Two local tractor pullers honored at UPOC awards banquet

Noble Hinshaw enters HOF, Wyatt Pickler wins Rookie of the Year


The United Pullers of the Carolinas honored two local tractor pullers at its awards banquet held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Nov. 18.

Noble Hinshaw, a Siler City man, was one of four 2023 United Pullers of the Carolinas Hall of Fame inductees, and Wyatt Pickler, a Stanly County man, earned a share of the Rookie of the Year award.

In tractor pulling, often described as “the world’s heaviest motorsport,” competitors drive modified tractors or trucks to drag a weight-loaded sled along a course with the goal of pulling it the farthest. Originating from horse pulling contests in the 1860s, the sport evolved to use motorized vehicles in 1929, gaining widespread popularity in the 50s and 60s.

Hinshaw, a 1961 Silk Hope High School graduate, competed in the sport from 1973 to 1985. He claimed 22 North Carolina Points Championships with his tractor, “Humming Hemis,” which was backed by Hinshaw’s Garage and Hart Furniture.

For Hinshaw, being inducted into the Hall of Fame was a “big honor.”

“It’s been about 40 years since I did it, but I’m glad to be around to get it,” Hinshaw, 80, said.

Now a retiree, Hinshaw said he goes to tractor pulls every now and then, even though he feels being around the sport too much will make him want to compete again.

“When we quit, we went out running good,” Hinshaw said.

For Pickler, 20, winning a share of the Rookie of the Year award was about making his father, John, proud.

Pickler’s father, who also competes with the UPOC, introduced Wyatt to tractor pulling in his early teenage years.

“My dad had a two-wheel drive, and he’s like, ‘one day, you’re going to do this’” Pickler said. “I told him when I hit 20, I’d start doing it.”

Honoring his word, Pickler has found early success with what his father taught him, earning a first-place finish on the second day of the N.C. State Fair Southern Showdown competition.

He competes with a black and green Hot Farm tractor named, “Game Changer.”

“(I’ll) probably keep doing it and (keep) the tractor pulling going for my family,” Pickler said. “(I’ll) do it as long as I can.”

A fun fact about Pickler is that he’s a distant cousin of country singer and former American Idol contestant Kellie Pickler.