drawbar. However, this category is divided into several subcategories based on machine weight and motor design, as shown below.

DivisionWeightTractor Pull Parts
Modified (RN)7,500 pounds– 2 or 3 blown automotive engines
– 1 or 2 Allison aircraft engines,
– 1 marine or industrial engine 12 cylinder
– NTPA-recognized turbine with a 5050 horsepower limit
Light Unlimited (GN)6,000 poundsNo turbine
Modified (GN)7,500 pounds– 3 or 4 blown automotive engines,
– 2 Allison aircraft engines,
– 2 industrial or marine engine 12 cylinder
– NTPA-recognized turbine with a maximum of 5800 total horsepower
Unlimited (GN)8,000 pounds– Any power plant

Super Stock

The spectator will come across the equipment weighing 8,000 pounds for the alcohol engine and 8,300 pounds for the diesel. Despite the “stock” appearance, the participants promised to present a wild show thanks to the large horsepower-to-weight ratio. 

In addition to the two main divisions, you can participate in The Grand National Light Super Stock, which allows a mixture of fuels.

Pro Stock

The machines competing in this class feature an aggressive appearance. The game rules are limited to a single turbocharger and 680 cid diesel displacement. 

The audience will witness the eye-popping combat between 10,000-pound monsters arriving with giant 24.5×32 tires, water injection, and intercoolers.

Light Pro Stock

This class comes as an extended version of Pro Stock with similar rules, but engine displacement is reduced to 540 cid. Other requirements include a total weight of 8,500 pounds, OEM agricultural type, and “p” pump 3000 or 7100 series. And there should be no overhead cams, component chassis, and inner/aftercoolers.

Limited Pro Stock

Competitors follow the basic principles of Pro Stock and Light Pro Stock, except for the maximum weight of 9,500 pounds and 640 cid limit. 

The appeal of this class comes from the “farm” appearance of the tractors and uncompromising dragging performance – the tractors never stop until they reach the last piston stroke.

Super Farm

The specific regulation legalizes a single turbocharger plus 640 cid diesel engine with no modifications. Farm tractors of 9,300 pounds must use OEM manifold, “P” type pump, 24.5×32 tires but no overhead cams or coolers.

Modified Mini

As its name suggests, the workhorses are petite in appearance compared to other participants, at only 2,050 pounds. However, an automotive or turbine engine 575 cid blown or 650 cid aspirated reinforces the power-to-weight ratio.

Four Wheel Drive Trucks

Belonging to the middleweight class – 6,200 pounds, 4×4 trucks have a longer drawbar than usual. Competitors have to follow suit with every criterion (chassis, tire pressure, gear, etc.) to gain an advantage because they cannot rely on superchargers but the 650 cid engine.

Super Modified Four-Wheel Drive Trucks

The field tractor setup has not changed much except for the displacement of the supercharged engine dropping to a 500 cubic inch limit.

Two Wheel Drive Trucks

The audience first found joy in the humorous combination of a big block V-8 tractor engine and any truck body. Many models, such as Ranger, Jeep, Fiat, Model T, etc., participate in the 6,200 pounds weight class.

Super Semi

It is the heaviest division of the NTA competition, with a maximum weight of 20,000 pounds. By strict requirements, participants’ tractors must be equipped with DOT-approved tires, diesel engines from popular commercial trucks (minimum produced 500 units), and a 16″ drawbar.

Benefits Of Tractor Pulling

Joining a tractor pulling competition trains your muscles particularly and your physical strength generally. Doing so is also a way to unwind and build up your self-esteem and confidence. Economy-wise, the competition allows you to earn money from prizes, sales, or sponsorships.

Health Benefits

Participating in the world’s most powerful motorsport consumes a lot of strength and endurance, thus helping to build muscle and promote heart health. 

These benefits make sense for people who are overweight since the high intensity of exercise burns excess fat, tones muscles, and supports them to lose weight quickly.

Besides, exciting competitions are also an effective measure to relieve stress. By releasing endorphins through thrilling activities, your mental health improves dramatically.

Social Benefits

Truck pull is a coordinated sport. Thus, it contributes to team spirit, strengthens the relationship between the participants, and reinforces your confidence. Most spectators also see this game as a good opportunity to meet new people and develop their network of relationships.

Regardless of your role, you could feel a strong sense of community at these events. This is one of the dominant reasons for the great popularity of tractor-pulling.

Economic Benefits

Not many people realize this aspect, but both the participants and the organizers receive an income from the game. Farmers adjust their tractors and try to reach the top for valuable rewards. 

Meanwhile, the host earns money from ticket sales and other related services. Another group of beneficiaries – event sponsors also love the antique tractor pulling as it helps promote brand awareness.


Where Is Tractor Pulling Most Popular?

Home of the National Tractor Pulling Championships – Wood County is considered a must-try destination for tractor-pulling enthusiasts. Don’t hesitate to visit this small town for the Bowling Green competition.

How Much HP Do Pulling Tractors Have?

Tractor pullings always have a reputation for massive power as the machines can produce up to 10,000 HP. Depending on the competition class, the participants strive to deliver different horsepower rates, but in general, most modified engines often generate power many times higher than the standard.


Pulling tractors is definitely a great experience for those who love the excitement and thrill. However, several daily races that produce intense echoes can strain your ears. Preparing hearing protection, especially for young spectators, is best every time you participate in these events. Follow the organizer’s safety instructions to protect yourself from unexpected accidents, too.

See more:

Share on:

Leave a Comment