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The Webmonkey at UKTP


Living proof that the Webmaster actually exists... this photo was taken at the Peak Vale event at the Foxearth Country Fair in 2015. My name is Mark Gass-Brown, otherwise known as 'Squirrel' or 'MG-B'.

I'm currently 66 years old and a married father of two, which means I now qualify for free Prescriptions, Sight Tests and a Bus Pass. On the 31st March, 2016 I retired from Oak Innovation Limited, a telecommunications software company in Poole, where I worked as Technical Author and since mid 2008 covered Logistics as well. I was with them for just over 19-years which is nearly 20% of my life! In my spare (?) time I used to climb and was a member of the WMC (Wessex Mountaineering Club). Unfortunately since I managed to tear the rotator cuff tendons in both shoulders climbing is now a thing of the past. So how did I get into Tractor Pulling?

Well, I've always enjoyed watching the sport at places like the Heddington & Stockley and Great Dorset Steam Fair. My son used to work with one of the best known Dorset Pullers and in 2003 the late Bill Parker took us up to the GDSF site to see how the preparations were going for the show. That particular year the resident commentator Pete Evans (otherwise known as 'Spain') wasn't able to come down, therefore a replacement was needed. Bill mentioned this minor detail, as did Norman ('Stormin Norman') Young, the deputy Section Leader. Having already worked within the media I figured I could do that, and before I could stop myself I'd volunteered. Never volunteer for anything they say...

The first couple of days was spent talking to the Pullers and finding out what made their tractors and the sport tick, whilst my son was busy driving the pull-back tractor. One (full) spiral-bound reporters notebook later, plus writers cramp, I at least had something to say on the subject!

As a result of commentating at the GDSF I was invited to to the same job at Welland in 2004, which as many of you know is a Mecca for Pullers. Five hours of solid Pulling! Thankfully 'Stumpy' very kindly kept me going with some excellent cider ('Old Rosie') which kept the vocal chords nicely lubricated.

2004 also saw a stint at Landford (Hamptworth & Landford Vintage Rally) where the resident MC ('Laughing Heart', but you can call me Paul) was only too happy to pass the microphone over when the Pulling started (I wonder why?).

Mark Gass-Brown (aka 'Squirrel') by ChicThe 2004 and 2005 GDSF commentating was shared with Pete Evans. I worked through to Friday afternoon when Pete took over. Regular morning updates on Steam Fair FM were also started for the first time in 2004. This is now a regular feature on the radio.

After the GDSF 2006 Chris Evans of Steam Fair FM madly promoted me to Tractor Pulling Correspondent. Regrettably later that year Chris was forced to drop out of Steam Fair FM so my promotion was very short-lived!

Another of my regular event was Croeslan in deepest Wales the week-end before the GDSF. The location is stunning, set on a hill top in West Wales but if the wind is blowing the rain tends to fall horizontally! Never mind, the warmth of the welcome more than made up for it... In 2008 staging the Tractor Pulling was taken over by the SWTPA. I covered their first year but in 2009 their resident commentator Ted Corner took over duties on the microphone allowing me to bow out gracefully!

I managed to loose my virginity in 2005 (in terms of Tractor Pulling) firstly driving 'Midland Sherpa Spares' under Steve Browns tutelage, then with the 'Mad Massey' (Dave Spencer and Steve Knight really do need their heads examined unleashing the Squirrel on their Puller!).

If you are running a Tractor Pulling event in the southern half of England and are looking for someone to provide the commentary drop me an e-mail. I currently don't charge for my time, but I do charge expenses, which is the cost of fuel to and from the venue. The only other requirements are a PA system (I can't shout that loudly), an entry pass and somewhere to sleep. My old caravan, a 13-foot Ace Rallyman, has now found a new home so it's back to the drawing board on that front. My old chariot, a Peugeot 307SW did have issues when it comes to sleeping in, bugger flex seating. Its replacement is an Audi A4 Avant (estate) which does have enough space to sleep in!

This web site relies on photographs to work effectively! Over the past five years I've had to rely on either images people have sent me or from a borrowed Canon EOS 350D from work. Well since both of these sources tend to suffer from a reliability/availability factor I've now become the proud (?) owner of a pre-owned (in other words second-hand) Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200. Even though this only has a 12.1 mega pixel resolution it does have a 24x optical zoom which should provide very decent images for the site... Well, it would if I ever have time to use it! Trust me, it's very difficult to talk to the public and take photographs of the Pulling!

I am indebted firstly to the secret web site sponsor (yes, you know who you are) and secondly to TASCAM (the professional audio division of TEAC) for their sponsorship of Project: TPC, otherwise known as the UKTP Pulling Chronicles.

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