Monday, September 3, 2012


By Uncle Hans

Summer brings a new festival every weekend to these little towns. Last week was Cumberland's Rutabaga Festival, where Neil and I did NOT appear this year under fear of "cease and desist".
This week is Shell Lake's Town and Country Festival.

They all have craft fairs. Most have a "run", 5 or 10 K, Most have a car show, most have a tent or pavilion with a great and expensive show band, and there are other variations.
Shell Lake has a tractor pull..................


......they have many classes of tractors, antique, classic, working farm, and highly modified. The last class is the coolest to watch. I don't understand the scoring or the rules, so my explanation is limited. The red thing they pull is called the "sled". It is a contraption that steadily gets heavier by hydraulically moving a large steel weight forward and making it progressively harder to pull on each run. The grey exhaust indicated a "run-up" of rpm while the engine is not loaded or working....................


........the black smoke indicates that the driver just dumped the clutch and the engine is working for all it is worth to move the sled, which is progressively getting harder to pull with each second. There is a maximum speed you cannot exceed both for safety reasons and the momentum is an unfair advantage that may actually allow these monsters to run away with the sled fully engaged. A good run is over 300 feet. We saw one guy let his speed get away and run off the end of the course with the sled trailing helplessly behind. His run was disqualified..........


.....I think is is a lot about the driver. He (or, in one instance, she) has to decide on gear selection, rpm, feathering the clutch, allowing some tire slippage,allowing a little "wheelie", but not too much as you cannot steer a straight line with your front wheels off the ground. A lot to think about in a few seconds sitting on top of upwards of a thousand screaming horses.........


Town and Country Days also has a car show, where I found my dream car. This is a Ford GT40, a rare beauty......


By Uncle Hans