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Ackerman: Wisner event will attract big crowds

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The ground will be shaking this weekend in Wisner, Neb., as the Beef State Extreme National Truck & Tractor Pull makes its annual visit for Thunder by the River.

This will be the ninth year for the monster truck and tractors to compete in Wisner. One of the organizers of the event, Scott Krusemark, said around 14,000 fans are expected to attend the two-day pull.

The event usually draws 125 to 130 competitors, Krusemark said.

“It takes a lot of manpower to put on an event of this size,” he said. “We have about 300 volunteers from the area that help on the event.”

There are two tracks side-by-side, and in case fans miss something, a big screen replays the action.

The event draws heavy hitters from the western part of the United States. Bowling Green, Ohio, runs a big event the same weekend and draws major players from the eastern part of the country.

Krusemark said the Wisner event has drawn spectators from at least 14 states. Doug Oertwich, another organizer in Wisner, said one of the things that makes the event go is “we have at least 50 sponsors that help us out.”

So how much horsepower are we talking about? Oertwich said the big Modified Tractors produce between 4,500 and 5,000 horsepower. That creates a lot of thunder along the Elkhorn River.

The more powerful classes pull the 40,000- to 50,000-pound sled more than 300 feet. But as they pull it, the weight transfers from back to front, making it harder to pull. So the farther the pull, the harder it is to move the sled.

There are three sessions to Thunder by the River: 5:30 p.m. Friday and two on Saturday, one starting at noon and the other at 5:30 p.m. The event pays a purse of just under $100,000.

The event is co-sanctioned by the Outlaw Truck & Tractor Pulling Association and the Iowa Tractor Pulling Association.

SLMR Series in Corning

The SLMR Series will visit the Hawkeye State for its next event on Saturday at the Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa. Thanks to series sponsor Jay Burdic and the Malvern Trust & Savings Bank of Malvern, the purse has been sweetened. The feature will pay $2,000 to win, $1,500 for second and on down.

Kyle Berck of Marquette and Tad Pospisil of Norfolk have been swapping the SLMR points lead throughout the 2013 season, with Berck taking back the top spot with a win on Aug. 3 at the Riviera Raceway in Norfolk.

The added purse has apparently attracted some drivers who are not regular SLMR competitors this year, including two-time series champion Travis Dickes of Madison, who will be in Al Humphrey’s No. 6, and three-time and defending MLRA champion John Anderson of Omaha in a throw-back No. 21X car fielded by Bill Koons.

Lee covers Midlands racing for The World-Herald.

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