Tractor Pull Has Shaky Future

1 decade 8 months 1 day ago Monday, February 19 2007 Feb 19, 2007 Monday, February 19, 2007 11:01:33 PM CST February 19, 2007 in News

"The city council and the mayor of Higbee have told us that we can no longer use the ground down here, because the railroad says we can't," said Jeff Crooks, of Higbee Community Betterment.

But organizers say it's more than a simple issue of land use.

Crooks said this decision isn't about the railroad; it's about the mayor's son.

"Chuck Bankhead was a member of our Community Betterment. He was our treasurer for a couple of years, and he embezzled money from us. He is now in jail, and we feel that this is just an act of retribution," Crooks said.

Other people in the Randolph County town agree.

"I don't think the railroad would have ever said anything if someone hadn't spoken up here in the city," said Higbee resident Randy Hudson.

Crooks said he and his group aren't going to simply walk away from this battle. The railroad company could not be reached for comment. Higbee Mayor Charla Bankhead said the Higbee Community Betterment group never had permission to use the land.

For Crooks, it's also a personal battle: he said he spent more than $20,000 preparing the land for the tractor pull.

Higbee Mayor Carla Bankhead told KOMU the association never had permission to use the land in the first place.  KOMU was unable to reach Kansas City Southern Railroad due to the President's Day holiday.

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