Worthington, Ohio---It's billed as "Built for Big." In a few months, we'll find out how it handles the rumble and roar of Championship Pulling.
In conjunction with the Michiana Event Center, the National Tractor Pullers Association will present the NTPA Shipshewana Spring Nationals on Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23. Less than two years old, the interconnected convention, equine, and concert venue in north-central Indiana will launch its largest motorsports event to date with five invitational classes on each of two nights that will rock the facility's 100,000-square-foot Trade Show building.
"We have been selective when entering the indoor pulling market," remarked Gregg Randall, NTPA General Manager. "The success of the NTPA Winter Nationals in Cloverdale in January has provided a blueprint of what our company desires in expanding that realm. The versatility of the MEC meets our parameters. When they approached us, we felt that it would add something for our competitors and fans to enjoy in early spring.
"The facility overall is impressive," Randall added. "The whole complex is a real jewel for the Shipshewana region, and we think it will be a great fit for indoor pulling."
Light Super Stock and Super Farm Tractors (top GN finishers and promoter selections) and Limited Pro Stock Tractors and StainlessDiesel.com Pro Stock Diesel 4x4 3.0 Trucks will compete each evening starting at 6 p.m. Additionally, Light Unlimited Modifieds will rattle the rafters with exhibition passes.
"We are incredibly excited about this," said Jeff Fought, the Center's Marketing and Events Director. "We feel this NTPA event has the potential to be one of the largest---if not the single largest---event we put on here at the MEC."
Fought and facility manager Dennis Fry have filled their 25-acre, $19 million facility with a flurry of functions since it opened under in 2017 under their leadership. Between early December and the Spring Nationals, the MEC will host the Winterfest Consignment Auction, the Outdoor Sportsman Show, the Midwest Home and Yard Show, the Michiana Camping and RV Show, and the Northern Indiana Woodcrafters Association Furniture Expo. The 250,000-square-foot, three-structure complex---consisting of the Trade Show Building, the Coliseum, and the Stall/Staging Building---has been equally suited to national horse sales, two Blue Collar Comedy Tour shows, Professional Bull Riders rodeos, a Justin Moore concert, and a Christmas market.
"Here at the MEC, we only want to associate with what we feel are the best organizations," Fought continued. "And when we partner with one, we want to have a massive event." At press time, Fought wasn't certain of the exact tonnage of clay that will be hauled in to build the track, but noted that "it is being stacked and covered behind our main building. It's a mountain! We are going to have to work nights and nonstop to pull this off."
Accompanying the NTPA pull will be the Michiana Farm Show, sponsored by Grogg-Martin Auction and Realty and the MEC. Access to the farm show will be included in pull admission. Opening each day at noon and featuring tractor and equipment dealerships, seed companies, and farm support businesses, the show will be housed in the Coliseum, which is positioned between the two buildings that will share event operations. The staging barn will contain the cold pit area, while the Trade Show Building will be configured to seat over 3,000 attendees. About a quarter of that capacity will be designated for trackside VIP seating with the balance being accommodated via portable bleachers. The facility's own Amish-made concessions will be on sale throughout each day, and parking at the MEC is plentiful, with 1,100 paved spaces adjacent to the buildings and a well-lit overflow area across the street.
The greater Shipshewana area is not without its own bustle of activity, and traveling fans are encouraged to make a vacation weekend out of their trip as they (hopefully) celebrate the return of warmth to the Midwest. Guests can experience all the charms of Amish country at the Menno-Hof Information Center and on bus tours and buggy rides. Visitors to Shipshewana, located just off State Route 5 between U.S. 20 and the Indiana Toll Road, may find accommodations at five hotels in town or in the surrounding communities of Middlebury, Indiana and Sturgis, Michigan.
Pre-event tickets are $22 per session (children ages 4-10: $15, 3 and under admitted free) and are available online at the NTPA's Webmall, ShopNTPA.com, and at MichianaEvents.com. Moreover, O’Reilly Auto Parts store customers can purchase their tickets at the register! Per-session tickets will be $25 at the door. Weekend passes will be $35 pre-event or $40 at the door. A limited quantity of VIP Trackside seats will be sold for an additional $3 per session or $5 for the weekend. All seats are general admission.
About National Tractor Pullers Association
The NTPA is the sport’s oldest and most respected truck and tractor pulling sanctioning organization. Governed by a board of directors, the NTPA is managed by World Pulling International (WPI), an independently owned entity. Headquartered in Worthington, Ohio, the NTPA provides rules and regulations and the infrastructures required for organizations throughout the country to arrange truck and tractor pulls. The 2018 NTPA Championship Pulling Circuit was sponsored in part by Case IH, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Alliance Tire, Enderle Fuel Injection, MAC Trailer, Ag Protect 1, Shell Rotella, STOP-FYRE®, Cen-Pe-Co Lubricants, Columbus Diesel Supply, Heritage Iron, Stainless Diesel, Midwest Wheel Inc., the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green, Ohio, PowerBore Cylinder Sleeves, Profab Machine Inc., the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin, and Riverside Engine Inc.
Watch the 14th season of "NTPA Championship Pulling" presented by Case IH: Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. Eastern/5:30 p.m. Central. Encore performances appear on Mondays at 12:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. Eastern. RFD-TV is available on satellite through DirecTV (345), Dish Network (231), and AT&T (568) along with Spectrum/Time Warner, Brighthouse, Comcast, Charter, Suddenlink, Cox, and other cable providers. Check your current provider for details or visit the channel finder at www.rfdtv.com. Stream RFD-TV on the Country Club service: www.rfdcc.com.
NTPA Live Streaming produced internet broadcasts of 13 national events in 2018. Visit WatchNTPA.com to purchase on-demand access to individual events or the $299 Season Pass---that's less than $10 per session! NTPA Live Streaming's new interface includes "Live DVR" controls and adaptive bitrate technology to promote an interruption-free broadcast. Check the site for lists of streamed events and compatible internet devices.
Subscribe to the Official Magazine of the NTPA! The Puller brings you the best in NTPA news, stories, and related pulling information. Tractor Supply Company (TSC) carries The Puller and the PULL! Official Program and Souvenir Yearbook.
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For more information about the NTPA, visit our website, www.NTPAPULL.com, follow us on social media at our Facebook page (ntpapulling), Twitter (@NTPApull), YouTube (NTPApull), and Instagram (ntpa), or call the NTPA office at 614.436.1761.