We seem to be in such a hurry. Rush hours during the week. Racing of all kinds over the weekends.
Whether it’s cars, horses or humans, racing is popular – seemingly without end.
This weekend sees yet another race – but this one is rather unique. It is the World championship Rotary Tiller Race taking place this weekend in Emerson, Arkansas.
Unique among motor sports, we like to say it is the highlight of the tiller racing season, but as the event organizers say, “‘Course, to the best of our knowledge, our one-day event is the tiller racing season”.In this event souped-up garden tillers from near and far come to compete. These hot rod tillers capable of reaching speeds of over 22 mph. and come from all over Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas to Emerson, which is located 6 miles north of the Louisiana state line.”We’re not talking about garden-variety tillers,” once told organizer Bill Dailey to “Farm Show” back in 2004. “These are souped up machines that some like to call æhot rods of sod.’ We call the racers æpilots,’ and our divisions include Dirt Slingers, which are built from scratch; Rip Roarers, which are modified for speed; and simple stock tillers. There are categories for men, women, and even kids aged 10 and under using 2 hp flower garden models.” Some of the modified tillers that compete have motorcycle and ATV engines and most have specially designed tines that are built for speed. Often contestants come prepared with one set of tines for mud and another for dry-ground racing. The contests are between two entrants at a time on a 200-ft. long plowed track.
It was tis Farm Show article that described the machines as “hot Rods of Sod”.
The annual race began in 1990 as a lark and is now a tradition, held the last Saturday in June. It’s just one aspect of the Emerson community’s “PurpleHull Pea Festival,” an event named after a backyard vegetable that’s hugely popular in the area.
In addition to the tiller races, activities over the weekend include arts and crafts, World Cup PurpleHull Pea Shelling Competition, Great PurpleHull Peas and Cornbread Cookoff, Million Tiller Parade, pea meals, Pea-Stompin’ Street Dance and more.
BTW, to give the pea of honor its full due, PurpleHull peas are often referred to as “pinkeye purplehull peas” and are close cousins to the less tasty black-eyed peas.