Tractor Pulling a Family Affair for One Mid-Mo Family
JEFFERSON CITY - Pulling thousands of pounds down a 320 foot track with a supped-up tractor might not seem like a normal way to spend a Saturday night. But for one mid-Missouri family, it's a way of life.
"I was very very nervous," said Braden Shramek about his first time behind the wheel of a tractor.
Braden is 14 years old, but he started tractor pulling at the age of 11.
He finished second in his first competition on his hot farm tractor at the pull in Jefferson City on Aug. 25.
While other 11-year-olds were still playing kickball on the playground, Braden started operating heavy machinery. But, he had good supervision.
His dad Brian Shramek is a 5-time Grand National Champion with his Diesel Super Stock Tractor, Young Blood. And like his son, Brian got started at an early age.
"I grew up in it. My dad, was a long time tractor puller back in the 60s, 70s. And when I was 12 years old he put me on a tractor of my own and we started pulling then," said Brian Shramek.
Braden is the third in line to a tractor-pulling legacy that has spanned nearly half a century. He realizes those are some big shoes to fill.
"It makes me feel special, but I also feel like I have a lot to be compared to," said Braden.
A lot to be compared to as his dad tries to snag his 6th national championship in a row. He set the record last year at five championships in a row.
"This year we're up for a pretty good battle. We finished 4th and it put us down in points, but we still have 3 hooks left, but we're trying for our sixth one," said Brian Shramek after his race in Jefferson City on Aug. 25.
But Shramek doesn't just pull for the glory. Nine years ago, he brought the Grand National Event to Jefferson City as a fundraiser that raises between $15,000 and $20,000 each year for local charities like the make-a-wish foundation and children's hospitals.
"Just to give back to the community. We've done it for various things," said Brian Shramek.
This year, the Samaritan center will be getting the proceeds from the weekend's pull.
Brian and his wife Angela have been married for almost 20 years. And tractor pulls have been a big part of those years.
"We took our honeymoon to a tractor pull," said Angela Shramek.
Tractor pulling is a family affair for the Shrameks. At least a dozen family members came out to the track to support Brian and Braden at the pull in Jefferson City. It's that family support that keeps them going, or pulling.
The Shrameks live in Williamsburg and run a farm when they aren't busy tractor pulling. Brian Shramek pulled over the weekend and finished 4th in Wauseaon, Ohio. He is now two points behind the leader with two pulls remaining in Sandwich, Ill. on Saturday, Sept. 8.
For the latest standings, click here and then click on the SS Diesel (Super Stock Diesel) tab on the bottom of the page.