My Infamous Tractor Pull Story
The population of Nebraska declined from 1985 to 1986. I'm pretty sure I know why. In fact, there is good reason to believe that I am directly responsible. That brings me to one of the most memorable moments in my life. My friends call it "the infamous tractor pull story". As much as I have tried to forget it over the years, I get repeated requests to retell it. So, here goes.
Brief back story first. I started being a radio person back in 1983 when I was a junior at Hannibal High School. By 1985, I decided I wanted to be a "big-time radio star". That led me to take a radio job in North Platte, Nebraska. (Yeah, I know. Great plan, huh?!?) Upon arriving in North Platte, our station manager (who liked to drink...a lot) decided that it would be a good idea for me to "get to know the people of North Platte". So, he signed me up for a media event at the county truck and tractor mud pull.
If you've never been to a "mud pull" in Nebraska, check this video out.
Anyway, the "plan" was for all the local media people to run through this mud pit before the actual event started. This included the new kid in town (me). I was wearing jeans and thought it odd that everyone else was wearing shorts. (Trust me, you don't want to see Nebraska people in shorts) Little did I know that this fact would doom me.
I had decided that I would long jump into the mud pit so I wouldn't be like the other media losers and have to slog through extra mud. Great plan...except I had not realized what blue jeans do when they land in mud vertically. As I landed, I could hear both pant legs suction in to several feet of mud. My fate was now set.
As all the other media people went by me, I realized that I was stuck. Literally stuck. I couldn't move. Both pant legs had locked into the mud pit. Several painful minutes later, some of the event organizers tried to come pull me out. That was unfortunately unsuccessful. So, they brought out a tractor with some rope and attached my hands to the rope. The resulting events are still burnt into my mind like it was yesterday.
The tractor was able to pull me from that mud pit. But, there was one big problem. My pants did not successfully make the trip out of that mud pit. My hands were tied by the tractor. So, as it began to pull and I realized I was coming out of the mud pit and my pants weren't, all I could do was yell. Which I did. The guy pulling the tractor thought I was yelling at him to go faster. I wasn't.
There I was finally out of the mudpit dressed the same as I was the day I was born...without pants....standing in front of nearly 3000 stunned North Platte, Nebraska residents. I had done what my boss had wanted me to do. I had gotten to know the people of North Platte.