MARION -- Mike Vincent is a truck driver by trade from Stasburg and he provides and operates the heavy sled that the garden tractors were pulling this past weekend in a pulling contest at the 162nd Williamson County Fair in Marion.
Retired plumber Don Cress came down from Decatur with his custom-built tractor.
"These are the same as the big pulling tractors, but these little guys are just a lot smaller," he said.
Vincent has been around the hobby for about 25 years, and the last four of those he's had his sled business.
"I've always enjoyed doing these smaller garden tractor pulls," he said.
He described most of the 18 garden tractors that would be pulling for cash prizes at this year's fair as single-cylinder engines that boast 75-to-80 horsepower.
While each tractor weighs 1,050 pounds with the driver aboard, they generate enough pulling power to move up to 6,000 pounds down the carefully leveled off dirt track.
As one might imagine, having such a high-powered, tricked-out (not your grandfather's run-of-the-mill garden tractor) hobby can be an expensive proposition.
"If you're not doing any of it yourself and you're having everything built, you're spending $15,000-to-$25,000 depending on what you want to put into it."
Standing nearby, Cress chuckled as he heard Vincent quote those numbers, then when asked by a reporter if he was married and what his wife thought of his somewhat expensive hobby, he quickly replied, "She's the one who told me to get one!"