27th Annual New Vienna Tractor Pull gives back to nine-month-old - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

27th Annual New Vienna Tractor Pull gives back to nine-month-old girl

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NEW VIENNA (KWWL) -

Thousands of people turn out every year for the New Vienna Tractor Pull, though one of its organizers said it started as just another way to "play in the dirt."

The Pull, organized by Gary Willenborg, Dave Bonert and Mike Kluesner, is now in its 27th year.

"We decided we were going to have a pull, and we did," said Gary Willenborg. "We turned a profit of $86 the first year."

The Pull has grown each year, raising $500,000 so far. All the proceeds go to a family or organization in need.

This year's Pull benefits the Boeckenstedt family of Earlville. Nine-month-old Hailey Boeckenstedt has spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress.

"We were in Iowa City (for) 42 days," said Travis Boeckenstedt. "She had two surgeries, one in May and one in July to fix her diaphragm. That's when we did blood work to find she had this disease."

SMARD affects her muscles and her ability to breathe. There's no cure or treatment. The family plans to use the money for medical bills and travel expenses to and from the hospital.

More than 270 entries entertained the crowd. Between pulls, people could bid on live and silent auction items.

"It's a lot of work, but at the same point it's not a lot of work. You met a lot of good people. When you're all done it makes you feel good," said Mike Kluesner.

Families appreciate their efforts so much they come back each year to pay it forward.

"We've got people we had it for 20 years they keep coming back and helping," said Dave Bonert.

While Bonert, Willenborg and Kluesner are the main men, they said it's community support that makes the pull a success year-after-year.

The New Vienna Tractor Pull is always the Sunday after Labor Day.

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