Geray seeking entrants for first ‘human pull’
By Cole Short, Hillsboro Banner
This year’s annual Hillsboro Days draft horse and pony pull may have as much horsepower as ever – but crowds may be treated to a rare display of manpower.
Organizer Paul Geray has announced plans to debut a human pull following the regularly scheduled horse pull Saturday, June 15.
“It’s something I’ve been kicking around for many, many years,” Geray, who owns Paul’s Hometown Repair in Hillsboro, said Tuesday.
“I’ve never heard of anyone doing this before, so it could be a lot of fun.”
Geray said he’s still hammering out the rules for Hillsboro Days’ first human pull.
So far, he’s envisioning signing up teams of two contestants and possibly a driver who can command teams when to start and stop.
Geray is building a special skid for the event similar to one used in horse pulls.
The skid will include an evener that won’t allow athletes to pull too far ahead of their partners, putting an emphasis on teamwork.
“That’s the beauty in this. The trick about horse pulls is getting the horses to pull together at the same time,” Geray said. “If one horse pulls ahead it can really mess things up.”
Like most horse pulls, teams can win either by heaviest load or percentage pull, where the weights of the participants are taken into account.
The biggest team doesn’t always walk away with the trophy, Geray said.
“You can’t just go by size. You have to go by heart and strength,” he said.
Competitors will be required to pull their skids 10 feet, although that distance may be amended if it proves too lengthy, he said.
Geray said he’s open to splitting teams into classes based on interest.
Elementary-age entrants, high school teams and men’s and women’s classes could be included if a sufficient number of teams register.
“The sky is the limit. Maybe we have teams of kids, maybe it’s moms and dads out there,” Geray said. “Maybe the Mayville State football team will show up.”
Geray agreed that the human pull will be reminiscent of strong-man competitions featured prominently on ESPN stations decades ago.
However, the pull could provide a fair amount of comedic moments as well.
“Hopefully people find it entertaining,” Geray said. “It’s a chance for people to come out and maybe watch their friends do something a little crazy.
“I want people to have fun with it. But we need people to sign up in advance so we know there’s interest in it. If there’s no interest, there’s no reason to keep pursuing it.”
Anyone interested in taking part in the Hillsboro Days human pull can text or call Geray at 701-430-0922.
There is no cost to participate in the event.