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Paynesville Press - Oct. 2, 2002

Pedal tractor puller takes sixth at nationals

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

Trent Blonigen Using brute strength, eight-year-old Trent Blonigen of Paynesville pedaled his way to sixth place at the National Pedal Tractor Pull in Omaha, Neb.

On Saturday, Sept. 28, Trent competed against 22 eight-year-olds to see which one of them was the best in the nation.

Trent has been competing in pedal tractor pulls since 1999, when he got his first taste of competition at Paynesville's Town and Country Days. Since then he has competed at pedal tractor pulls in Albany, Melrose, Belgrade, Grove City, and the Stearns County Fair.

He competed once before in the national competition in Omaha, in 2000, when he also took sixth place. He qualified for the nationals this year by winning the state title in his age group at Hutchinson on Saturday, Sept. 17.

Trent, a second grader at Paynesville Area Elementary School, said the secret to his success is his strength. He said he lifts weights and throws hay bales to get stronger.

During a competition, he starts pedaling as fast and as hard as he can. He tries to run over the toes of the person walking in front of him. He admits that he has never succeeded in catching the worker that stands in front of the tractor during the pull, but he keeps on trying.

Pedal tractor pulls are very similar to real tractor pulls. The idea is to pull a weighted sled as far as possible. The tractor that pulls the weight the farthest is the winner. Trent's sixth place pull was 19' 7". The winner in the eight-year-old category went 25' 8".

While the Blonigen family - Trent, his parents Kevin and Joan, and his brother Travis was in Omaha they enjoyed the carnival, they visited a petting zoo, and they went to the dog races. Besides riding in the competition, the high point of Trent's trip was successfully riding a mechanical bull.

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