2016 Regional National Champions

We honor our 2016 Regional National Divisional Champions, taking a breif look back at their 2016 season. Check back for updates daily.

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2016 Region II Modified Champion: Ryan Writsel, Orient, OH, “Lucky Stryke”

Writsel won in his first season in Modified competition; it’s his first NTPA title since 2003 (Super Modified Four Wheel Drive). Every finish for the twin-engine machine was top-three, while his nine wins included two three-hook winning streaks, one of which ended the season. “Lucky Stryke” proved to be versatile, too; in its three-engine configuration, it qualified for the Super Sunday ring round in Bowling Green. Reigning champ Don Deane and his “Plumbers Nitemare” (-31) finished second.

2016 Region III Light Super Stock Champion: Marty  Nelson, Almena, WI, “Just-a-Case”

Nelson based his case for a title on four wins in five hooks including the season’s opener and closer in Ellsworth and Ridgeland. But the “Red Thunder” Team (-3) kept the race close with a win of their own in Menomonie, and as of the Lions Club’s Saturday afternoon luncheon, the two were tied. But that evening, Nelson “Just-a”-fied his championship by completing a Norwalk sweep. “Red Thunder” earned the combined Region III/V Enderle berth by doubling in New Hampton.

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2016 Region II Super Stock Diesel 4x4 Champion: Van Haisley, Fairmount, IN, “Rock Hard Ram”

Eight top fives and a win in Springfield earned Haisley his second title (2011). Brion Withrow’s “Nut Job” (-11) led for the first half of the season after scoring wins in Greentown and Charlotte among the first three hooks. But Withrow, who won once more late in the year in Findlay, couldn’t match the “Rock”-solid consistency of Haisley, who pulled into a tie with his midseason victory and averaged 27.6 points per hook. Don Bowling and Curt Haisley had two wins apiece.

2016 Region II Modified Mini Champion: Todd Bultman, Zeeland, MI, “Stress Relief”

Opening the season with six consecutive victories and finishing with nine wins in 13 hooks will tend to alleviate one’s anxiety, but Bultman had an objective besides the region title: Overcoming the missed 2015 Allegan wraparound to qualify for the 2016 Enderle. He made up that ground by finishing out of the top three only once, and he made the most of his trip to Urbana with a win at the 30th. Tim Rea’s “Wicked Sensation” (-30) had a string of five top threes to land in second.

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2016 Region II Two Wheel Drive Champion: Randy Petro, Camden, Ohio, “Kathy’s Komplaint”

With help from friends Chad Mayhill, Marvin Epperson, and Jeff Shafer, Petro’s classic ride captured its first title since 2011 and first regional crown since 2007. “Vintage KK” scored top-two finishes (four wins, seven seconds) in almost half of its 23 appearances, then advanced to—and won—the Enderle from the region’s Western berth. Bill Widenmeyer’s “Twin T” (-100) won once in 26 showings; Jeff Writsel’s “At It Again” matched Petro’s win total toward capturing the Eastern berth.

2016 Region II Four Wheel Drive Champions: Chris & Christopher Taylor, Eaton, IN, “Grain Hollers Mafia”

It all came down to the final hook on Labor Day in Findlay, where Chris and Christopher Taylor clinched their second championship in three years. Qualifying for the four-hook pull-off was enough to edge out “The Detonator” (-1), which was piloted by Pat Pixley on behalf of the late Dave Weiss. The two trucks were never separated by more than seven points and were tied as late as midseason after Springfield. Ron Newell had the most wins on the 13-hook schedule with four.

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2016 Region II Light Pro Stock Champion: Kendall Houk, Lynchburg, OH, “Nothing Special”

Mike Palmer’s reconstructed “Red Avenger” (-167.5) won twice and had eight top-five finishes, and Travis Tilton and Gary Holman each scored three wins. But the long Light Pro campaign rewarded the steady, consistent performance of the first-time champion Houk, whose 28 appearances resulted in 11 top fives and a 7.3 average finish position. “Nothing Special” made it to all but three events on the grueling schedule and won early in Boswell to assume a lead he would not surrender.

