NORTH MANKATO — Had Kim Moore — or the men in her family — known she was “a natural,” perhaps she wouldn’t have waited until she was in her mid-30s to get into a machine.
But there aren’t many women who participate in truck and tractor pulling, so she didn’t think about trying it when she was 16 like her brothers did.
Moore’s dad, Dennis Christensen of Glencoe, has been pulling since 1968, and her brothers, Chad and Doug, began as soon as they could.
As for Kim ...
“I was doing girl stuff with my mom,” she said. “I went and got a job at a grocery store.”
Today, Moore, the 41-year-old North Mankato resident, is a top puller, having taken fourth place Saturday at the National Tractor Pullers Association championships, also called the Enderle Pulloffs, in Urbana, Ohio. A year ago, she took second place in the two-wheel-drive truck class there.
To get to nationals, she beat both of her brothers at state and regionals. This year, she won the Region 3 title, covering Minnesota, Wisconsin and parts of Iowa and Illinois.
The object of truck and tractor pulling is to see who can pull a heavy sled the farthest. As the truck moves down the track, the weight transfers on the sled, making the pull more difficult. May the best vehicle — and best driver — win.
It was 2005 when Moore approached her brothers and asked if she could try driving one of their trucks. They weren’t took keen to the idea, though, telling her, “No way. You’ll break it.”
“They don’t share very well,” she said.
Eventually, they relented and took their sister to a test track and hooked one of the trucks up to a sled. Their only advice: “Whatever you do, don’t let off the throttle,” for fear of breaking the front end.
She didn’t, even as the front wheels lifted “sky high” off the ground, and she made it all the way down the track.
“They told me I was a natural,” Moore said.
Two years later, she began
competing in a truck custom-built by her dad, part of the Christensen family’s Pack Rat team of pullers.
“Dad built all of our (trucks) from scratch,” Moore said. “Frames, rear ends, motors.”
Moore said her brothers do most of the wrenching, although she does her share of work in the garage. Once on the track, though, it’s a battle of the sexes.
Moore wears a pink helmet, and her truck has a pink roll bar, as well as a couple of inscriptions: “GIRL POWER” on the front and “You just got passed ... by a GIRL!” on the bucket behind her seat.
“Yeah, I’m out there to beat the boys,” she said.
Moore said there are only a handful of women competing in the sport and no others in her class, but she gets a lot of support.
“The crowd loves it; the kids love it,” she said. “I think I drive differently than the boys do. I seem to run smoother down the track.”
Nearly every summer weekend is spent pulling. The Christensen team travels to competitions together with their families, a party of up to 17 people. That includes Moore’s husband, Rick, and the couple’s three sons and daughter. The oldest boy, 14-year-old Jordan, “is already talking to Grandpa about driving.” And, yes, Moore’s 12-year-old daughter, Jaiden, is interested, too.
Moore probably won’t make her wait until she’s in her 30s to try.