Thousands of horsepower pulling into Norwich

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There will be thousands and thousands of horsepower pulling into Norwich this weekend for the annual Optimist Truck and Tractor Pull at the Rettie Farm on Evergreen Street.

This year’s event features a new multi-engine invitational, with tractors coming from the United States to participate.

John Rettie, a Norwich Optimist member and host of the event, said the multi-engine event has been at the pull in the past, but this is the first time it’s drawing participants from the US.

There are several classes, with both tractor pull circuit and non-circuit events. Those events in the circuit are sanctioned by the Ontario Truck and Tractor Pulling Association, with drivers earning points for their season’s performance.

There are also classes ranging from the multi-engines to a farm pull for anyone 16 years of age or over with a tractor and permission from parents (for anyone under age of a adult).

The Norwich Optimist event started several years ago as a ‘bush pull’ for fun.

“They worked out so well, we went for the sanctioned event and it’s been bigger and better every year,” said Rettie.

The action starts Friday night at 6 p.m. with the ‘celebrity pull’ and continues through the evening, followed by entertainment from Canadian country singer Leah Daniels and opening band Evermile from Ontario.

Saturday’s pulling starts at 10 a.m. and runs throughout the day.

There are also activities for the whole family, including a children’s fun area, helicopter rides, hot air balloon rides, food booths and beer tent.

Rettie anticipates 2,500 people each day for the event, which is the Norwich Optimist Club’s major fundraiser for the year. He’s hoping there will be over $25,000 raised that goes “right back to kids in the community.”

“I look forward to it each year,” Rettie said. “We put a lot of work into it every year.”

Gates open at 5 p.m. on Friday with admission costing $15 for those 13 and over. Children 12 and under are $5 and under four are free. Gates open at 9 a.m. on Saturday with admission at $20 for age 13 and over, $5 for children 12 and under, and free for children under four. Weekend passes are available for $30 for 13 and over and $10 for 12 and under.

Entrance to the event is on Evergreen Street, just west of Highway 59 and the Optimist corn maze, which opens in September for the season.

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