2016 Region II Limited Pro Stock Champion: Doug McKinley, Winamac, IN, “Knight Train”

Pulling out of the station, the “Train” was on track for a division title, earning victories in South Bend and Logansport to open the season and a 30-point second place in Preble. With an average finish of 3.2 across five competitive hooks, 2015’s third-place tractor stayed ahead of Jerry Wisel’s “Constant Conflict” (-6.5). McKinley’s Case was only the second eagle-branded machine and the first since 2007 to qualify for the Enderle Pull-Off.

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2016 Region II Super Farm Champion: Stan Warda, Berrien Springs, MI, “Hammerin’ Hank”

After finishing third in the region in 2015, “Hank” touched all the bases at the June pull in Napoleon for the first of five season wins (South Bend, Logansport, Springfield, and Brandenburg). No other regional competitor won more than twice. Most closely pursued by the Capozzos’ “Cruel Intentions” (-55), Warda made it to every event after the Fremont rainout. An eighth place in a class of 44 on Sunday at the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah was a season highlight.

2016 Region II Pro Stock Champion: Ryan Walters, Wharton, OH, “Chasin’ Tail”

Walters’ Massey won the first regional Pro Stock title since 2011 as the only competitor to attend all five of the division’s appearances. Rainouts in Alliance and Rushville shortened the season to three competitive hooks and the race to the Enderle, won by Cory Hoffman’s “King of Deeres” (-28), to only two; both were invited. But Walters scored a fourth in Allegan in the region’s final contest to secure his third championship (2010, 2008).

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2016 Region II Light Super Stock Champion: Rex Kuhn, Morristown, IN, “Git-R-Done”

Competing on the regional level after a decade on the Grand National stage, Kuhn went undefeated in point competition in his home state. Wins in the season’s first three contests in Boswell, South Bend, and Logansport built a nine-point lead over fellow Hoosier and 2015 champ Anthony Hart and “Hart’s Desire” (-5). Kuhn clinched the title in Urbana, then completed the season with wins at the 50th National Tractor Pulling Championships and 30th Enderle Pull-Off.

2016 Region II Heavy Super Stock Champion: John Pfeiffer, Connersville, IN, “Pfeiffermax”

It was a season-long battle for supremacy between Pfeiffer and defending champion Kent Payne and his “Super Rooster” (-4.5). “Pfeiffermax” posted wins in Charlotte and Zanesville; Payne was second both times. “Rooster” posted 10 wins including five straight at midseason; Pfeiffer was a point back on all five occasions. The difference was endurance: Pfeiffer made it to all 14 class appearances with a 3.0 average finish, while breakage sidelined Payne for one hook in July.

2016 Grand National Modified Champion: Bret Berg, “Money Maker”

Story by Darren Heartwell

Bret Berg won his third Grand National championship in the Modified division in 2016 after having won back-to-back championships in 2011 and 2012.

Bret said that the biggest challenge this year was finding time to run three vehicles in four GN classes. The team finished fourth in points in the Unlimited class with the LG Seeds-sponsored “Money Maker” and eighth and ninth with their “LG Seeds” and “Brandt Professional Ag” Modified Mini tractors.

Bret shared this on his title in the Modified class: “We were fairly hot at the start and stayed that way throughout the season. Reliability was key, we hit our stride this year. We made 25 passes without any major breakage.”

Bret started out the season with a runner-up finish at Tomah, Wisconsin’s Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals. He followed that up with a third-place finish in the second session. He earned a second place during Session One at the North Iowa Nationals in Rockwell to take a points lead he would not relinquish, then won for the first time in 2016 during Session Two.

The next hook in Monroe, Michigan brought a fourth-place finish. Bret seized control of the points race by winning at Wapakoneta, Ohio, and both points hooks at the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green.

With two hooks remaining, he held an eight-point lead. Berg finished fourth in the afternoon session in Sandwich, Illinois, then clinched the title with a second-place finish in the evening session. He capped off the championship season by winning the All-Star Enderle Pull-Off in Urbana, Ohio.

