By Casey Crowley

The inaugural Spc. Mabry James Anders Truck and Tractor Pull Thursday night at the Baker County Fairgrounds will honor a Baker City soldier who was killed in Afghanistan in August 2012.

The event will start at 7 p.m. at the rodeo arena, with doors opening at 6 p.m. — or earlier if there’s a big crowd.

All profits from the event will be donated to the Mabry Anders Foundation. The foundation is named after Anders, who was 21 when he died.

The money will go to a scholarship program to help Baker County students pursue higher education.

“It helps carry on the young man’s name so he is not forgotten,” said J.R. Streifel, a competitor, event organizer and friend of Anders’ family.

The event will feature 35 to 50 participants with a wide range of truck classes. Competitors will attempt to pull sleds of up to 50,000 pounds farther than any of the other drivers.

Ralph Tramp, who has been competing in truck pulls for 40 years, will enter his truck, Agent Orange. Named for its bright orange paint and to remember the effects of Agent Orange, the defoliant the U.S. military used in Vietnam that has caused health problems for many veterans of that war, the truck sports the motto “Pullin for the Vets” on its front fender.

Tramp, who is himself a Vietnam veteran, says “All the veterans enjoy it, they come up and talk to me all the time about their ordeal with Agent Orange.”

When he started out truck pulling, Tramp said he drove basically a stock pickup truck. Now he competes with a pro modified 1950 GMC with 1,200 horsepower.

Tramp has competed in truck pulling events in cities around Oregon, Idaho, California and Washington. He said he has placed first in four events this year.

“I got a real good chance at winning it,” Tramp said of the Mabry James Anders competition.

See more in the Aug. 8, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.