Preschooler gives new meaning to the term ‘pedal pusher’In the summer of 2007, town of River Falls resident April Rixmann read about a pedal tractor pulling competition that was to be held at the Pierce County Fair in Ellsworth.
By: Vera Roy-Stoeberl, River Falls Journal
In the summer of 2007, town of River Falls resident April Rixmann read about a pedal tractor pulling competition that was to be held at the Pierce County Fair in Ellsworth.
Just for fun, she and husband Jeff Rixmann entered their “tribe” for five children in the contest’s various age levels and started what they hope becomes a family tradition.
With no prior experience except for playing on Jeff’s two antique pedal tractors he had kept since his childhood days, the Rixmann kids did remarkably well. Playing on those toy tractors “…turned into more than just fun,” said April. “It was free to sign up,” she said of the county competition, “…so we thought we’d give it a try.”
Tim, Heidi, Nate, Sam and Alli Rixmann signed up to compete in Ellsworth again last August and all, with the exception of Sam, who decided at the last minute that he’d rather not compete, did well again.
Their results: Tim, age 12 1/2, placed second in his age group of 11- and 12-year-old boys; Heidi, age 9, placed second against 9- and 10-year-old girls; Nate, age 7, placed first in his age group of 7- and 8-year-old boys, while 4 1/2-year-old Alli placed second against other girls her same age. Sam did not place. The Rixmann kids’ high placement on the county level made them eligible to compete on the state level.
Those high rankings made the Rixmanns eligible to take part in state competitions. Held at the St. Croix Falls Fairgrounds in mid-September, this time Tim came in fourth; Heidi came in fifth; Nate also came in fourth, missing third place only by four inches; while Alli came in first. There she won a trophy, almost as tall as she is, to add to her collection of previously won medals.
April explained that the pedal tractors that competitors drive are provided by the Pedal Pullers Association in Osceola. Members of the group refurbish the toy models that imitate real ones, and keep the tractors in tip-top condition for competitive use. Youngsters up to and including 12 years of age pull anywhere from 100 to 500 pounds down a track based on their age levels.
Once a pedal tractor puller/competitor reaches age 13, their competition days are over.
Just a few weeks ago, Alli continued her winning ways taking second place in the “sport’s” national contest held in Mitchell, S. D., at that city’s popular Corn Palace landmark. There she won another trophy equal in size to the last one.
Next Alli will move on to international competition which will be held in June somewhere in Iowa. The United States just happens to be the country picked for the event. And what better place to host the contest than in the heart of the nation’s breadbasket where tractors are plentiful?
The competition there might be a little stiffer there. Alli will pedal her way against the top five four-year-old winners from all over the world. One advantage she’ll have over other “pedal pushers” is the loving support of her proud parents and cheers from her encouraging and enthusiastic brothers and sister.