Bret wants to thank his marketing partners: LG Seeds, Brandt Professional Ag, Zumbrota Bearing and Gear, NGK Spark Plugs, and Cenex. He acknowledges Christopher Martin for his years of commitment, dedication, friendship, camaraderie, countless hours spent away from family, and the support and hard work at the track and at home. He also wants to thank Jeanie Carlson and Thomas Hamelink for their hard work and support at the track, on the road, and at home. In addition he expresses his appreciation to his Mom, Dad, family, Brendon for the help at the shop at home, and employees and friends back home for making this possible.

2016 Grand National Pro Stock Champion: Mike Conny, “MAC Nasty”

Story by Darren Heartwell

Mike Conny had an amazing season in 2016 to clinch his first Grand National championship. He finished first and second with his powerful John Deeres “MAC Nasty” and “Mr. MAC Daddy” in the very competitive Pro Stock division. Mike reflected, “This is a season that started eight years ago when my daughter [Julia] and I started pulling tractors. We always respected the Pro Stock class. For this to happen this year is a feat that may never happen again. Next year is a new challenge, it’s very difficult to repeat.”

The team started out in the Super Farm class and made the transition to the Pro Stock class. They debuted one new tractor late in the 2015 season, but this was their first full year running two new Pro Stock tractors. The team had a dominant season in 2016 winning 13 of the 19 hooks between “MAC Nasty” and “Mr. MAC Daddy.”

The season started on a strong note as Tim Shipley piloted “MAC Nasty” to a win on Friday night in Benson, North Carolina. Mike parked “Mr. MAC Daddy” in the top spot on Saturday night to make it a clean sweep for the team. After Hutchinson, Minnesota was rained out Friday. “Nasty” finished third on Saturday night. Tim earned the win in Session Three at Tomah, Wisconsin, and Mike drove it to a fifth in Session Five.

A new event for Pro Stock tractors, the Lions Super Pull of the South in Chapel Hill, Tennessee, provided another spectacular weekend for the team. Tim Shipley won both hooks at the Super National event aboard “Daddy,” and Mike was second both nights with “Nasty.”

Mike won with “Mr. MAC Daddy” in Mount Sterling, Illinois to take the points lead with that tractor, and either one or the other MAC Deere would lead the rest of the season. Mike parked “MAC Nasty” on top at the next event in Salem, Ilinois. Josh Shipley was behind the wheel to take his first win of the season with “Nasty” in Sandusky, Ohio, while Tim won the next night with “Daddy” in Napoleon, Ohio.

Mike finished ninth with “MAC Nasty” during the first hook in Bowling Green, then won the Saturday night hook at the National Tractor Pulling Championships with that tractor. He won the next points hook in Hudsonville, Michigan with “MAC Nasty” to pull it within three points of “Daddy.” “Nasty” finished third on Wednesday night in Hudsonville to take over the points lead with four hooks remaining.

In Wellington, Ohio Tim finished second with “Mr. MAC Daddy” while Mike finished sixth with “MAC Nasty,” resulting in “Daddy” moving back into the top spot in points. “Daddy” won in Canton, Ohio with “Nasty” second to give “Daddy” a three-point lead going into the final two hooks.

The afternoon session at Sandwich, Illinois was bittersweet for the team. Mike Conny finished second with “MAC Nasty,” but the motor in “Mr. MAC Daddy” blew up, leading to a 23rd place and spotting the “Nasty” tractor a 10-point advantage going into the evening session. Remarkably, the team was able to install a new motor in the “Daddy” tractor in two hours to compete in the second session, where it finished ninth to secure second place in the point standings. Meanwhile, Mike clinched the championship with a victory in DeKalb County aboard “Nasty.” He put another exclamation point on the season by winning at the 30th annual Enderle Pull-Off.

Mike would like to acknowledge his crew chief Tim Shipley along with Josh and Russ Shipley at Top Notch Machine and Shipley Tractors, Bill Humphrey at Humpco Machine, Wimer Turbo, Columbus Diesel, and “our driver, Fester McClish, for hauling us to and from pulls for the last seven years, along with our sponsor, MAC Trailer.”

Mike thanks his family: wife Dawn; daughters Julia, Rachel, and Angelina; sons-in-law Tate Ray and Chad Raber; and his grandsons Braxton Ray and Lane Raber.

