For the past seven years, Christian White has been pulling his weight and then some, and it’s finally paying off as he heads to the National Pedal Pull Championships Saturday in Mitchell, South Dakota, for the first time.
“This year is my last year I can do it, so it’s kind of nice to get to nationals this year,” said White.
White, 12, the son of Jesse and Valerie White of Creston, has been participating in tractor pedal pulls at the Union County Fair since he was five years old.
“I don’t really remember it, I just kind of remember being pretty good at it,” said White.
To qualify for the national competition, White had to compete at a state level. On Sept. 7, White placed second in the 30th Annual Iowa Pedal Tractor Pull in Marshalltown.
Tractor pedal pulling is a competitive event popular at county and state fairs, where each competitor sits on a pedal tractor and drags a weighted sled as far as they can go. As the sled is dragged, fiction is created, making the pull increasingly difficult. To win a pedal pull typically takes a considerable amount of strength.
“You need good, strong legs ... I think riding my bike a lot has helped with the power in the pedaling,” said White. “And our school, Mayflower, does a fundraiser – a bike-a-thon – where we just bike all day and bike tracks and trails, so that’s really helped the strength in my legs to pull weight.”
Strength isn’t the only thing required to win. White said it’s important to focus, as well.
“I’ve learned over the years of pedal pulling that you should always look in front of you when you pull. If you turn around, look around, look behind you, it distracts you. It turns you another way and you start slowing down,” he said.
White, who plays on the Panther Football and Wildfire Soccer teams said his pedal pulling is mostly a hobby and doesn’t foresee any plans of competing in the future. However, he has one last pedal pulling goal.
“I’m hoping to win it,” said White said, of the national pedal pulling competition.
White said he’s really enjoyed the events he’s participated, and when asked what he enjoys most, he said, “Winning” with a chuckle.
At the national competition Saturday, White will be competing against children under the age of 12 from 17 states at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. If he places within the top five of his age group, he will receive a trophy.
“They are fun and it’s fun to compete and see other talented people pull,” he said.