Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Pedal power & princesses in small town Minnesota July 8, 2015

Every single contestant was encouraged.

Every single contestant is encouraged.

THERE’S SOMETHING SUBLIMELY SWEET about a kids’ pedal tractor pull. I think it’s an underlying sense of community pulling together, of almost physically placing your feet on the pedals and willing a toy tractor to move forward that endears me to this rural competition.

Spectators, including a reenactor from the nearby History of Trails, line the trail.

Spectators, including a reenactor from the nearby Trails of History, line the trail for the pedal tractor pull.

Sunday afternoon in small town Elysian, I first heard the encouraging roar of the crowd before I spotted folks lining a section of the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail for the Kid Power Pedal Pull.



The coveted trophies.

The coveted trophies.

Here, along this paved path, youngsters gripped the steering wheel of a mini White tractor and powered forward, aiming to win a tractor topped trophy.


Pedal tractor pull, princess pedaling in Elysian, 384


Pedal tractor pull, princess close-up in Elysian, 389


Pedal tractor pull, princess pedaling view 3 in Elysian, 392


I especially delighted in the determined and dainty Second Princess of Elysian who settled onto the tractor seat in her fancy lavender dress, grasped the wheel and pedaled in sandals, all the while smiling. If ever there was a princess who owned the moment, it was this sweet little girl.


Pedal tractor pull, a kiss for the winner in Elysian, 376


Equally as memorable was the moment a mother bent to kiss the cheek of her son who’d just received a trophy.

He came from the Trails of History to observe the pedal tractor pull with friends.

He came from the Trails of History to observe the pedal tractor pull with friends.

More reenactors watching.

More reenactors watching.

Another reenactor at the pedal pull.

Another reenactor at the pedal pull.

The event drew all ages.

The event drew all ages.

As I watched, I observed not only the contestants but also those watching the competition. These are the moments worth noticing, worth celebrating.

Princesses and winners pose for photos.

Princesses and winners pose for photos.

This is what life is all about in small town Minnesota. The moments. The sense of community. The coming together of all ages for awhile on a Sunday summer afternoon to be entertained. Applause. Smiles. Princesses.

FYI: Please check back for more photos from Elysian’s weekend celebration of the Fourth of July.

Click here to learn more about Kid Power Pedal Tractor Pulls.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


17 Responses to “Pedal power & princesses in small town Minnesota”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    Wonderful candid capture of mother/son kiss on the check. I’ve never had the pleasure to take in a pedal tractor pull. Looks like a fun time. Thanks for sharing the event; the moments.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    The princess pictures are priceless. Fun times for everyone there and for those of us who get to see it through your camera.

  3. Thanks for sharing, perfect, what it’s all about.
    a close second is the small ones and garden tractor pull competition, then four men team pulling the garden tractor sled. All fun, easily entertained-

  4. Don Says:

    These are the things that make small town America so appealing to me! Big towns and cities……blah……. much to homogenized for my liking.

    Great pictures as always.

  5. Jackie Says:

    What a fun event for the Little ones, you really captured some great shots! I especially like the boy with the cowboy hat and red bandana. Oh…and the mom kissing her boys cheeks, precious, I bet she would love to have that photo, definately a framable moment .

  6. Almost Iowa Says:

    Life does not get much sweeter than that. Go, Princess, go!

  7. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I love the princess and the Mommy kiss. The little boy is clearly still young enough not to mind a public display of affection.

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