Small-Town Sled Pull Gets Wild

What’s more American than spending the 4th of July holiday taking in a sled pull? While thousands of small towns across the United States celebrate Independence Day in spirited revelry, the village of Oquawka, Illinois, takes the tradition one step further. The town, in conjunction with the local businesses and the West Central High School FFA, hosts a massive truck and tractor pull each summer. An added bonus comes in the form of free admission, great food and a jovial atmosphere.

This year, 31 classes took to the dirt. Among them were 23 groups of tractors and six pickup truck classes, with even a class for semi trucks. To plow through this many classes, the event blasted off early evening, and two sleds ran non-stop deep into the night. This year, the clock struck 1 a.m. before the last tractor rolled to a stop. If you find yourself in the greater Western Illinois area next July, this jam-packed sled pull is one event that won’t have you missing fireworks. DW

Clawing its way to a 328-feet second place finish in Open Street was Eric Loy’s 2005 Dodge Ram 3500. It would also pull in the Work Stock Class later in the night, where it claimed first place.
There’s nothing quite like a P-pumped 24-valve Cummins, and this 1999 Dodge gave it a go in the Open Street Diesel class. The owner told us the truck sports a 62mm over S474 turbo arrangement and that the factory 12mm pump had been “maxed out.”
A slew of hot-running tractors showed up for the 9,500-pound 466 class sanctioned by the Heartland Tractor Pullers Association. Here, Tim Vorwald lays down a textbook pass with his Farmall 450. He finished in Third Place with a distance of 301.9 feet.
With 31 classes, (spread throughout three sanctioning bodies) two sleds running nonstop, and more than 200 hooks, there was never any shortage of action at the annual 4th of July truck and tractor pull in Oquawka, Illinois. As of press time, we didn’t have the final spectator tally, but we do know the FFA concession tent sold more than 2,200 sandwiches, along with over 100 cases of bottled water.
Storming its way to Fourth Place in the Open Street Diesel Truck Class was Kyle Kropp’s nasty Duramax. His Silverado would carry him just over 319 feet. In the Work Stock Class, he would end up third, hauling the iron Bungart sled a total of 341 feet.
Despite not being able to get on top of the chargers until mid-track, Brian Randall’s 2006 Dodge still managed to yank the sled 323 feet—good enough for Third Place in Open Street. His triple turbo’d Ram lays down more than 1,100 hp on the chassis dyno and has run a 10.69-second quarter-mile.
Kaden Nelson’s compound turbo’d, 650-hp 2009 GMC made a good pass in the Open Street Class. Unfortunately, he hooked just as the evening moisture was beginning to rise to the track’s surface. The result of the added bite cost him his rear driveshaft—still, a small price to pay in the sled pulling game.
When we spotted this old single axle Autocar dump truck parked in the semi section, we were hoping we’d get to see it hooked to the sled. Unfortunately, it was just for show.
This Detroit powered, GMC Diesel 650 is one of the cleanest versions of GM’s early 1950’s big rigs we’ve ever seen. It’s definitely a piece of Americana worth holding onto.
Taking the win in dramatic fashion in Open Street was Jeff Krause and his 2006 Chevy. Sporting a 72mm VGT and an S484 atmospheric charger combination, 250 percent over injectors, and dual CP3s, the 950-hp Duramax set the mark to beat early in the class.
Drew DeClerk’s 12-valve powered standard cab Dodge Ram 2500 was a force to be reckoned with in the Work Stock Class. He would end up Fourth (out of 20 trucks) with a 339-foot effort.
Created by the United Pullers of America organization, the fuel-only 8,500-pound Work Stock Diesel 4×4 Truck Class was designed for daily driven, full-bodied pickup trucks. Class rules prohibit hanging weight, require an OEM driveline and allow a direct bolt-on single turbo to be run. Cummins mills are allowed to utilize a T4 flanged, S300-based turbocharger with up to a 2.6-inch inducer.

Don Newton’s IH666 was one of many red machines taking home wins this year. His 341-foot hook gave him the win in the East Central Iowa Pullers Association’s (ECIPA) 6,700-pound Light Limited Super Stock Class.
Putting his Cummins-powered Super Duty tow rig to work was Corey Finch.
Although a hurt dual disc clutch hampered his efforts to make it to the top in Open Street, Finch’s 2005 Ford sent a respectable 680 hp to the ground.
Aaron Cully has been at it for years in his LLY Duramax. He’s a regular in the UPA Work Stock Diesel Truck Class, where there is no shortage of Duramax competition.
Another strong running 12-valve candidate in the Work Stock Class was Morgan Primm’s Dodge Ram 3500. This truck takes advantage of class rules, which allow Cummins powered vehicles to use a T4 flanged, S300-based turbocharger. Unfortunately, some clutch gremlins shut Morgan down a tad early in his run.

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