Pruitt shows women can have some pull, too
(Nov. 21, 2017) Tractor pulling is mainly thought of as a “male sport,” according to Judy Pruitt, who is an active female tractor puller.
“There are not many female pullers, just a handful depending on which club,” she said. “I guess you could say we are the minority of the group.”
Pruitt said she started tractor pulling in July 2016 and now pulls with three different clubs, Central Maryland Antique Tractor Club, Potomac Shenandoah Tractor Club. and Washington County Antique Tractor Club, “and anywhere else I can find that is close by.”
Her tractor is 1955 Case 400 that she purchased in Pennsylvania, and she pulls in the antique and open class from 6,000, 6,500, 7,000, 8,000 and 8,500 pounds.
“I got started because my fiancé, Kevin Long, and his best friend, Corey B. Omps, came up with the great idea that I needed to start pulling,” Pruitt said.
“Their first idea was that I should pull garden tractors,” she said. “Then they decided, since I grew up on a farm and was familiar with tractors, and Kevin and I had attended a lot of antique tractor shows, that I pull antique tractors.
“I guess you could say I now have ‘pulling fever,’” Pruitt added.
A few years before, Long had purchased a Case 1948 LAI that needed restoration, Pruitt said.
“It was supposed to be a Kevin-and-Corey restoration project,” she explained. “Unfortunately, in 2015, Corey passed away due to an accident.”
Not giving up on the idea, Long then searched for a Case tractor that was already restored so Pruitt could start pulling in the summer of 2016, she said.
“The only thing I had ever pulled with a tractor at that time, was hay wagons, a rake, round baler and square baler,” Pruitt said.
“Then in July 2016, I made an exhibition pull after a truck pull, in Berryville, Va.
“I pulled the truck pull sled and went 184 feet” she added.
“My first real competition pull was in Walkersville, Md. with the Central Maryland Antique Tractor Club. I received a third-place trophy in the 7,000-pound class and I have been pulling ever since.”
“Pulling season starts in April and ends in November,” Pruitt said. “Sometimes I pull every weekend and sometimes twice in one weekend,” she said.
“If it was not for the team of people that help me, I wouldn’t be able to do it,” Pruitt added. “The team includes Kevin Long, Kenneth Pruitt, Henley Thomas, Jr. Jimmy Pruitt, Herschel Omps and my family and friends.
“And I cannot forget my special angel, Corey Omps.”
She said she is planning on naming her team to the “Longshot Pulling Team” and she is hoping that the Case LAI will be done and pulling in the 2018 pulling season so I will be pulling two tractors.
“My tractor has a plaque on it that says, “Pulling in Memory of Corey B. Omps”,
“Corey pulled up and down the East Coast with a Ford diesel truck he called “The Real Deal”, and Kevin was a part of his team. Kevin and his cousin used to pull their farm tractors, so Kevin is experienced in pulling,” Pruitt added,
Now in her late 40s, Pruitt works for Loudoun Water in Ashburn, Va.. as manager of Benefits in the Human Resources department.
Her parents are Kenneth and Johnetta Stiles Pruitt.
“My mother grew up on a dairy farm and my father grew up on a beef farm in Montgomery County. I guess agriculture is in my blood and is, of course, part of my family history.
“I do not currently live on a farm.
“When I was growing up, I showed market lambs and Angus heifers in the 4-H program. We moved around a lot because of my dad farming for other people, but we always lived on a farm, normally with beef cattle,” Pruitt said.
“The last farm I lived on was in White Post, Va., at Royal Angus Breeders. My brother, Jimmy, is a farm manager in Front Royal, Va.,” she added.