Germany's biggest tractor-pulling event takes place this weekend. Once a year, competitors from Europe and beyond gather in the village of Füchtorf to wield some major pulling power.
The Green Monster Tractor pulled to victory in California this year
This weekend, a small village in Western Germany will host the country's biggest tractor-pulling event. Just to be clear, the weekend bash in Füchtorf, near Munster, is not the sport where competitors who are themselves the size of tractors pull machines along by a rope threaded through their teeth. No, no….it's the one where teams use tractors to pull a heavy sled along a course, making a lot of noise and smoke in the process and throwing mud everywhere.
Competitors come from all over Europe and some travel in from the United States. A big draw in Füchtorf is the Green Monster team, who dominated the US Western National competitions in California earlier this year. But the 18 or so team members didn't have too far to travel far. They are Germans.
Team member Daniel Frische tends the Green Monster
For the Green Monster crew, Füchtorf is pretty much home turf. And as they rev up for this weekend knock-down battle for supremacy they know they will face formidable competition from rivals in dozens of "tractors," from genuine factory-built models to custom-built beasts with multiple powerful engines.
For the past two decades, Füchtorf has hosted the annual competition in the last weekend of April, drawing thousands of spectators. This year, the site could see as many as ten thousand spectators on its grandstands and surrounding hills. For a place whose resident population is only around 17,000, Fuchtorf, like the Green Monster Team, is certainly pulling its weight. Indeed, that's the whole point.