2016 Grand National Modified Mini Champion: Adam Koester, “Walk the Line”

Story by Darren Heartwell

Adam Koester piloted “Walk the Line” to his second Grand National championship in 2016. The Koester family notched three of the top five positions in Grand National points with dad Larry’s “Footloose” in second and “Beast of Burden” in fifth.

Team Koester added the brand new “Walk the Line” tractor to its stable for this season. Adam began his career in the Modified Mini division by winning the 2005 NTPA Rookie of the Year Award and clinched his first championship in 2007 with “Double Play.” Larry won championships in 2001, 2006, and 2008 aboard “Footloose,” making this the fifth GN title for the family.

The first part of the season was challenging for the team as they acclimated to three vehicles. Early in the season the crew consisted of Larry, Adam, Adam’s wife Jamilyn, and sometimes Riley Smith, making everyone very busy.

The season started out in Benson, North Carolina with fourth- and third-place finishes. The first session in Hutchinson, Minnesota was rained out, but Larry Koester won the second session aboard “Footloose” with Adam finishing fourth with “Walk the Line.”

Adam continued this trend with a pair of fourths in Tomah, Wisconsin. The North Iowa Nationals in Rockwell, Iowa were the next stop on the GN tour. Adam finished 10th in Session One—his worst finish of the year—and seventh in Session Two. But better fortunes awaited the next weekend.

Chapel Hill, Tennessee is where “Walk the Line” began its move to the top. Adam finished third on Friday night and notched the first win with the new tractor on Saturday night. After a rainout on Friday in Fort Recovery, Ohio, Adam won his second consecutive hook on Saturday.

He made it three in a row in Sandusky, Ohio to take a points lead that he would not relinquish. He finished second the next night in Napoleon, Ohio and then won the first hook in Bowling Green, Ohio to headline first-, third-, and fifth-place Session Three finishes for the team. “Walk the Line” finished sixth in Session Four to qualify for Super Sunday.

Adam put his “Beast of Burden” in the top spot on Tuesday night in Greenville, Ohio, but it was Wednesday night in Darke County that provided the highlight of the season: Adam won with “Walk the Line,” Larry was second with “Footloose,” and Adam was third with “Beast of Burden.” Adam parked the tractor in fifth in Wauseon, Ohio to take a 13-point lead into the final two hooks of the season in Sandwich, Illinois. There, Adam finished second in the afternoon session and ninth in the evening to clinch the title.

Adam acknowledges Bob Miner at Miner Brothers Racing, Todd Bultman at TRB Machine, Larry and Lisa Peterson at Profab, Shell Rotella, Mopar, Bradley Stevens and Kolten Arnold at BSS Inc, Chad Mayhill at CM Pulling Tires, Bret Berg at Money Maker Pulling Tires, Vaughn Bauer for building a sled that is safe, and the NTPA for providing a good circuit to run.

On a personal note, Adam wants to thank God for “keeping us safe traveling and on the track,” his wife Jamilyn, mom Caesar, and dad Larry, Ron (“Toby”) and Donna Tobin, Riley Smith, and Craig, Ashley, Erica, Julia, Carsen, and Raylen Corzine.

He added, “Thank you to the fans for coming to watch us! If we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t be doing it. Thanks to all the competitors in the class; they will drop anything to help us. They make us better pullers. They’re our pulling family and great people, we wouldn’t do it without them!”

2016 Grand National Super Farm Champion: Rod Deck, “Dream On”

Story by Darren Heartwell

Rod Deck earned his first Grand National championship in 2016 with his “Dream On” Case IH. It was a “Double Deck-er” as his son Bryan finished second with “One Bad Apple.”

Rod started pulling in 1999 and built “Dream On” in 2000. He won the NTPA Region V title in 2011 and moved to the Grand National tour in 2013. This Winside, Nebraska-based team is very committed to pulling with NTPA. The closest Grand National hook was 4.5 hours away in Rockwell, Iowa and the farthest one was Benson, North Carolina at 22 hours from home. They hooked at a lot of state and regional events that were conveniently located during their travels as well. Rod stated, “This is a friendly group of pullers. We’re competitors on the track but friends off the track. That’s what pulling is all about!”

