Archive for Thursday, October 2, 2003

Beauty, beasts new to festival

Miss EudoraFest, garden tractor pull make debut Saturday

October 2, 2003

In EudoraFest's seventh year, the ever-growing community festival will inaugurate two activities to its lineup. Main Street will be closed from Seventh to 10th streets Saturday to accommodate festival activities downtown. Church Street will be the detour.
A Miss EudoraFest pageant is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. at the festival bandstand downtown. Also, a Lawrence couple is bringing a competitive edge to EudoraFest this year with a stock garden tractor and lawn mower pull. Orville and Charlene Calhoon will run the event, set to begin at noon at the parking lot near the former Eudora Middle School at Ninth and Main streets. Registration will begin at 11 a.m.
The Calhoons travel across the state and beyond from Winfield to Platt City, Mo., to run the competitions in which they often compete as well.
"We go all around," Charlene Calhoon said. "This will be our 15th one this year."
The couple started the events when they and other antique garden tractor collectors wanted a way to show off their vehicles during shows.
"They wanted to do something besides just display them," she said.
If the "big guys" could have tractor pulls, Calhoon said, why not smaller tractors, too?
The contest requires safety precautions, such as removing belts from the mower deck or installing wheelie bars so they don't tip over. For questions about requirements, Orville Calhoon can be reached at 841-2299.
The contest will be divided into several classes, from machines up to 600 pounds to those weighing 1,000 pounds. Charlene Calhoon said children usually competed with the smaller vehicles, with adults taking on the larger ones. Because the machines are weighedwith the driver, Calhoon said the same vehicle could qualify in different categories, depending on the driver.
During competition, weight was added to the tractors every ten feet, she said.
"The bigger the tractor, the more weight you have to have to stop them," she said.
Calhoon said her husband liked to meet with the drivers about 15 minutes before the competition started to inaugurate the newcomers as well as match competitors up with vehicles.
The EudoraFest competition will include three places per class, and competitors don't necessarily need their own wheels. Calhoon said the couple often loaned their vehicles to willing children whose parents let them compete.
"We try to work with them, because they're the ones who love it," she said. "The expressions on their faces are priceless."
The youngest competitors, she said, were often the most comical, too.
"The little ones don't know what's slowing them down, so they're looking back instead of where they're going," she said.

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