INDIANAPOLIS — Scores of people participated in this year’s edition of the Plane Pull Challenge to benefit Special Olympics Indiana held over the weekend at the former Indianapolis International Airport grounds. This was the 11th year for the event that challenges teams to pull a FedEx 747 weighing more than 164,000 pounds.
This year’s challenge was expanded to include a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and organizers are hoping to make that an annual event as well.
“I like to point out that when the first Plane Pull happened, we had 17 teams and now we’ve grown to 65 to 70 teams,” said Rita DeKlyen of Special Olympics Indiana. “We’re expecting the 3-on-3 basketball to grow just as well.”
Teams of 20 were each paired with a Special Olympics athlete to pull the plane 12 feet.
At the end of the day came a “Lowest Combined Weight Pull” event.
“As an example, a team may think they have three really big guys that can pull it by themselves, so they go pull,” DeKlyen said. “If they can’t, a fourth guy jumps in, and one keeps adding until you can. So if, say, it takes six people to pull it, we gather those six people and take them to an industrial scale and have them weighed. They don’t see the weight. Then there’s an award given to the lightest weight team that can pull the plane. It’s fun. You always have a group that think they’re really macho, think they can pull the plane, and then they can’t move it.
“It’s really interesting because you might think it takes a lot of strength, but it actually takes a lot of teamwork. You see a lot of people pulling, but they’re not pulling at the same time. A team that pulls as a team, once it gets going, it goes pretty quickly.”