Monroe County Fair Tractor Pull a family tradition for Maybee clan

·3 min read
The tractor pull at the Monroe County Fair has become a tradition for the Tibai family of Newport.
The tractor pull at the Monroe County Fair has become a tradition for the Tibai family of Newport.
One of the many powerful machines on display at the tractor pull at the Monroe County Fair.
One of the many powerful machines on display at the tractor pull at the Monroe County Fair.

To me, the Monroe County Fair has always been synonymous with the Thursday evening tractor pull. When I was really young, that was the night that my dad took my brothers to the fair to meet up with Grandpa Schilling and the uncles, while my sisters and I went to Grandma Schilling’s house with my mom. When I was five or six, “boy’s night” turned into “family night,” and dad was convinced to bring his daughters along for the show.

Katie Tibai
Katie Tibai

Twenty years later, a small section of the grandstand is filled by my family. My whole family isn’t able to make it every year, but for those who do come, there is no formal planning ahead of time; just an unspoken understanding that we’ll sit together and have a fun evening.

This year me, my parents, two brothers, one sister, two uncles, two cousins, one nephew, and a handful of friends attended. With the addition of my nieces and nephew, we’re passing the tradition down to the next generation. My grandpa passed away in 2015, but in his memory I wear his old red flannel button-up to the show.

In the days leading up to the tractor pull, the family group chat was periodically filled with talk of the weather, and “do you think Thursday will get rained out?” I knew that we would be in the grandstand rain or shine. Thankfully, the skies did hold out and a rain-free (albeit hot and humid) tractor pull went on without a hitch.

Five classes of pullers were on the track: four classes of tractors and one truck class. While my family doesn’t have personal stakes in the competition, it doesn’t hold us back for cheering loudly for the contestants.

My nephew, William Tibai, 3, shook with excitement and energetically covered his ears every time a tractor began its run. While he doesn’t know much (but more than me, I’m sure) about tractors, he was quick to inform me that: “red and white are my favorite colors.” Therefore, red and white were his favorite tractors.

For the first time in quite a few years, my favorite machines returned to the Monroe County Fair Tractor Pull: the Mini Modified Class. There’s a wonder at seeing such a souped-up small machine hook up to the weighted sled and attempt the “full pull.”

The author, Katie Tibai, with her parents Susan and Mark Tibai of the Maybee area.
The author, Katie Tibai, with her parents Susan and Mark Tibai of the Maybee area.

My dad, Mark Tibai, enjoys the Legend Series Class, which requires all machines to be built prior to 1980, and the calm break it provides from the louder modified tractors and trucks. I look at these Legend machines and can’t help but realize that my 20 years of watching might be half the length of time that they’ve been doing the pulling.

“They remind me of simpler times,” dad says. “There’s the nostalgia with these machines of years ago when the tractor pull would go to 2 o’clock in the morning.” He is recalling the time when there was one track instead of two and it took much longer to get through all of the classes.

The tractor pull is a time I spend with my family and friends. I have been attending for the last two decades, and I know there will always be a member of my family attending in the years to come.

The author, Katie Tibai, with her younger sister, Collette Tibai.
The author, Katie Tibai, with her younger sister, Collette Tibai.

This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: Tractor pull a family tradition for Maybee family