Bonham Service Center
The Lone Star Garden Tractor Pulling Association, hereafter referred to as the LSGTPA or Club, was formed in late 1999 by 3 individuals interested in garden tractor pulling. The founder’s original purpose in starting Club can’t be better stated than in the current Bylaws: “To secure the fellowship, pleasures, and benefits of an association with persons commonly interested in garden tractor pulling, build good character and sportsmanship in youth and provide affordable fun for the whole family.”
The Club pulls garden and mini rod tractors in the north central Texas area surrounding Dallas/Ft Worth Texas. Pullers converge at community festivals and fairs for friendly competition pulling garden and mini rod tractors against each other.
The organization is a completely volunteer run organization. Different individuals provide their talents for all the tasks that need to happen to run any organization. The LSGTPA is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c) 4, nonprofit organization. It is also recognized by the State of Texas as a non profit organization.
Membership is open to anyone with a desire to be part of a family values organization that pulls tractors.
Before I get into the LSGTPA history I would like to say that without the many past and present individuals providing technical, financial and sweat equity the LSGTPA would not even be in existence. It has been the work of many individuals, working together, using their unique talents that have made the LSGTPA what it is.
The Lone Star Garden Tractor Pullers Association (LSGTPA or Club) started forming in late 1999. The initial meeting of what was to become the LSGTPA was held in a McDonalds just north of downtown Ft. Worth. This meeting was attended by three individuals (Mike Byers, John Hall and Paul Anderson). These individuals, who for several months prior had only talked on the phone, finally meet in person. At this initial meeting plans were made to write a rule book and start promoting the club. Work continued on the club for the next ten months. A rule book was written and “home” pull site was found. Other items needed for administration and running a pull were created or found. All this was accomplished by member donations of time, money, materials and expertise.
This initial work resulted in the LSGTPA hosting its inaugural pull in October 2000. This event was made possible by our friends to the north, the Oklahoma Garden Tractor Pulling Association. The OKGTPA brought there pulling sled and tractors down from Oklahoma to help us host our first pull. The LSGTPA is grateful for the OKGTPA’s support at this inaugural event.
History of the LSGTPA
We started small and grew to around 40+ memberships, give or take, in a couple of years. These “memberships” include family, individual and corporate members. We have continued gaining and regrettably losing members but have steadily remained around this mark.
In April of 2001 the LSGTPA purchased OKGTPA’s pulling sled. A bumper pull trailer was also purchased in April 2001. The Club sorely needed at trailer to haul their new sled. A Club member showed his faith in the Club by providing financing to purchase a trailer. This sled was not sled propelled and required a tractor to pull it back to the start line after each pull. Club members worked during the year on the sled performing general maintenance, repairs, adding weight brackets, new paint and adding lettering.
2002 and 2003 saw the Club continuing to grow. They hosted pulls in and around the north-central Texas area.
Up until the 2004 pulling season the Club had no scales to actually weigh tractors. Until this time pullers were on the “honor” system as far as not being overweight. This all changed when the Club took delivery of a brand new set of scales in January 2004. Pullers were now required to follow class weight limits and weigh their tractor just prior to pulling.
A generator was purchased by the Club in May of 2004 to power the scales.
September of 2004 had the LSGTPA purchasing an Agri-Tronix electronic Measuring System for the Sled. This sled was buil by Kenneth Houlton of Abilene, KS. This device allowed the pull distance to be measured by the distance the sled was pull directly from the sled. This purchase also included a radio linked display for the judges stand to visually see and record the pull distance.
In October 2004 the LSGTPA purchased a self-propelled pulling sled located in Kansas. Member volunteers went to Kansas October 30th and took possession of the sled-propelled sled. LSGTPAs current sled was sold to a Club member in November 2004 and has since been resold to the West Texas Garden Tractor Pullers Association.
March 2006 saw the LSGTPA purchase a Peavy PA System and speakers.
A grader tractor was purchased in December of 2006. Club members designed and built a belly mounted double-V grader blade for the tractor. The grader tractor had a water tank and spray arms added later to help control dust and keep track conditions optimal.
In April 2007 the LSGTPA purchased a gooseneck trailer to transport the sled. The current bumper pull trailer was sold to WTGTPA in June 2008.
June of 2008 had the LSGTPA selling the bumper pull trailer adding to the current fund balance.
August of 2008 had the LSGTPA purchasing a U-Haul box truck. This had been an objective of the Club for some time; having one self-contained unit that would hold all the items the Club needed to host a pull. These items include: PA, Scales, Sled and track marker, cones, etc. Club members, working together as they always have, performed needed repairs making the truck road ready and reliable. They also made provisions for loading, tying down the sled and for securing the other items.
In March of 2009 the Club sold the gooseneck trailer to a fellow Club member.
Spectators love the remote LED display the Club purchased in August of 2010. This 18” sunlight readable, LED remote display will show the pull distance as the puller progresses down the track ending with the final distance of the completed pull. This is the same number seem on the sled and at the judges stand.
Along with yearly maintenance, 2013 saw improvements/changes to the Club’s sled. First Club members decided on a new Red, White and Blue paint scheme for the sled. Second improvement was the addition of a weight bracket to the rear of the sled to help the Youth and Stock class tractors get started on the sandy tracks. To help stop the Mini Rod class tractors making the drag spikes (dozer) on the rear of the sled’s pan operational was the final sled improvement for 2013. The weight box trips a switch near the end of it’s the trolley’s track dropping the dozer. The spikes dig in approximately 2 inches and have always been on the sled but never used.
The Club continues to thrive today thanks to the participation by many individuals and families. We consider ourselves to be a family oriented organization comprised of individuals and families interested in building good character and sportsmanship in youth by providing a venue to learn or grow.
The Club wishes to thank everyone past, present and future for their contributions that have made this Club possible and what it is today.
Note from the author: I created this LSGTPA history document for myself, knowing that I would never be able to remember what happened when. I feel very lucky that I did what I did back in the day, contacting Mike and John and being a part of helping to create the LSGTPA. I am very proud of this organization, its members and what it has been able to accomplish. There have been many individuals who have contributed and have been instrumental to the forming, running and operation of this Club who I have not named. There have been so many and I didn’t want to possibly forget anyone. I appreciate your contributions/donations of advice, physical labor, finances, materials, etc. al. You all know who you are and I am grateful. I feel very lucky to be associated with all of you past and present. Thank you all for what you have given me!
Best Regards and Happy Pulling
PS This is a living document. Please send me any corrections, updates or other contributions you might have.
Lone Star Garden Tractor Pullers Association
North Central Texas Best!