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Families 'pull' together

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GREENFIELD — “Beat Anna, Beat Anna,” got the adrenaline pumping for 8-year-old Bradley Durnell.

After all, he had something to prove. Last year, Bradley’s twin sister earned a first-place trophy at the annual pedal pull at the Hancock County 4-H Fair.

“I beat him last year,” Anna said proudly.

“Yeah, but I had a cast on, so that doesn’t really count,” he said.

A cheering crowd of cousins chanted for Bradley Tuesday. As he soared across the stage, he accomplished what most of the 80 youngsters couldn’t do. As weight increased on his mini tractor, Bradley was able to perform a full pull across the entire stage.

“His goal is to go off the end of the stage,” said his mother, Amanda Durnell. “

The Pendleton twins were among many who enjoyed a cool evening of family fun at the pedal pull. It was no surprise that Bradley got a first-place trophy in his class, though Anna finished third.

The event started roughly 30 years ago as a way to get youngsters involved in the fair.

Several of the children offered tips on winning.

Bradley Durnell said he loves to ride his bike, and that helps.

“You’ve got to put your arms straight, lean back and pedal,” he said.

Madison Engleking, 6, was beaming after she earned a trophy.

“You have to pedal fast and sort of watch your wheels and make sure you don’t get stuck,” she said.

Shirley resident Mike Hill joked with his 6-year-old son, Braydon.

“What does dad tell ya? If you don’t win, you don’t eat,” he said.

Evan Arthur, 8, got quite the reaction from the queen and her court. Evan, an avid bike rider, pedaled so hard that his front wheel stuck up in the air.

“I just practice popping wheelies,” he said.

Event organizer Erin Cain said for many, the event is a family tradition. That certainly proves true for her family: Erin and her husband, Chris, were in the pedal pull when they were children three decades ago when Chris’ parents ran the event. Now, the Cains’ children, Alyssa and Ryan, are in the pedal pull, along with several nieces and nephews.

Even fair Queen Abby Seifert is a cousin. She cheered on her relatives and even performed a full pull herself during the traditional round where the queen’s court tried the tractors.

Tuesday they were using Chris Cain’s old red International miniature tractor for the smallest kids. That was a problem for 3-year-old Tori Deutch, who did not want to participate until she could use a green one.

“She wanted John Deere because she likes John Deere,” said her father, Mike, laughing.

Seifert said she was happy to be cheering on her cousins at the event she enjoyed years ago.

“I’m really proud of them,” she said. “They’ve grown up so much.”

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