The season kicked off at the Mule City 300 in Benson, North Carolina with 18 tractors committed to run the entire GN circuit. Rod finished second in the first session and sixth in the second session. He had his worst finish of the season—seventh—at the next hook at the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin. But he rebounded to finish third in the last session at Tomah to seize a points lead that he would hold the rest of the season.

At the next event, Rockwell, Rod earned his one GN victory, a highlight of the season. He said it was “the first time I ever choked this tractor.” It was a good weekend for the team as Bryan put “One Bad Apple” on top on Saturday night with Rod finishing fifth.

Rod finished third and second in Ionia, Michigan and fourth in Mount Sterling, Illinois. This brought up a situation eerily reminiscent to 2013. Going into Bowling Green three years ago, Rod held a 17-point lead over his son Bryan. But Rod experienced major breakage during the first hook while Bryan won one session and the ring to take over the points lead on the way to the GN title.

Rod admitted he was “worried going into BG.” In another one of the highlights of the season, Rod finished second in both points sessions to maintain the points lead while Bryan won the ring in the invitational on Super Sunday.

Rod finished fourth in Greenville, Ohio to expand his lead to 26 points going into the final hook of the season. He clinched the championship with a solid third-place finish in Wellington, Ohio to win the championship by 29 points. He then capped his amazing season by winning the NTPA’s all-star invitational event, the Enderle Pull-off in Urbana, Ohio.

Rod acknowledges Ryan Salenbien at Salenbien Peformance—“brand new motor this year, ran it all season without having to work on it!”—Extreme Tire Cutting, Mark Colberg at Colberg Machine, and Cen-Pe-Co. 

Rod thanks his son Bryan for all of the research and development work, his daughter-in-law Connie who worked on the irrigation system while they were gone pulling, God for timely rains, and his grandchildren: Justin, Ryan, and Anna.

Mother of SF Competitor Rod Deck Has Passed

We have been informed that Rosalie Deck, 91, of Norwalk, Nebraska passed away on Tuesday, March 7. Mrs. Deck was the mother and grandmother of Grand National Super Farm competitors Rod and Bryan Deck ("Dream On," "One Bad Apple"), respectively.

Mrs. Deck and her late husband Wilmer farmed on land near Winside until moving to Norwalk in 1987. She then worked at the Norfolk Daily News and volunteered at a local hospital. She was known as a talented cook and baker and also enjoyed gardening and sewing.

In addition to Rod and Bryan, Mrs Deck is survived by her daughters, Karen (Mervin) Hamm, Jane (Allen) Marsh, and Joan (Jack) McKee; nine other grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and her sisters, Elsie Becker, Anne Rowntree, Elizabeth Boettcher, and Lynn Wheatley. Mrs. Deck's full obituary may be found here, and a tribute video has been posted here, where messages of sympathy may also be left for the family. Mrs. Deck was laid to rest last week; memorials can be sent to Rosalie Deck Memorial, 9811 Hazeltine Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska 68136.

We express our condolences to the Decks on their loss.

"This Is It" SF/LIM PS Puller Davin Brock Has Died

Our condolences go out to the family of Davin Truman Brock, 51, of Kirklin, Indiana. Mr. Brock passed away on Saturday, March 4. He and his father Don competed with the NTPA and Hoosier State Tractor Pullers Association aboard the "This Is It" Super Farm and Limited Pro Stock Tractors.

Mr. Brock was a farmer, grain hauler, and member of the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Lebanon, Indiana. He was a member of the NTPA, HSTPA, and the National Micro-Mini Tractor Pullers Association and initiated the Boone County 4-H's Micro-Mini Tractor Pulling Project.

Mr. Brock is survived by his wife Nicole; his daughters Shelby Elizabeth and Shania Nicole and son Skyler Truman; his parents Don and Rita; and his sisters and their husbands DeAnn (Scotty) Scott, JoAnn (Corby) Unroe, and Jannine (Joe) Rule. His full obituary may be found here, where notes of sympathy may be left for the family.

Memorial donations may be made to the Brock family c/o Goodwin Funeral Home, to assist with college expenses for his children.

Please take a moment to pray for comfort for Nicole, Don, Rita, and the entire Brock family in their time of grief.

