ALTAMONT - In its second year, the Celebrity Tractor Games at Mill Road Threshermans Association did not disappoint.
There were seven competitions, kicking off with the blind tractor race.
“We did it last year and people really seemed to enjoy it,” Celebrity Tractor Games Organizer Ken Milleville said. “We have a narrower track this year.”
“It’s a little different this year,” Milleville said. “Last year we had the games on the same night as the tractor pull.”
Competitors were required to navigate a 140-foot long x 45-foot wide obstacle course in front of the Effingham County Fairground grandstand.
The major twist: Each contestant was required to drive a tractor blindfolded.
Competitors selected which tractor they wanted to use for competition. They had to drive through the course without knocking over, or in some cases smashing, orange road safety cones marking their route. Competitors also had to stay within the 45-foot width zone between the grandstand wall and a marked boundary line.
A passenger on board the tractor acted as coach for each blindfolded contestant through the twists and turns of the course.
“The coach will tell the driver to go right, go left or straight,” Milleville said. “This course seems to work out really well.”
There were no real official winners or losers for the event.
“It’s all for fun,” Milleville said.
However, for the fastest person to cross over the finish line in under 2 minutes, could have bragging rights.
“She’s going to be my competition,” Altamont UNit 10 Superintendent Dr. Steven Mayerhofer said about his wife April. “I beat her last year, so I want to hold on to my winning streak.”
“He did not beat me, he was disqualified,” April Mayerhofer said.
“She disqualified me, but the judges did not,” Steven Mayerhofer explained.
“There may be a little competitive streak there,” April Mayerhofer said.
A determined April Mayerhofer set the bar a little higher this year by crossing over the finish line faster than any of the competitors in the race.
Mayerhofer chose a vintage Allis-Chalmers to drive in the competition. Her coach through the obstacle course was Ron Repking. Mayerhofer took home bragging rights for the race Friday night completing the obstacle course in just under a minute with an official time of 58.91 seconds.
Unfortunately, April's husband Dr. Steven Mayerhofer didn't fair as well as his wife. While trying to make his way around the first obstacle on an antique International Harvester McCormick Farmall M, Mayerhofer smashed the first orange safety cone and received a 5 second penalty. He completed the course with an official time of 1:34.13. Coaching Mayerhofer was Dave Frederking.
Bob Hollar had the second fastest time at 1:03.79 on his vintage Allis-Chalmers tractor with his wife Carolyn Hollar as coach. Bob Hollar held the fastest time through most of the evening before April Mayerhofer made her landmark run.
Dean Goeckner was clocked the third fastest time at 1:10.6 on a John Deere 3020 Diesel. Coaching Goeckner was Kenny Goeckner.
Dave Stuemke brought his own John Deere tractor to drive in the competition. He and a friend finished restoring the tractor last year.
“This is my second time,” Stuemke said.
“Last year I was telling him where to go,” Stuemke said about his coach Alan Stuemke. “This year he’s going to tell me where to go.”
“That way if we come in last place I can blame it on him,” Stuemke added.
Stuemke driving his John Deere 1530 finished the course on Friday with a time of 1:35.53. The 3-cylinder engine in the tractor was made in France.
Dave Frederking along with Shane and Brandon Frederking, representing Frederking Construction Company, all drove in the race.
“This is quite an interesting deal,” Dave Frederking said.
Dave Frederking went over the two-minute time limit while Brandon Frederking coached by his wife Emily held the third place spot during the evening with a time of 1:27.13 before being bumped by Dean Goeckner.
Ken Milleville said this year they added a few new games to the line-up.
“We added the water bottle race, kids hoop shoot,” Milleville said.
Additional competitions included the barrel roll, slow tractor race, water bottle race, kids barrel roll, kids hoop shoot and a grand finale tug of war pitting man vs. tractor.
Charles Mills can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.