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Tractor pull to honor late Barry Houser

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

This weekend marks the second year for The Shelby Southern Thunder National Truck and Tractor Pull, being held this year in memory of former Vale resident and veteran of the sport Barry Houser.
Barry and his daughter Coty, now 24, were in the inaugural event’s planning stages early last year when he passed away.
Coty, who grew up around the rural sport competing in local tractor pulls since the age of 10, finished preparations alone, determined to hold the event in her father’s honor.
“He was a big redneck,” she said laughingly, “and always wanted to put on a tractor pull. He was such a fun man and everybody loved him.”
A Facebook page dedicated to the Pull further described Barry as a “great man who had a passion for farming” and “a heart bigger than the Carolina sky.”
The page also referred to the Southern tradition as a “high-powered, dirt-slingin’, smoke-blowin’ good time” for all who attend, especially children who will get the opportunity to participate in a Kiddie Pull and ride monster trucks at this year’s event.
Earlier this month, Coty dissected the sport to the Times-News. She explained that at a wheel speed of 200 mph, each alcohol-diesel tractor, worth around $100,000, pulls a weight-transfer machine called a “sled” around a 300-foot track. The person who pulls the “sled” the farthest wins the competition, she said.
Last year, all funds raised from the festivities, sponsored by the United Pullers of the Carolinas, went to the organization Future Farmers of America. This year, Coty plans to donate all event proceeds to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children.
In the future, the Houser family hopes to procure enough land in the county to hold the annual event in a more local location.
The Housers currently boast nearly 12 acres of farmland along N.C. 27, including two acres of muscadines and six acres of horse pasture. They also grow corn, green beans, watermelons and a variety of other crops.
This year’s truck and tractor pull will kick-off at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Cleveland County Fair Grounds in Shelby. Pedal pulls will be 5:30 p.m. daily.
For more information on the event schedule and ticket prices, visit “The Shelby Southern Thunder National Truck and Tractor Pull” on Facebook.
“He never met a stranger,” Coty said of her dad. “He was always telling you something funny and would have given you the shirt off his back.”

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