Twenty years ago, Retired Deputy Chief Joe Hurtuk, now fondly referred to as the "father" of the Plane Pull, dreamed up the idea to pit man against machine in an effort to raise money for Special Olympics. His dream came to life in 1993 when the first-ever Plane Pull in the world was held at Dulles International Airport, with just 11 teams participating. Those 11 teams, led by some of our law enforcement volunteers, raised almost $15,000 – and started a plane-pulling phenomenon. Who would have guessed that someone’s crazy idea to pit man against machine would skyrocket into a major fundraising venture for Special Olympics programs throughout the country?
The Dulles Day Festival & Plane Pull® has since raised more than $1,600,000 for athletes with intellectual disabilities throughout Virginia. Today, similar Plane Pulls are held throughout the year in Colorado, Maryland, Hawaii, Tennessee and Texas. The event is so popular, in fact, that Special Olympics has the registered trademark on all Plane Pulls® that take place!
For a list of past Plane Pull winners, click here.