Bittersweet victory for High River man competing in tractor pull in memory of his father
Randy Niemans leans way, way back in the seat of his father’s John Deere 80 hoping to pull the sled just a few more feet… even a few more inches in the final pull to help him and his family claim top prize.
The extra little effort appears to have a worked as the High River, Alberta native took home top prize in Class 6 of the Vintage Tractor Pull at the Calgary Stampede.
For Randy and his family, just taking part in the event is bittersweet as it comes only a week after his father, Bill, passed away. Bill had been a staple at pulls for the last 6 to 7 years and had been scheduled to take part in this event until his passing. Randy, who stepped in to take his place in his memory says winning was the icing on the cake.
“I know he was right here with me today, I think I felt him pushing on that back fender to give me a little oomph to go, just really proud I’m glad to take it home for him here,” says Randy.
He says his father spent a lot of time on the road with his tractors.
“He grew up on the farm, you know pullin, operating these units here, his main tractor was a 730 which he grew up on, which he has in his collection as well, unfortunately it didn’t get in here today but this (the JD – 80) is the work horse of the family, anyway so we are glad this one could come.”
Niemans says while the John Deere 80 has won a lot of pulls, his father’s favourite was his John Deere 730.
“He was driving down in southern Alberta and saw it kinda sticking out in a field so he popped in one day and ended up making a deal on it. It was kinda an old rust bucket when he brought it home. He sent it in and had it completely redone.”
Randy recalled how his father and the 730 always had a love-hate relationship, because it didn’t win all that often.
He says the 80 and 730 will continue to be seen at pulls as his family will continue the tradition his father started.
“I’ve got my other brother and he’s got his boys and so the past couple of pulls we’ve been taking the four units out and my brother and his boys have been running the other three and I’ve been operating the 80.”
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