As the Saturday afternoon sun beat down on Hollister, spectators of the fifth annual Pullin’ for a Cure were eagerly anticipating which of the 99 vehicle entrants would go the distance under the strain of mounting weight.
All money raised by the Aug. 25 event goes to cancer research through the Casillas-Garner Family and Friends Relay for Life Team.
Drawing residents and out-of-towners alike, the cause was just as important as which vehicle could outmuscle the other. Walking around the events location at 3384 Santa Ana Valley Road, one could see both vehicles and people decorated with colors and memorabilia that support cancer research.
Josh Luke of Gilroy got involved as a participant after hearing about the truck pulls from a Hollister friend. Luke lost his father to cancer and finds inspiration in joining events that allow him to support cancer research while testing his truck’s pulling power.
Asked what he looked forward to most about competing, Luke said, “if I am going to make it to the end without breaking anything.”
Marty Eisenhut of Sonora returned to San Benito County for a second year to participate in Pullin’ for a Cure.
“I like that this event helps a cause,” Eisenhut said. “I also like all the camaraderie with the guys. Everyone is really helpful and nice.”
Brandon Ross of San Jose came out to support his friend Eisenhut and to enjoy the atmosphere, which he described as a “good family environment” with “good down-home fun.”
Such an environment was found all around the event. Parents gave their children snow cones and explained to excited faces what was happening as trucks made their runs down the designated dirt path. Face-painting, raffles, concession stands, music and photo opportunities with the vehicles offered entertainment for all ages.
“You see a lot of families here,” said Mike Lango of Hollister. It’s great that we can have more events like this in our community donating to a cause.”
Lango’s wife Kaila said she grew up going to truck pulls and feels that events like Pullin’ for a Cure help create opportunities for families to come together.
While some people came to Saturday’s event to watch or participate, others came to work. All of them were volunteers.
Ethan Campbell of Ceres is an employee for L&L Productions, which donated time and services to the event. He worked at the vehicle weigh-in station.
“There is no prize money for the winners,” Campbell said. “It’s all for the cause.”
Delia Villegas of Hollister also volunteered at the event. For her, the event had a more personal note: She has lost family members to cancer and her niece, Bailey Correa, helps coordinate Pullin’ for a Cure.
“We have to find a cure,” Villegas stated. “I’ve always volunteered for raising money for cancer. My two older brothers and husband passed away of cancer. I’ve always been a supporter of a cause that helps someone out.”
Estimating that 2,500-3,000 people attended the truck pull, Correa said the total raised at the event will be announced when the check is delivered to the Casillas-Garner Family and Friends Relay for Life Team at their pumpkin patch in October.