Truck and tractor event benefits Camp Wonderland

Leah Scott of California, Mo., hits the throttle on her diesel-powered Dodge "Executioner" and powers the sled down the fairgrounds track during the Jefferson City Jaycees "Pulling For Camp" truck and tractor pull on Saturday night.

Leah Scott of California, Mo., hits the throttle on her diesel-powered Dodge "Executioner" and powers the sled down the fairgrounds track during the Jefferson City Jaycees "Pulling For Camp" truck and tractor pull on Saturday night. Photo by Kris Wilson.

Larry Kemna’s daughter helped him build his tractor, so he said it seemed fit that he name it after her, Jada’s Toy.

Kemna and his tractor participated Saturday in the Pulling for Camp Truck and Tractor Pull that was sponsored by the Jefferson City Jaycees at the Jefferson City Fairgrounds.

More than 50 tractors participated in the event, seeing which could pull the most weight.

All proceeds from the event benefit Wonderland Camp on the Lake of the Ozarks. The camp provides a “fun, educational summer camp experience for mentally and physically disabled individuals,” especially kids.

Event organizer Jennifer Largent said the event, which is in its eighth year, typically raises an average of $10,000 for the camp.

Kemna, of Jefferson City, has participated in tractor pulls, like Saturday’s, for five years. He said he had wanted a tractor since he was a young child.

Tractor pull season runs now through September. Saturday’s pull was the first of the season and Kemna expects to compete in more than 20 pulls.

Pullers had the opportunity to test and tune their tractors Saturday afternoon at the fairgrounds. The competition was Saturday evening.

“It gives us a chance to test it (our tractor) out,” he said. “We can see where our weak points are.”

A bracket broke on Kemna’s tractor during a test run Saturday afternoon. He had to go home and get a part, but said it would be ready to go by the evening’s competition.

Prior to the start of the season, Kemna said pullers prepare by changing rings and bearings and sometimes even overhauling an entire tractor.

“Sometimes it’s just wiping off the dust and bringing it out,” he said.

He said he’s put nearly $37,000 into his tractor since he began pulling, but he’s on the low end of budget. Some pullers spend more than $100,000.

“Some take it really seriously,” Kemna said. “For some, it’s just a hobby.”

Pullers earn points throughout the season at Mid Missouri Truck and Tractor Pulling Association (MMTTPA) sanctioned pulls and then the top cumulative scores at the end of the season win prizes. Saturday’s pull was one of MMTTPA’s.

Lucy Albertson, treasurer of MMTTPA, said proceeds from the organization’s events always benefit a cause.

“This is for a great cause,” Albertson said of Saturday’s pull. “People want to help kids.”

Accompanying photo: Leah Scott competes

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