Jamie Jones-Eaton certainly isn’t in truck pulling for the money.
Actually he’s put about $100,000 into his trumped up 97 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Turbo Diesel over the last four years.
“It’s a terrible sport, I’m broke,” the 24-year-old Embro resident said coyly Saturday just hours before he pulled in front of his hometown crowd.
Blue skies and comfortable temperatures brought out more than 5,000 spectators Saturday to the event organized by the Oxford County Junior Farmers.
Eaton said his love of the sport started in his youth on the farm.
“I’ve played around with diesel since I was young, Pulling just seemed like the next level,” he said.
Every other weekend in the summer, Jones competes in pulls across the province as part of the Southwestern Ontario Tractor Pullers Association.
He spends countless hours tweaking his truck and has done some major overhauls multiple times over the last four years. He’s replaced the engine, and transmission three times.
“That’s why Action Transmissions is one of my sponsors,” he said with a grin.
His hard work’s paid off as he’s currently ranked third in his class of pro-street diesel.
He said he wouldn’t be able to participate in the sport without the support of both his sponsors.
“Thank-you to all my sponsors for their support. Streef Produce out of Princeton and Action Transmissions from Woodstock are the two main ones,” he said.
Virginia Dibble, of Oxford County Junior Farmers said having local pullers like Eaton makes the day’s events more exciting.
“It’s great to have someone like Jamie pulling it gives the crowds someone local to cheer for,” she said.
This year was eighth truck and tractor pull put on by the Oxford County Junior Farmers group. About eight junior farmers organize the event each year with the help of several dedicated community members. More than 175 volunteers work the event from the food booth, to parking, track maintenance, garbage duty and setup and takedown.
“It takes a lot of planning and a lot of volunteers to put this together,” Dibble said.
The pull’s raised a large amount money for Junior Farmers over the years. Profit from the event are put back into the local community.
Dibble said over the last two years $50,000 has been donated with $5,000 going to each hospital in Oxford County, $5,000 to the Farm and Food Care organization in Geulph, $12,000 the Embro community centre fund, and the remaining was donated to the various groups that help out during the tractor pull.
“Embro has been very supportive of us. We have so many different sponsors within the community and so many local spectators come out to watch,” she said.
The Oxford County Junior Farmers are always looking for new members to join its group. The group is mostly social, said Dibble who originally joined five years to meet people.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s very social,” she said.
A new recruitment meeting is being held Aug. 10 at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Farming in Woodstock.