Bath girl headed to International Pedal Pull Championships

Farm Forum

A year after having to sit out the event because of a broken leg, a Bath girl has again qualified for the International Pedal Pull Championships.

Paige Stolsmark will compete next summer in the competition, which is usually held in Fairfield, Iowa.

Stolsmark won first place in her division at the national competition in September in Mitchell. That was after coming in third earlier that month at the state competition and second at the Brown County Fair competition in August.

“We didn’t know it was such a big thing until we had gotten to state one of the years,” Stolsmark’s mother, Sarah Schumacher, said. “We made it to internationals one year a couple of years ago.”

The competition consists of children pedaling loads with miniature pedal-pull tractors and is divided by ages 4 to 12. The loads get heavier as children get older.

Stolsmark, who is in fourth grade at Lincoln Elementary, has been competing in the pull tractor competition since she was 5, Schumacher said. Stolsmark and her twin brother, Simon, were both entered that year, but Paige was the one who took to the event.

“He tags along, sometimes willingly, sometimes not,” Schumacher said of Simon. “He’s a really good picture-taker, so we hand him the camera.”

Paige doesn’t do any training before pedal pull events. The family doesn’t even own a pedal pull tractor.

“She’s just really strong in her legs,” Schumacher said.

At the local level, many competitions, including the Brown County Fair, are mixed — boys and girls compete against each other. But once the children advance to the state level, the competition is split between the sexes, Schumacher said.

Paige turned 10 the day after the national competition, but will compete in the 9-year-old competition at internationals next summer.

Schumacher hasn’t seen much fandom locally, but said that changes when the children get to the state and international competitions.

“Families have the same T-shirts and things made up for their kids,” Schumacher said. “They come from a long ways; this last time, people came from Kentucky and Florida. It’s crazy.”

It came down to a pull-off in Mitchell in September for Paige to become victorious, Schumacher said.

“On the third time, they had added more weight,” Schumacher said.

Paige ended up pulling 320 pounds 27 feet, 3 feet farther than the other finalist.

During competitions, Paige’s father, Allan, usually acts as her coach — a parent or guardian who stands near the finish line.

When she’s not competing on the pedal pull tractor circuit, Paige said she likes playing soccer and basketball and riding horses.

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National Pedal Pullers Association

• 16 sanctioned states, including South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota.

• National championship was Sept. 20 in Mitchell.

• Children ages 4 to 12 can compete, starting in local competitions, often at local county fairs.

• Dates for the international championships have not yet been set, but they are usually in the summer in Iowa.

• Registration forms for the 2015 competition will be in the Brown County Fair book and available on the Brown County Fair website.

• South Dakota Chairman: Chad Stevicks, PP Box 421, Burke, SD, 57523, 605-775-2551.

• Website: