Have a go at tractor pull

If you’re partial to the roar of a loud engine, clouds of black smoke, and a rural yarn or two, odds are you’ll enjoy tractor pulling

Tractor pulle events takes place around New Zealand, with a mix of those involved for fun and those with a more competitive streak. If you can drive a tractor, you’re pretty much set to go.

What is Tractor Pull?

Tractor -pull

Tractor Pulling is recognised around the world as a tractor pulling a specially designed weight transfer sledge. A hard packed clay track is best and is traditionally 100 metres long.

Weight is transferred at a constant rate from the rolling wheeled part of the sledge to a skidpan until the pulling tractor can pull it no more – usually somewhere along the 100-metre track. However, if you make it to the 100-metre mark, you have achieved a Full Pull and qualify to the next round. Each class has a winner, with the overall winner being the class winner who won by the greatest margin (the competitor who beat second place in their class by the most).

In New Zealand, there’s another style of tractor pull where tractors pull a weighted sledge on the 100-metre track against a second competitor and the first to cross the line is the winner. This is known as weight adjusted tractor pull, as the sledge’s weight is adjusted to the tractor’s horsepower to even them up. This is the traditional tractor pull you will see at Field Days around the country and New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays.

What are the different classes and how do they work?

Different tractors have different pulling capabilities. Entrants are split up into weight classes based on the pulling tractor’s weight. Within each weight class, settings on the sledge are not changed, so everyone knows the sledge is treating all competitors equally and fairly – no arguments, no changing chain height, or hitching techniques.

There are also separate divisions for modified tractors. These are usually much lighter but generate a lot more power. Numbers continue to grow and there may need to be a split between diesel- and petrol-powered machines to keep people in similar classes. The ‘older girls’, called the pre-85 division is also rapidly growing, as tractor pulling is a great way to get classic machines out in front of a crowd doing their stuff and not stuck at the back of the hay barn.

Who can participate? 


With many different categories, tractor pull is open to anyone with a tractor – big or small, old or new, original or modified. It’s even open to truck drivers, particularly specialised ag trucks such as spreaders and logging trucks.

All you need is a similar vehicle to compete against and you have a competition. Most tractor pull events are advertised through Facebook or event newsletters, and competitors just turn up on the day. The only restriction on entrants is that they must be road legal to operate the tractors (if you can drive it on the road, you can enter the competition).

How do you get involved?

Local field days are the most common place to find a tractor pull event. There are also several clubs in New Zealand holding events throughout the year. Check online or on Facebook for your local club.

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