Gunpowder and Lead pulls away for a national points championship
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CUTLINE: Marcus Wettleson of Postville drives the Gunpowder and Lead Case IH tractor at the National Tractor Pulling Championsips in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Photo by Adam Draudt of MAD Pulling Pics)
Gunpowder and Lead pulls away
for a national points championship
It all came down to the weekend of Aug. 23 at the Midwest Xtreme Truck and Tractor Pull in Jefferson City, Mo. That’s where Marcus Wettleson and the Gunpowder and Lead Pulling Team from Postville would break the tie that existed between them and another team from Newton, Wis., for the Grand National Light Super Stock Points championship. When the dust settled at the end of the day on Saturday, the Gunpowder and Lead Pulling Team had come away with its first Grand National Light Super Stock Championship.
Wettleson and his crew had come close previously, finishing as the runner-up in 2011. This time they were not to be denied, winning by four points over the team from Wisconsin.
For those who may not be familiar with tractor pulling, in order to compete for a Grand National championship, you must have a Grand National license and you must commit to participating in all Grand National events in your class, or “hooks” as they are called. Points are awarded based on where you finish in each event and totaled to determine a champion. Of course, you also have to have a good tractor and a talented crew, things Wettleson seems to know a little bit about.
“Our tractor is a Case IH with a 400 series engine that runs on methanol alcohol. It was built in 2008 and weighs 6200 pounds,” related the rural Postville resident.
Once the tractor gets going, it reaches approximately 35-38 mph pulling a load (on a good pass), with a wheel speed of approximately 75 – 80 mph. The typical load pulled at a competition is usually around 45,000 to 55,000 pounds.
The team is somewhat of a family affair, with everyone in the Wettleson family doing his or her part. Marcus is the owner and driver; his wife, Kathy, is co-owner; and their two children, Shanna and Blake, serve as crew members. Jerry Zweibahmer is the crew chief, and his wife, Diane, works on the crew taking pictures and video.
“As crew chief, Jerry takes care of a lot of things. Pretty much anything that I need help with, he is there to assist me,” said Wettleson.
Kathy keeps the team’s Facebook page updated with the latest events and results, and the kids are always available to help with loading and unloading the tractor or pulling it where it needs to go. Recently the family brought the tractor out to a local farm so that the high school football team could have its team picture taken with it. The family operated like a well-oiled machine as they brought the tractor in by semi, unloaded it, and then positioned it next to a nearby cornfield.
The team has worked hard and traveled extensively for competitions this past season. Among other places, it has been to Tomah, Wis.; Bowling Green, Ohio; Gordyville, Ill.; and Brandonburg, Ky. One local Grand National event that they regularly attend is held in New Hampton.
On one trip to Georgetown, Ohio, the competition was rained out.
“There’s not much you can do about that, since they really don’t decide for sure until after you get there. That’s just one of the challenges you face when you agree to compete in these events,” explained Kathy.
The success the Wettlesons have enjoyed this year is especially appreciated after a rough season last year when they endured a lot of breakdowns. Because the team does not have a sponsor, it is responsible for all expenses that are incurred itself.
The family is grateful for the success it has had this year and for the support they received from others who have constantly encouraged them.
“We are really thankful for everyone who has come and watched us compete this summer and for all the kind words of support we get from our friends and the community,” said Kathy appreciatively.
The team’s next destination is the Enderle Pull-Off in Urbana, Ohio on Sept. 14. If you are interested in learning more about the Gunpowder and Lead Pulling Team you can “like” it on Facebook to see pictures, videos, and updates on its latest events. If you are interested in viewing some of the events that it participates in, you can tune in to RFD-TV at 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays for coverage of Grand National events, or go to www.ntpapull.com for live streaming of events.
Though the Gunpowder and Lead Pulling Team now has a championship to its credit, members continue to challenge themselves rather than become complacent.
“I would love to win the ring at Bowling Green, Ohio and the National Farm and Machinery Show pull at Louisville, Ky.,” shared Marcus with a grin.
He knows that accomplishing those goals will be no small task, but as Marcus is known to say, “If it were easy, everyone would do it!”