EAST AMWELL TWP. – Four years, four different winners. That’s the 4-wheel-drive Truck Pull, held at the Hunterdon County 4-H & Agricultural Fair as part of the evening tractor pull.
Louis Sloboda, 23, of Buttzville in White Township, Warren County, was the top finisher in the Aug. 24 contest, driving a 2008 Ford F-250 and pulling 320.46 feet.
The 2014 winner, Alec Roberts of Pittstown, came in second. His 2005 GMC 2500HD pulled the weighted pulling machine machine informally called "the sled" 315.34 feet. And third this time went to Tyler Golis of Delaware Township, who in his 2008 Ford F-350 pulled 312.64 feet. Golis also competed in the Garden Tractor Pull at the fair, coming in third in his class.
It’s been a good year for Sloboda, who also won several other pulls this summer, just his second year of competing. He took firsts in the Sussex County Farm & Horse Show and the Kempton (Pa.) Fair along with seconds in Lorah’s Truck and Tractor Pulls, Plainfield Fair and West End Fair, all in Pennsylvania. He broke down in the Warren County Farmer’s Fair contest and ended up fifth.
Beat up and with the left front fender a different color than the rest, his vehicle is definitely for pulling, not a truck show. “It’s nothing to look at,” he admitted.
Sloboda, who works as a mechanic and operator for Tom Bartha Excavating in Belvidere, is new to competing at Hunterdon. He would have been there in 2015 “but I was moving my girlfriend to college,” he said with a smile.
He loves motor sports, taking part in dirt bike racing as a youth and doing mud bogs and demolition derbies in more recent times.
The top winner in the 2015 Hunterdon fair, Marc Wirasnik, a neighbor of Roberts in Alexandria Township, did not place this time in his home county contest.
The winner in the fair’s first truck contest in 2013 was Brandon Case of Kingwood Township. He attended this year, but only as a spectator. Earlier he sold his pull truck, a 2004 GMC Sierra 2500HD, but said he might buy another truck and resume pulling next year.