Tuggers set to kick off season Saturday with FFA fundraiser

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By Ben Carlson

The Kentucky Truck Tuggers will kick off its season Saturday with an event to support the Anderson County High School branch of Future Farmers of America.

The tug is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the county park. Weigh-ins will begin at 5 p.m.

Admission is $7, and children under 6 are admitted free.

The organization, which sponsors an annual event to support the playground at the park and last year one to support a skateboard park, will donate the proceeds from the gate and concessions to FFA to help it defray costs of sending members to the state convention in Louisville and fund its ongoing program.

"This will kick off our spring season," said Kentucky Truck Tuggers member Melanie Wiley.

"Anytime we can do that and at the same time help someone out, we try to make that happen."

Classes will include a 4,000 pound, four-wheel drive; 5,500 pound two-wheel drive; 6,000 pound four-wheel drive and stock.

Wiley said she hopes to have a class for FFA students, as well.

Brent Stevens, whose son Lucas served at FFA president last year, said he and Wiley work together at General Cable. He said he approached her after the club began looking at fundraiser possibilities.

He said he was aware of how well the organization works with local groups and that the event is a natural fit for FFA.

"All these farm boys and girls like to watch the truck pulls," he said.

Stevens said the event will be a big boost for the club.

"FFA needs money to run on," he said.

"They perform a lot of good functions and give back to the community."

Stevens said the club participated in Unite to Read last fall by helping third grade students learn to read.

"They're one of the biggest clubs in the school," he said.

The club is directed by agriculture teacher Tracy Probst at the high school, and focuses on all aspects of farming and agriculture.

She said Saturday's event will be a major boon to the club.

"This is a great way for us to earn a lot of money and bring the community together," Probst said.

"The parents have planned nearly all of this, which is fabulous. To have families step up to the plate is great. The kids will benefit from seeing the community come together like this, and also from the monetary side."

That monetary side is important for the club, especially considering how busy members will be in June.

Probst said one student has been selected to attend a leadership program in Washington, D.C., and the club will travel to Louisville for its state convention.

Also in June, club members will attend FFA Camp in Hardinsburg, where they will learn leadership, team building and participate in a variety of events.

Stevens, who raises tobacco, said his son has learned a good deal about farming from him and the club.

He said his son raises his own cash crop and used that knowledge to place second in the Bluegrass Region FFA competition last year, allowing him to compete on the national level in Indianapolis.

He said Lucas had to give a five minute speech about the varieties of tobacco.

"We raise lots of tobacco and he knows about the varieties," he said. "[Anderson Extension specialist] Tommy Yankey worked with him, too."