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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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Rivah Horsepower

Dragon MotorSports offers loud, dirty, family entertainment

Lively names are given to competition trucks. Kevin Schools calls his ride “Seldom Seen.”

by Shannon Rice

It’s loud, obnoxious, muddy and dusty. But for some reason, we just can’t get enough of it. With names like Footloose, Seldom Seen and All Shook Up blaring over the speaker system you might think you’ve landed yourself at the Kentucky Derby. You’re much closer to home than Louisville though.

Just off the well-traveled path of Route 360 lies a little-known sports venue. What started out as just a dirt track in the middle of a bean field is now the hub of a self-proclaimed “redneck” sports culture. Dragon MotorSports Park (DMP) in Millers Tavern specializes in truck and tractor pulls.

“This sport is for anyone who is into high horse power entertainment,” says DMP owner Temple Brizendine.

The object of the sport is simple. The driver who pulls the weighted sled the farthest wins. Sounds easy enough, right? Not so fast though. There’s much more to the sport than meets the eye.

When a driver pulls the sled the entire length of the 300-foot track this is known as a “full pull.” When multiple competitors accomplish this feat, more weight is added and a pull-off is held. (photo courtesy of Ruth Turner)

All trucks and tractors, in their respective classes, pull a set weight in the sled. As the sled is pulled down the track, the weight is transferred from over the rear axles and towards the front of the sledge. As the weight moves over the pan (a metal plate in front of the rear wheels), the resistance builds. The further you pull, the harder it gets.

“Our sleds can weigh up to 40,000 pounds,” says Brizendine.

When a vehicle gets to the end of the 300-foot track the driver has accomplished a “full pull.” Should more than one driver achieve a full pull, a pull-off will be held with more weight added to the sledge. Again, the winner is the one who can pull the slede the farthest.

“Whether it’s tractors, modified trucks, or street trucks it’s always fun to see who’s got the power to make it to the finish line,” says Kelly Valentine, a puller spectator since 2006.

Temple Brizendine and Bunky Davis’ modified 4x4 truck “Footloose” pulled in 6 wins during the 2011 pulling season.

These aren’t your grandpa’s trucks and tractors either. These are super-charged pulling machines, each with their own personality. They are brightly colored, modified vehicles ranging from antique tractors to street cars and diesel trucks that resemble drag racers and monster trucks. They have names like Haulin’ Grass and Danger Zone with engines reaching up to 1500 horsepower. Fan favorites include the diesel “smokers” and the modified four-wheel-drive classes.

“About the only Ford and Chevrolet parts that remain on these things are their outer shells,” says Brizendine. “It’s a high dollar investment, but they do it for the bragging rights.”

While the event may come down to bragging rights for the competitors, the audience enjoys a more laid back atmosphere.

“Spring and summer means it’s time to sit on a tailgate with some friends and watch some local and out of town competitors drag,” says Valentine.

At DMP, spectators can enjoy the competition from football-style bleachers or from the back of a pickup truck. Coolers are permitted but those who choose not to bring their own goodies needn’t worry. There is always a food vendor offering burgers, dogs and barbecue. The park also holds an ABC license for those old enough to indulge. Safety is ensured with plenty of deputies on sight.

“It’s good family entertainment,” says Brizendine.

The next event at Dragon Motorsports Park will begin at 7 p.m. June 30. Featured classes include a National Four-Wheel Drive, Super Modified Two-Wheel Drive, Light Pro Stock, and Super Street Vehicles. Admission is $15 for adults and $7 for children ages 10 and younger. The last event of the season is the Southern Showdown set for September 29.

Dragon MotorSports Park is at 1790 Howerton Road in Dunnsville.

posted 05.31.2012

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