StainlessDiesel.com to sponsor PSD 4x4 3.0 Class

SD comwebThe National Tractor Pullers Association welcomes Stainless Diesel to the NTPA family of sponsors for 2017. Stainless Diesel offers exhaust manifolds, custom turbo piping, turbochargers, and accessories for diesel trucks.

The Middlebury, Indiana based company provides its customers with superior diesel performance in everyday applications like towing and hauling as well as a competitive edge on the pulling or drag racing track. Stainless Diesel builds both power and durability into its products including Stainless Dodge Cummins exhaust manifolds, of which it was the original manufacturer and can claim a zero percent failure rate.

"We are excited that NTPA is offering the new Pro Stock Diesel 4x4 class this year and wanted to be a part of this exciting change," said Trevor Lortie, Stainless Diesel Sales Manager. "We have a truck in the class and want to see the class grow."

The new StainlessDiesel.com 3.0 Pro Stock Diesel 4x4 class is scheduled at eight Region II events across Indiana and Ohio in its inaugural year of competition. (The class so named because rules permit one turbocharger with an inlet of 3.0-inch diameter.) Along with being a title sponsor of the class, Stainless Diesel will also contribute to the year-end points fund. Pulling fans will become acquainted with StainlessDiesel.com at events via public address announcements and commercial spots on the NTPA's mobile scoreboards where they appear.

"I'm thrilled to work with Stainless Diesel," said Josh Steinmetz, NTPA's Digital Communications Coordinator. "They make products both pullers and fans can use daily. And from a business standpoint, the expansion of this market segment can really help to grow the sport we all love."

For more information on Stainless Diesel, like them on facebook or visit them online at www.stainlessdiesel.com.

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The NTPA is the sport’s oldest and most respected truck and tractor pulling sanctioning organization. Governed by a board of directors, the NTPA is managed by World Pulling International (WPI), an independently owned entity. Headquartered in Worthington, Ohio, the NTPA provides rules and regulations and the infrastructures required for organizations throughout the country to arrange truck and tractor pulls. The 2017 NTPA Championship Pulling Circuit was sponsored in part by Case IH, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Alliance Tire, Enderle Fuel Injection, MAC Trailer, Cow Tales, Ag Protect 1, Shell Rotella, STOP-FYRE®, Cen-Pe-Co Lubricants, Columbus Diesel Supply, Heritage Iron, Stainless Diesel, Midwest Wheel Inc., the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green, Ohio, PowerBore Cylinder Sleeves, Profab Machine Inc., Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin and Riverside Engine Inc.

Watch the 12th season of “NTPA Championship Pulling” presented by Case IH, now in prime time on RFD-TV: Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. Eastern/8:30 p.m. Central/6:30 p.m. Pacific. Encore performances appear on Mondays at 12:30 a.m. Eastern/Sundays at 9:30 p.m. Pacific and Mondays at 6 a.m. Eastern/3 a.m. Pacific. RFD-TV is available on satellite through DirecTV (345), Dish Network (231), and AT&T (568) along with Spectrum, Time Warner, Brighthouse, Comcast, Charter, Suddenlink, Cox and other cable providers. Check your current provider for details or visit the channel finder at www.rfdtv.com.

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For more information about the NTPA, visit and follow us on social media at our Facebook page (ntpapulling), Twitter (@NTPApull), Youtube (NTPApull) and Instagram (ntpa) or call the NTPA office at 614.436.1761

2016 Grand National Four Wheel Drive Champions: Jim and Paul Holman, “4 Play”

Story by Darren Heartwell

Jim and Paul Holman earned their 12th Grand National Championship in 2016 with their legendary “4 Play” Chevrolet. Paul started pulling in 1977 and Jim in 1980, and they have always pulled Four-Wheel-Drive Trucks.

The brothers began pulling together in 1986 and moved to the GN circuit in 1987. Jim stated this 12th title “ties us with Esdon Lehn (“Red Line Fever” Super Stock Diesel) for second most [titles in NTPA history], which puts us in good company. [Speaking] as a fan, he has always been one of my favorite pullers!” Paul added, “If we retire tied with Esdon, I would be okay with that. He probably has the same respect for us that we have for him.”

