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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Home » » BETTER THAN HEARSAY - Some Other Day


Written By The Mountain Eagle on 6/7/24 | 6/7/24

By Michael Ryan

ASHLAND - The conversation tends to go hither and thither at the Ashland Tractor Pull which was on the roll again, last Saturday, hosted by the Ashland Historical Association.

More than a few folks gathered at the Ashland town park, sittin’ and schmoozin’ from not long after sunrise ’til not long before sunset.

They were ostensibly there to watch John Deere and Farmall tractor drivers drag heavy weight down a dirt track further than anybody else.

That was a small part of why they showed up, though. “We’re here to have a little fun with our kids and the community,” said Jim Decker, wearing his “Dan’s Septic” work shirt which was getting plenty dusty.

“The main thing is the fundraiser,” said Decker whose son, Copper, was waving the green or red flag, telling the drivers to get busy or wait.

Dollars were being sought to help the Historical Association continue its preservation of the West Settlement Church, out on County Route 10, Association member John Albert said.

And when that years-long task is finished, attention can be turned to the old Presbyterian Church between Ashland and Windham, hopefully transforming it into a home for Association artifacts.

Toward that end, a second Tractor Pull is slated for October 5 at the same site for the same purpose which Albert said, “might be a sweater day.”

T-shirts were more than enough in the blue sky afternoon where Dig It Dunbar was seated in the makeshift bleachers, talking a blue streak.

Dig It was being his usual good-old-boy self, reminiscing about bygone times when he and a bunch of other dudes would do mud-bogging for hours in the quarry just over the hill from the tractor pull track.

They’d make a trench wet and sloppy and scream old cars through it, trying not to get stuck, He also did garden tractor pulls, hauling who-knows-what,  which is no way to treat a gardening tool but lord a’mighty, wasn’t it sweet.

The next generation of tractor pullers was in the thick of things, including 7-year-old Emmalyn Ernst from Grand Gorge, absorbing everything her stonewall-strong daddy Josh Ernst was doing.

“This is all about the benefit,” Josh Ernst said, noting he doesn’t even really count how far he drags the weights, putting the priority instead on “taking the kids with me” when he climbed behind the wheel, 

And brimming over with country confidence, 12-year-old Michael Kiel, his roots in Prattsville, said he wants to one day make his living as a mechanical engineer, being the boss, making money.

But some other day. This particular day was for playing.

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