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Thousands brave cold for truck tugs

January 17, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

It is an event near and dear to the hearts of North Fort Myers residents, and on Saturday, a nearly packed house came to see an old-fashioned tug-o-war, country style.

Nearly 20 trucks came to the Posse Arena for bragging rights at the Florida Truck Tugs and the cold didn't stop families from coming out for a fun night out.

The concrete strip under the arena dirt was dug out, cleaned up and made ready for battle as trucks in two different weight classes competed in a best-out-of-three clash.

Article Photos

One of the most important things a truck-tugger can do is keep the tires clean, like this person was doing at the Lee County Posse Arena on Saturday.


Cliff Garlick, who won the 6,750-pound class, the smaller trucks, said it's that desire to compete that makes him do it.

"My body gave out sportswise, I've had 11 surgeries. I got into trucking and mudding in the early 1990s. We did sled pulls, and when that died out, we did this," Garlick said. "It's about who has the best truck on any given night or pad, concrete, asphalt and even steel plates."

Unlike what you might expect, there wasn't much in the way of spinning tires or engines revving at top speeds. In fact, spinning your wheels is usually the first sure sign of defeat.

Those who succeed have a very keen foot on the gas, with finesse being the most likely way to victory.

It also helps to have clean tires. Once the trucks hit the concrete, the team members clean tires with towels while track officials use power blowers to blast the dirt and rubber off the track.

It all makes for a great night out for the competitors as well. Garlick defeated Ashley Andrews in her famous Rusty Smurf, while Jesse Hall had to battle through the loser's bracket to win the 9,000-pound class after winner's bracket winner, Justin Gibson, overheated his truck after losing the first pull and had to retire.

"I wish I could have hooked to him again and pulled him again. I had to work my way back up to the top. I had cold, dirty tires the first round. I hadn't warmed up," Hall said, adding the fact he had to work his way through the loser's bracket helped him. "I enjoy it. We all get along. There are hard feelings occasionally, but cooler heads prevail."

Brooke Holler was one of several women competing. She would be considered a trailblazer, as she was the first to compete. On this night, she struggled.

"My truck didn't transfer. It didn't pull worth a darn. Once I spun the tires, that was it," Holler said. "But we can compete; the girls come and win. There are only two of us tonight, but usually there are four or five."

By the time the smaller trucks competed, some of the crowd made it an early night, especially those with kids, as the cold kicked in.

Jason Bryant, of Cape Coral and his wife, Julia, and their kids stuck it out, as it was one of their birthdays. He said he loved any opportunity to do family fun nights.

"It's a real nice event. This is my first time and we like it," Jason Bryant said.

"Spending quality time together with your family is really important," Julia added.

Meanwhile, Keith Demers and Melissa Hughes came from Colorado for vacation and so Keith could ask Melissa to marry him, which he did in Sanibel.

"We're celebrating here at the truck pull. We love it. We have a guy named Frog who we know and this is where we decided to hold the celebration party," Keith said.



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