It’s more than just a tractor.
It’s a man and his machine.
It’s the very thing that Ashtabula County Fair Board member Bob Jones hopes will “pull” people together in every sense of the word.
Such is what happened with Ashtabula residents Lee Pendleton, Rick Pildner and Warren Truesdell.
Many folks in the county know Pendleton as the guy with an airplane engine in his tractor. He was always at local tractor pulls 35 or so years ago, including the fair.
Pendleton and his partners were seen around the region, winning big meets in the U.S. and Canada.
After a few years, they retired City Slicker and tucked the big blue pulling machine away in storage.
Then, last year, the National Tractor Pull Association called Pendleton and said they were looking for old tractors to place in a museum for six weeks.
Pendleton, Pildner and Truesdell, who built City Slicker from scratch in 1977, cleaned the dust off of the machine and polished it up.
When the museum released it, the men decided to bring their machine out of retirement.
Jones was thrilled to hear that and wanted it back at the fair.
“It’s great Wednesday night entertainment,” he said. “People want to see old tractors.”
Pendleton promises, “It’s the one and only City Slicker.”
The show at the fair, set for 7 p.m. Aug. 8, will be a test pull.
“Anything can happen,” he said.
Looking over City Slicker and its many unique features, including the snazzy paint job by Ashtabula artist John Torma makes even city slickers believe in the potential fun to be had at a tractor pull at an agriculturally based county fair.
City Slicker’s charm starts with a Rolls-Royce-style nose and a 650-pound rail like a trolley car rides on.
“This brings the front-end down when it starts to pull,” Pendleton said. “There’s also a custom home-built clutch that gives you the same launch every time.”
Where most men sit behind the motor, Pendleton or Pildner sit in front.
“Rick (Pildner) will drive at the fair,” Pendleton said.
Add three turbo charges, an Allison aircraft V-12 engine, big chains and two huge tires fitted close together for better traction and you’ve got City Slicker.
There are plenty of safety switches, in case anyone is starting to worry.
“You need a lot of horsepower to beat the other guys,” he said. “When we get through with it, it should make about 2,500 horsepower.”
Fuel? It runs on alcohol.
“You don’t want to drink it,” Pendleton said. “You’ll go blind.”
City Slicker returns to the Ashtabula County Fair at 7 p.m. Aug. 8 when Lucas Oil Pro Pulling Series, under the direction of Power Pulling Productions, will present truck and tractor pulling at the track in front of the grandstand. Cost is $4 paid at the grandstand, plus the $7 price of admission to the fairgrounds, unless you are age 14 or younger (it’s Kid’s Day). Then, you get into the fairgrounds free, but still have to pay the $4 at the grandstand .