Young Farmers and Ranchers celebrate 30 years of antique tractor pull at Delaware State Fair

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The Delaware State Fair is filled with sounds of livestock, carnival rides and concert music. But on the last Saturday of the 10-day event, it’s also filled with sounds of tractor engines revving up for a good competition.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Delaware Young Farmers and Ranchers’ Antique Tractor Pull. Since its inception the tractor pull has been a favorite of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee (YF&R). This event brings together tradition and community. Nathan Thompson, Antique Tractor Pull chair, said “I’m happy to see the Young Farmers and Ranchers keeping a tradition alive with friendly competition and unforgettable memories being made.” Being an antique tractor lover himself, he added “It’s always fun for us to have an excuse to get the old iron or family heirlooms out of the shed.”

In honor of the 30th anniversary, this year’s t-shirt design is a throwback to the original. These shirts will be available for sale at the tractor pull. Quantities are limited, so be sure to arrive early to secure yours.

The Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee hosts its annual Antique Tractor Pull contest in the Quillen Arena at the fairgrounds to raise funds for scholarships and other activities. Last year, the event brought out more than 40 farmers and tractors and over $10,000 in funds raised for YF&R programming.

“It’s a tradition for the YF&R. It especially helps raise funds for our leadership conference experience through the American Farm Bureau Federation. The annual Antique Tractor Pull is a very different event than what a lot of other YF&R Committees put on,” Statewide YF&R Chair Mollie Lynch said.

Tractor Pull participants should register for the popular event ahead of time to ensure a spot in the competition, she added. Tractors are weighed on the day of the event and put in classes based on weight and speed. Participants take turns pulling a sled with a weight chosen by class around the arena with their tractors.

“There’s bragging rights and talk of which brand is better than the others; they just really enjoy the tractors. It’s a neat, unique event. There’s a social aspect of it, too. They just love to get together, show off their tractors and spend the day with each other,” Lynch said.

The day also includes a bonus moment for the YF&R. “We get to showcase our scholarship winners at that event,” she added. “We need the youth of Delaware to become agriculturists whether it’s as a farmer, seed salesman, agronomist… we need those people in our field. We need new ideas. So to be able to promote young people and education is very important to the YF&R. Our hope is that they get an education in agriculture and come back to support Delaware through agriculture.”

For more information about the Delaware Farm Bureau or the YF&R, or to register for the annual Antique Tractor Pull, visit or call the state office at 302-697-3183.

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