A race and a parade, if you peas

Rotary tiller racer starting the race

When a tiller race starts and the souped-up tiller first bites Mother Earth the dust flies, part of the appeal and excitement of rotary tiller racing at the World Championship Rotary Tiller Race during the world-famous Purple Hull Pea Festival at Emerson, Arkansas. The announcer sits calmly as the racer’s heartbeat jumps exponentially.

If you are searching for a unique experience in the company of  new-found friends, put the last weekend of any June, at Emerson, Arkansas on your calendar. It’s not necessary to dress up, come comfortably to the Purple Hull Pea Festival at Emerson. You’ll rub elbows with nice folks there.

Tiller racer at Emerson Arkansas

Click on the tiller racer for more Emerson pix and info.

You will also have the opportunity to consume the properly prepared namesake legume, watch a parade, be entertained, observe the World Pea Shelling competition, dance in the streets, see a fireworks spectacular, and observe The World Championship Rotary Tiller Race.There’s nary another place on the planet that can deliver on that.

You also now have the opportunity to see more pictures and information on the festival on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-come where this tale of fun got underway in the first place.

Rotary tiller racer underway

Up close and personal. The guy in the lime green shirt is a second or two away from the start now. He has about another six seconds and change to reach the finish line 200 feet away if he expects to to be “in the money.”

Little girl racing tiller

Rotary tiller racing at the Purple Hull Pea Festival is not limited to good ol’ boys. Little girls (and little boys), and their mothers, sisters, and aunts race tillers as well. It’s a family thing.

Before the big race starts, you can watch the world renowned “Million Tiller” parade as part of the festival. You will see a great collection of antique tractors, local beauties, four wheelers, horseback riders, motorcycles of all stripes, families being families and civic and church groups showing support for the big event. Be forewarned, sometimes the tiller count is a tad shy of a million.

Family in jeep in parade

The family that parades together stays together. It’s not every day you see a family in a jeep adorned with a teddy bear, (at least that’s what I think it is), a proper crusting of mud, all smiles, and a beautiful baby daughter under a parasol (OK, umbrella) — in a parade. It is just too cool, and you saw it here first.

Among the star attractions of the parade this year, in my humble opinion, was a “motor-trike” powered by a Chevy engine, the back end of which is a replica of the classic slick back Corvette Stingray.

Black Chevy powered trike

As I was salivating while shooting this magnificent beast, the driver told me to be sure and shoot the back. He was on the move so I had to whirl fast to do his bidding.

Stingray replica

As promised, the aft end of the trike is a true Corvette Stingray replica. The lacquer is so shiny it picks up a reflection of gravel in the street.

The Purple Hull Pea Festival in Emerson, Arkansas, population 368 (or there about) is small town America at its best. You go. You enjoy. You leave. And you are glad you went. In LA (lower Arkansas), that’s a “it don’t git much better than that” experience.

See more tiller race and parade pictures in our Purple Hull Pea Festival galleries. Click below:

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.


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