This was a show I’d been waiting for since last year when we attended for the first time. All my favorite things in one place – Texas, good food, cool trucks, nice people, and a great cause. Draggin’ & Pullin’ In the Pines was held October 15-16, 2021, at Pine Valley Raceway in Lufkin, Texas. And, again, the fun event raised money for two very worthy causes that help our veterans.
In 2015 Josh Burch was new to town and, in an effort to get to know his customers, he joined forces with Ronnie Kelly, and the two hosted a Customer Appreciation Day at East Texas Truck Center. They were also hoping to raise a little money for the Wyakin Warrior Foundation. The mission of the Wyakin Warrior Foundation is to help wounded and injured vets to be successful in life through education and guidance. With Josh being a former Marine, this is a cause very near and dear to his heart. Neither of the men expected more than just a few trucks to show up and were shocked when they had 50 trucks on their four-acre lot and raised $12,000.
In 2016 they decided they needed more room and that’s when the show moved to Pine Valley Raceway. The place was much bigger, and they thought they’d never fill the space. That’s when they brought Matt and Naomi Spence on board with Mad Gear Hot Rod Apparel & Hatermade Clothing who brought with them a whole new world of slammed cars, motorcycles, and lifted UTVs.
2021 brought amazing success to Draggin’ & Pullin’ In The Pines. This year, the show completely filled every ounce of available space they had, and then some – and there was something for everyone at this event. There were bounce houses for the kids, Loader Competitions for the loggers (Lufkin is a big logging community), Tractor Pulls, Semi Drag Pulls (loaded and unloaded), and a Wade Bowen Concert that wrapped up the show on Saturday night.
In all, the show hosted 161 semis and 61 registered bikes, cars and UTVs. There were 32 semis that raced. Of the 32 racers, 29 traveled from as far away as Canada just to race, and three raced and were in the show. Drivers of those trucks were Terry Aslinger, Clayton Driskill, and Justin Kindrick. The Friday night pulls saw 48 trucks compete.
At the awards Saturday afternoon, a spokesperson for Mission 22 gave a speech on the importance of the group to which the show helps benefit. More than 22 veterans are lost to suicide every day. The goal of Mission 22 is to raise awareness, gain support of civilians, and end veteran suicide in America. As in previous years, there was a Mission 22 push-up challenge in which Ronnie and Josh gave $1.00 per person per push-up that was done, and then Troy Massey with Tri-State Vacuum and Rental LLC matched each $1.00. The total raised for the challenge was $4,620.
Draggin’ & Pullin’ In The Pines was able to double last year’s donation and give a check for $25,000 to each charity – Mission 22 and The Wyakin Warrior Foundation. Josh and Ronnie would like to give a special thank you to the Stephen F. Austin University ROTC for helping out. As a whole, they are incredibly pleased with how the 2021 show went but would like to add more log trucks next year, since logging is so crucial to their community.
The show founders would like to remind everyone that you don’t need a perfect show truck to come to this event. “People think they have to have one of these gorgeous brand-new trucks to be able to match up and come out to play, but it’s not about that. We’re all a family, and that’s something to be proud of and celebrate,” said Burch. So, mark your calendars for next year’s show, which is scheduled for October 21-22, 2022. We hope you join us for the vets.