The season kicked off in Benson, North Carolina. Jim was in the driver’s seat for Session One, finishing fifth. Paul drove in Session Two and finished in second place. The Friday night session in Hutchinson, Minnesota was washed out by rain, but Paul finished third on Saturday night to put the team in the points lead.

The first hook at the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin on Saturday night was rained out as well. Paul drove the truck to the team’s only win of the season on Sunday afternoon. Jim and Paul stated that this is where they figured out a nagging problem with the engine that has existed for many years.

At the Lions Super Pull of the South in Chapel Hill, Tennessee, the team finished fifth and third to maintain the points lead. They finished second in Monroe, Michigan and fourth in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Session One in Norwalk, Wisconsin saw the team finish outside the top 10 for the first time all season, in 13th, but they were back in the top five with a fourth-place finish in the second session.

Their points lead was down to one going into the National Tractor Pulling Championships. “4 Play” finished third and seventh in Bowling Green to extend their lead with just three hooks remaining. Jim finished third in Session One in Hudsonville, Michigan and Paul 11th in Session Two.

The final event of the season was in their hometown of Wauseon, Ohio. The team finished 15th but clinched the title by three points.

Paul commented, “Consistency is what won it for us.” Jim added, “I paid more attention to the points this year and didn’t worry as much about wins.”

The Holman Brothers are the only team to have qualified for 29 of the 30 Enderle Pull-Offs. They celebrated the 30th annual by taking the win at the All-Star event in Urbana, Ohio.

Jim and Paul would like to thank their Mom and Dad, Howard and Jeannette, for their support through the years: “Dad is our biggest fan!” They also want to thank their wives, Beth and Michelle. Paul and Michelle have one daughter Allison, and Jim and Beth have one son Craig, daughter-in-law Jennifer, and three grandchildren, Addie (6), Bryce (4), and Kaylee (1).

The team would also like to acknowledge Ed, Beverly, and Jeremy Miller along with all the employees at M.E. Miller Tire, Cen-Pe-Co, Tooman Roofing and Painting, Dave Visner at Visner Engineering Development, Steve Schmidt Racing Engines, and F&W Auto Supply.

NTPA Tech Official Bob Menn's Brother Mike Has Died

The NTPA grieves today for the family of Michael Thomas Menn, who passed away Thursday morning, March 2 after a courageous fight with colon cancer. Mr. Menn, 64, of Carthage, Illinois, was the brother of NTPA and Illinois TPA official Robert Menn.

Mr. Menn was the third generation of his family to own and operate Menn's Firestone in Carthage. His strong ties to the community included memberships in the Eagles' Club, Jaycees, Clipper Fire Department, and Hancock County Fair Board, and he was recently recognized as the Carthage Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year. He also had served as president of the Hancock County Saddle Club, of which he was a member for over 40 years. He had a lifelong interest in horse racing and rodeo.

Mr. Menn is survived by his wife Cynthia; two daughters: Kristin (Sid) Huls of Basco and Dr. Kaylee (Erik) Krekel of Carthage; two granddaughters: McKenna and Maci Jo Huls; three brothers: Rodger (Debbie), Robert (Jane), and Mark (Marta); a brother-in-law: Dave (Lana) Van Hove of Roscoe; one aunt; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Mr. Menn's full obituary may be found here, where notes of condolence may be left for the family.

Memorials in Mr. Menn's name may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, the Hancock County Saddle Club, or H.U.G.S.

Please keep the Menns in your thoughts.

SF Competitor Brad Hart's Father Has Passed

We are saddened to report the death on Thursday, March 2 of Phillip L. Hart, 81, of Clayton, Michigan. Mr. Hart was the father of Grand National Super Farm competitor Brad Hart ("Don't Ask").

Mr. Hart was a lifelong dairy farmer and was deeply involved in several community associations, grange societies, and commissions. He enjoyed attending his grandchildren's and great-grandchildren's athletic and school activities.

