Tractor pull to raise money for Columbus schools and construction of convent in Tanzania
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — The Central Wisconsin State Fairgrounds will be the site of the third annual Marshfield Parish Pull, which is put on by Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church. The event is a tractor pull, and funds raised this year will go partially to Columbus Catholic Schools, and any amount raised over $10,000 will go towards the construction of a new convent Saint John’s is involved in building in Tanzania. The event is Friday, July 10, with concessions opening at 5 p.m. and the pull starting at 7 p.m.
Father Samuel Martin of Saint John’s said the event raised over $20,000 last year, $10,000 of which went to the Frederic Ozanam Transitional Shelter. He hopes to raise close to $25,000 this year. Over 2,000 people attended last year’s event.
Dan McGiveron, a Saint John’s church member, got the idea to put on a tractor pull because he knew that other churches around the state were organizing similar events and because he had experience with them as well. Martin said that the tractor pull was initially started as just a fun community event and was not necessarily instituted for the purposes of fundraising.
“(McGiveron) just thought that the folks in central Wisconsin would enjoy another pull, and I thought, ‘Well, even if we don’t make a nickel on it, we might have fun hosting it,’” Martin said. He said that adding fundraising to the fun is a nice benefit of the tractor pull as well as shedding positive light on the Catholic Church.
“If I were to say, you know, what’s the real purpose, it’s to bring people together to have fun, and it doesn’t hurt to put the Catholic Church in a different light too, to say that, ‘Hey, these are nice people, and they know how to have fun,’ and that can build community,” Martin said.
McGiveron said the tractor pull participants are mostly local, but the event does draw contestants from all over the state and even Minnesota. Pullers are paid for their participation in the event.
Martin said the event is very much a chance to socialize while taking in the tractor pull with food and drinks and downtime in between the action of the tractors. July 10 was picked as a good date after July 4 and prior to Hub City Days as the community could show up in large numbers for the event.
“It seems to be a good weekend where there’s not much else going and people are looking for something to do,” Martin said.
Martin and McGiveron said that while the Parish Pull is put on by the church, this event is intended for the whole community to come to and enjoy. McGiveron said the event would be impossible to pull off without the help of about 150 volunteers who have been working to organize the logistics of the Parish Pull.
McGiveron said for those who have never been to a tractor pull, it is worth experiencing.
“I tell people, ‘Hey, just come and check it out.’ It’s a fun event,” McGiveron said.
Martin added that for those concerned about noise, free ear plugs are offered at the event. Admission price for the event is $8 for ages 16 and up, $5 for ages 5-15, and children under the age of 4 are admitted free.