How to grow the sport of pulling- part 2

Published April 29, 2016 11:14AM, by Dick MorganViewed: 5679 times

Growing Our Sport
Part 2;
One of the problems is, we the fans of the sport some times have these rose colored glasses that taint our view of what the sport is. The die hard fan can't understand why everyone does not find the sport has exciting as we do. We need to step back and look at how can the shows be made more exciting and faster paced. What worked 10 years ago may now be stale, what kept the fans interest then will not be enough for the new breed of fans that the sport is trying to attract. So lets take a look at what works and what does not.

The biggest problem pulling need to overcome at all levels is the show itself. The shows lack nonstop action, there is to much dead time with nothing going on vs. vehicles going down the track. And unfortunately that is one of the selling points that other motor sports have that's makes their product a easy sell to families with young children. The sight and sound of a monster truck during a double back flip is what pulling is competing against. And if you do not believe me that pulling lacks non stop action just take a look at any YouTube video of any class with 15 vehicles, I don't care if it's mods, super stock or trucks. What takes between and hour and and hour and a half to run is condensed down to a 5 minute YouTube video. Think about that. What takes 90 minutes to run on the track is really only 3 - 5 minutes of real action. Another way to look at it is, if there is 3 to 6 minutes between hooks and the run takes 10 to 15 seconds to run a vehicle down the track then there is one heck of a lot of time with nothing going on between hooks. So what can pulling do? Well the obvious is speed up the sport. Make the show fast and exciting. Dragging out a show with low vehicle numbers does NOT change the fact that there are only a few vehicles that are competing., it just make a bad show longer, not better. If you are running two tracks at an event, there should never be two vehicles running down the track at the same time, you have done nothing but ruin the one advantage that the sport has. The ability to offer more action on the track. With two tracks you at least have a chance to cut dead time in half by spacing out the pulls. Can pulling be non-stop action, no, the reality is we need track maintenance, so how do we fill in the dead time? There can be several ways to keep the fans engaged. Big screen replays, announcing that keeps the fans entertained, tee shirt give a ways, interviews at the starting line with the drivers before they pull and I'm sure there are other ways to provide entertainment for the fans between hooks. But still the biggest thing that pulling can do is reduce the time between hooks. Speed up the show!

Second are the RULES. The current approach by most, if not all organizations is making the sport more boring, not more exciting. The creativity in the sport has diminished greatly. The push to large cubic inches in some classes has done more to limit the growth of the sport than any other single issue. There used to be a time when 10 national pullers would show up to any event and the class would also get 5 to 10 local pullers that would fill out the class. Those days are long gone, the rules have made it almost impossible for the local guy to compete. While I realize that it's to late to change any of these classes, the National organizations need to embrace the classes that are showing the greatest growth in the sport. The Limited and Light Pro Stock classes along with the LLSS are examples of classes that going within the sport because of sensible rules. More and more classes are becoming cookie cutter classes. Just take a look at the current Pro Stock or the mod class in a couple organizations if you do not believed me. Pulling has done more damage in recent years with their rules than they have done to guy is pulling a MM with a John Deere engine. However almost everyone follows the Pro Stock grow it. The “any engine any sheet metal” rule may have been the worst rules implemented ever. Brand loyalty is what made the sport what it is today. Red Vs Green. Nobody but nobody cares if aclass if Carlton Cope competes, why, because the MF is real, not a cross dresser. And I know everyone says that the average fan does not care if the PS with a Kubota hood is really just a John Deere BB. Well guess what there is hardly a average fan in the sport, do not minimize the intelligence of the fans. What does the fan think if they believe they are really rooting for “off brand” and they find out that the Kubota they where cheering for is really no different than all the rest of the John Deere BB Pro Stocks? Will that hold their interest in the class or the sport? While I am not anti John Deere or any other color the question needs to be asked, “what John Deere” do I root for if am a new fan to the sport? One more John Deere will not grow the sport. And the same could be said about the mod class, their needs to be more diversity, open up the rules that lets the Allison's compete again. The hard truth of the sport is the vehicle are the stars of the show, not the drivers. While the drivers are certainly a key element, the fans identify with the vehicles.

One of the other problems is some of the classes that the National organizations are offering to the pulling fans. Any time a National organization offers a class with less than 10 competitors they are not giving the fans full value for their money. Any class with 5 competitor or less is really nothing more than an exhibition class. Either write rules that encourage growth in these classes or make room for classes that offer healthy numbers. And on that same note does pulling at the national level offer to many shows? Does the sport get cheapened by having to many 2 and 3 class events that bill themselves has national events. I looked at one national event that has three classes and there are a total of 20 tractors that are precommitted in the three classes. So with a little math the show time should be about 90 minutes. However if history can be used this show will take about 3 hours to run. The sled will be set light for the first pass in each class so there will be a pulloff of 3 or 4 tractors and the time between hooks will be stretched to 5 to 7 minutes. Trying to put a band-aid on a small show only make it a small show poorly run.

Dick Morgan
Independent Pulling News

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2016 12:33AM by Jake Morgan.


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