By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN Six-year-old Tyler Thurston has many interests, but for several weeks this summer, his focus was on pedal tractor pulling.
Taking third place in his age group at the McLeod County Fair in August meant that Tyler qualified to compete in the 2011 Minnesota State Pedal Tractor Pull competition.
This was the second time Tyler, son of Tom and Carol Thurston of Winsted, had made it to the state competition, having qualified in 2010 when he was 5 years old.
Tyler knew that if he was able to qualify at the state level, he would move on to national competition, something he wasn’t able to do the previous year.
On a John Deere pedal tractor loaned to him by his aunt and uncle, George and Pat Rienert of Watertown, soon after the county fair, Tyler took time to practice for the event.
For the state competition, which took place Sept. 10 at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, there were 63 boys in Tyler’s age group all ready to pedal-pull. Most of them had visions of heading to South Dakota for the nationals.
Tyler said he pulled his hardest, but he wasn’t able to make it into the top three in his category. Only the top three pullers in each class advance.
However, Tyler said he isn’t giving up. He will try again next year.
Pedal pulling is a serious competition with separate categories for boys and girls from ages four to 12 years old. A birth certificate is required as proof of the child’s age.
For the state competion this year, more than 700 boys and girls took part.
The organizer of the state event in Hutchinson is Don Oechele of Fairmont, who has been organizing the pedal pulls for more than 25 years.
Although pedal pull competitions are over for this year, Tom and Carol Thurston aren’t worried about their son getting bored.
“He is a very, very active 6-year-old, who likes to play soccer, baseball (t-ball), golf, football, and hockey,” Tom said.
Next on Tyler’s schedule is first grade football. Later this winter, Tyler’s dad will build an ice rink in the backyard so that he and his sister, Page, can keep up their skating skills for hockey.
This will be the second year both children have played hockey for Crow River in Delano.
Tyler is a first grader, and Page is a kindergartner at Holy Trinity Elementary School in Winsted.