Detroit Shoot-Out puts twist on classic tractor pull
— The Detroit Shoot-Out is one of the Cecil County Fair’s most unique events, but despite its name, it has nothing to do with guns.
The Detroit Shoot-Out is a tractor pull featuring only tractors with the Detroit diesel engine.
“They’re 3-cylinder tractors with a very unique sound,” said Don Moore,vice president of the Cecil County Fair Board. “They’re usually Olivers or Masseys.”
Jerry Hershey, emcee of the event held Friday night, said in years past the shootout would bring these special tractors from New York, Virginia and other states to compete.
“This year we only have four,” Hershey said. “In other years we’d have 10 to 12.”
Watching the competition, Vernon Horst recalled a time in the past when he owned one of these classic machines.
“I had the first Detroit,” the Rising Sun dairy farmer said, noting he started the local craze with that purchase in 1994. “People saw it and other people started buying them.”
Horst said he bought his 990 Oliver for $2,000.
“Then I bought a farm and I had to sell my toys,” he said. “I sold it for $15,000.”
Horst agreed that the Detroits have a distinctive sound.
“It’s a three-cylinder, two-cycle engine like a chain saw,” Horst said. “Other engines fire every other stroke. These fire on every stroke.”
As it pulled against the sled in competition, Ashley Wilhelm’s Oliver made a lot of racket. It’s a sound that thrilled Grant Barczewski.
“Yea Ashley!” the 2-year-old Elkton boy shouted, arms raised in shared triumph.