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Firetruck pull 2

Competitors prepare to pull a Sennett Volunteer Fire Department truck across the finish line to benefit the Special Olympics at the 17th annual fire truck pull Friday in Auburn.

AUBURN — Despite sweltering heat that came with official National Weather Service warnings, a sizable crowd came out to Casey Park Friday afternoon to watch or compete in the 17th annual fire truck pull in Auburn, an event to benefit the Special Olympics.

The event partners Special Olympic athletes, many from ARC of Seneca-Cayuga and Unity House, with volunteers from Auburn Correctional Facility to compete to see who can pull a nearly 40,000-pound fire truck across the finish line the fastest.

The pull is the second of several events to benefit the Special Olympics in Auburn this summer. In June, the Law Enforcement Torch Run made its way through Auburn, while the Cops on Top, set for early August, follows the truck pull.

Athletes split into six teams, including two from ACF, two from local American Legion posts, and several teams sponsored by local businesses like Walmart, Nucor, and Cayuga Lake National Bank.

All of the proceeds from team registrations go back to the Special Olympics and helping New York athletes make their way to the national or world-level games, according to longtime event organizer Michael Murray.

Murray said it was great to see such a turnout despite the heat and to see the athletes and their friends and families enjoying themselves.

"We're here for the athletes, we're here for the Special Olympics, and we'll always be here for them," Murray said.

First place, and the accompanying commemorative license plate from ACF, went to the Special Olympics athletes on the Sons of the American Legion team.

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Staff writer Ryan Franklin can be reached at (315) 282-2252 or ryan.franklin@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @RyanNYFranklin

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