October 10, 2011
Daily Herald recaps this past weekend’s event in Oak Brook – RMHC-CNI’s 1st Annual Pulling for the House
Article updated: 10/9/2011 7:24 AM
By Marie Wilson
Read more: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20111008/news/710089823/#ixzz1aPpAq4ui
To almost 200 people gathered Saturday in Oak Brook, making a donation to charity for the chance to pull a 50,000-pound truck 75 feet sounded like a great way to spend a weekend morning.
To about a hundred spectators and volunteers, pulling a truck may have sounded crazy.
But raising money for Ronald McDonald House Charities was the goal of all who attended the first Pulling for the House truck pull in the parking lot of a McDonald’s corporate building.
“Just keep pulling — that’s the strategy,” said Anthony Patton of Brookfield, who joined several friends and co-workers in the challenge. “I think at a certain point, people stop pulling, but you realize every bit of strength counts.”
Ropes similar to the ones used in tug-of-war contests were attached to a semitrailer advertising McDonald’s fries and Big Macs, a dump truck and an Oak Brook fire truck.
Each team got a chance to pull each truck, and each pull was a race to move the vehicle 75 feet in the shortest amount of time.
Teams who worried their strength and speed weren’t enough could pay $20 to have a professional strength event competitor join their squad.
“Teams of 20 sign up to pull the trucks, and they’re competing for the best time,” said Barzeen Vaziri of Wheaton, who competes in professional Strongman contests. “We’re just there as the ringers.”
About five male Strongman competitors and one woman threw their muscles into the game, often lining up closest to the truck, or farthest from it at the end of the tug rope.
“We’re kind of bringing out the big guns today to help out by doing what we already do,” Vaziri said.
This was the first time the truck pull was held in Oak Brook. It replaces a similar fundraiser held the past several years at Midway International Airport, in which participants teamed up to tug airplanes, said Rachel Kunz, an event planner for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.
Patton said his team participated three times in the plane pull, even winning the event once. Kunz said last year’s plane pull attracted 17 teams, compared with the nine who came out Saturday to tug trucks.
“There are less teams, but I think that people are really excited about it,” Kunz said. “We’re trying to make it as big as we can so it can grow.”
As teams lined up for their first pull, Kunz said the event had brought in about $30,000, which will be split up among the four area Ronald McDonald House locations. The houses are built next to hospitals so parents of sick children can stay nearby while their kids receive treatment.
But with the option of buying a Strongman for truck-pulling assistance, several raffles and games charging small fees, Kunz said the fundraising total may top $30,000 when everything is added up.
“Just having teams buy us onto their team for a pull, we raised $3,000 last year,” Vaziri said. “Compared to a thousand-pound squat, this is fun.”