Tractors aren't just for plowing. They're machines with power and can be a lot of fun.
People even compete with them. And just like Major League Baseball, April marks the beginning of the tractor pulling season.
It will be a busy year for the Buffalo Valley Antique Machinery Association. For the members, tractor pulling is a year-round activity and a sport that can be held whether it's raining and muddy, cold, warm or sunny.
The official season runs through November and includes a three-day October show and pull.
The association had 68 tractors participate in its annual New Year's Day pull this year, with all events happening at its track just off Route 15 two miles north of Lewisburg.
Some of the pullers come in from quite a distance. "We get people that come from Maryland, New York, from around Lancaster County," said Janet Mincemoyer, of Watsontown, association secretary.
Tractor pulling is a popular recreational activity. The Buffalo Valley association has about 200 members who get together for weekly work days to maintain the grounds and work on projects.
"We've built a pavilion that's really nice when we have our show," Mincemoyer said. "We bought an old sawmill and we want to set that up and get it working."
Tractors are classified by their weight, age and whether their tires are "uncut" or "cut." Cut tires increase traction. Every category is awarded a points championship at the end of the year.
"There's some that unhook their tractor Saturday, pull with it Sunday and have it back out in the field Monday morning," said Adam Fish, of Muncy. "And there's some tractors that sit in a barn all week."
All the tractors pull a long sled nicknamed "The Heartbreaker," which is equipped with a radio system that enables the PA announcer to read the distance pulled, in feet, on a digital screen immediately.
Before they pull, tractors are weighed and checked for hitch height. Many pullers hang metal weights to get their machine closer to the weight class maximum.
"There's a lot of parts and pieces (the association) got from Eastern Industries," said Pete Wertman, of Watsontown. "There's factory-made weights, but there's also guys who will just find a slab of steel and weld it together."
Buffalo Valley isn't the only monthly pull in the area, and a good number of participants sport gear from other pulling clubs. Those include PATPA - the Pennsylvania Antique Tractor Pulling Association - which is based at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds in Hughesville, and another in Trout Run.
Even within the region, the preferred make of tractor often can be determined by address.
"You get up north it's all red," said Steve Oher, Watsontown, referring to International Harvester's iconic Farmall brand.
"Down here (around Lewisburg) it's mostly green, and you get a little bit of yellow," Fish said.
The tractors differ in maintenance regimens, too, from late 1930s John Deeres that might have been on a museum floor that morning, to one rusty machine with a sticker on the side that says "Pull With Junk."
"A lot of these are unstyled, or open post-that means they don't have a grill," said Butch Ohmmeiss, of Cogan Station. Ohmmeiss has restored several of the tractors at work; he points out one gleaming John Deere 1937-A: "His wife spent three months cleaning rust off that with a wire brush (wearing) the same clothes every day. When she was done, she burnt them."
The Buffalo Valley grounds and track are at 803 W. Branch Highway, Lewisburg. More information can be found at bvama.net.