October 1, 2014

Pulling an airplane for Special Olympics

An unusual test of strength and teamwork that’s also a fundraiser for Special Olympics Iowa is set for one week from today, the first time it’s been attempted in the state. Steve Palmer, who serves on the Special Olympics board of trustees, says the Plane Pull competition is exactly what it sounds like. “Basically, we’re tagging it as 60 tons of tug of war fun,” Palmer says. “Teams of 20 will be pulling a UPS 757 cargo jet at the Des Moines airport.”

At least 37 teams are already signed up to participate and each one is obligated financially, as this is a fundraiser for Special Olympics Iowa. “It’s $50 per person, $1,000 per team to pull the airplane 12 feet for time,” Palmer says. “Then we have trophies and plaques for best times pulled. We have four divisions: a civic division, a high school/college division, a public safety division and an open division.”

There will be a special guest in attendance. “We’re having Derek Poundstone come in, America’s strongest man, to pull the airplane by himself,” Palmer says. “He’ll be at the airport and then he’ll also be pulling with a team of Special Olympics powerlifters.” Teams can register by calling (515) 986-5520 or by going online to the Special Olympics Iowa website: www.soiowa.org/planepull

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City