February 27, 2024

Fiery ride for contestant at fair’s tractor pull

OREGON, Ill. — A blown fuel line made for a fiery ride for one of the drivers in the Illini State Pullers tractor pull competition at the Ogle County Fair on Aug. 4.

Mark Kelsey, of Davis, had a pretty good run going in his International diesel super stock “Just Add Dirt” until a fuel line burst.

The large, red-and-white tractor was fanned with flames as the diesel fuel ignited three-quarters through its run. Kelsey’s protective suit protected him from injury as he pulled the tractor to a stop and the fire was extinguished.

“We had a fuel line blow apart, that’s all,” he said after the incident. “I’ve never had that happen before.”

After being towed back to its trailer, Kelsey was busy trying to repair the machine in time to run again in the open division.

“I want to see if I can fix it and hopefully run again tonight,” he said.

Oregon puller Steve Devine, who competed after Kelsey, said incidents like that can happen.

“That’s why we wear the protective gear,” he said.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

Earleen creates content and oversees production of 8 community weeklies. She has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.