Mr. Hart is survived by his wife Mary Ann; three children: Brad (Tracey) Hart, Debra (Bruce) Isenhower, and Rebecca (William) Barrett; seven grandchildren: Chad (Ashley) Hart, Nick (Jessica) Hart, Burke (Kate Benscoter) Hart, Kristen (Ken) Stiekes, Ryan (Krista) Isenhower, Angela (Will) Freeman, and Heather Barrett; nine great-grandchildren: Addilyn, Colden, Carter, Grace, Hannah, Lillian, Brooklyn, Brycen, and Aden; one brother, Carroll (Elizabeth) Hart; three stepsisters: Sara (Tom) Sampeer, Janice (Donald) Farmer, and Jane Layton; and many nieces and nephews. Mr. Hart's complete obituary may be found here, where visitors may sign an online guestbook and leave messages of support.

Memorials in Mr. Hart's name may be made to Clayton United Methodist Church or Hospice of Lenawee County.

We extend to Brad and his family our heartfelt sympathy.

2016 Grand National Super Stock Diesel Champions: Jody and Colin Ross, “Triple Bypass”

Story by Darren Heartwell

Father-and-son duo Jody and Colin Ross earned their first Grand National championship in 2016 with the “Triple Bypass” McCormick.

Jody began his pulling career 43 years ago at age 10 on a garden tractor, moving through several farm, modified stock, and hot farm classes before getting his first Super Stock tractor. Colin started pulling 12 years ago, also at 10 years old. The family built a new component tractor and hit the GN trail for the first time in 2010. In 2014, while the Ross family sat out due to Jody’s ankle surgery, the present chassis was built. “Triple Bypass” is the first three-charger setup to win the GN championship since Rob Russell’s “Work Horse” in 1993.  Jody and Colin believed this system could prove to be more efficient than the four-charger systems used by most other competitors.  

From the start, 2016 has been an incredible year for this family. Colin won one night at the NTPA Winter Nationals in Cloverdale, Indiana, and they swept the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky. On the GN points circuit Jody and Colin earned nine wins plus the ring on Super Sunday at the 50th National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The Grand National tour started out in Benson, North Carolina with Colin finishing sixth during the first session and then taking his first win of the season on Saturday. The first hook in Hutchinson, Minnesota was rained out; Colin finished second Saturday night behind Esdon Lehn. Colin notched his second win of the year in Tomah, Wisconsin on Saturday. The team experienced issues and finished 11th on Sunday, their only non top-10 finish.

Colin finished second and ninth at the Lions Super Pull of the South in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. The following weekend, Jody was in the driver’s seat for a second-place finish on Friday night in Brandenburg, Kentucky. On Saturday night, he drove to his first NTPA win since 2012, and that started an eight-hook winning streak (seven GN) that solidified the championship. Jody got to the top spot in Mt. Sterling and Salem, Illinois on consecutive nights. Colin was back in the seat in Napoleon, Ohio. The team swept Bowling Green—with Jody driving on Friday and Sunday and Colin on Saturday—to take the win and the Case IH bonus money for winning all three sessions. 

Jody won again during the first session in Hudsonville, Michigan. The winning streak came to an end with a second place, by 0.04’, in the second session at Hudsonville. By that time, the team had built a 21-point lead with just two hooks remaining. With mechanical troubles in both sessions in Sandwich, Illinois, Jody finished ninth and Colin fourth to clinch the title.

Jody thanks his parents, Joe and Jean Ross, and his deceased grandparents, Pierce and Okel Ross, for instilling the ethic and spirit to not give up; and his wife Charlotte for her unwavering support and belief in him to achieve his childhood dream. He thanks daughter Lily for being his biggest supporter and son Colin for his help in every aspect of the tractor build and his meticulous polishing skills.

The Ross family would like to thank all the employees at Ross Tractor Sales for keeping things going while the family is away pulling. They acknowledge Jim Main, Shawn Orndorff, Engler Machine, Mark and Chris at Columbus Diesel, Hypermax Engineering, Nichols Tire, Profab Machine, TS Performance, Shipley Brothers Dyno Service, Carlton Cope, Nick McCormick, Mike Beck, Esdon Lehn, Alan Crouse, Rob Russell, Tom Dickerson, and all the competitors in the class for “keeping us motivated and showing good sportsmanship!” 

2016 Grand National Two Wheel Drive Champion: Jessie Petro, “Buckeye Hauler”

Story by Darren Heartwell

Jessie Petro continued his record-setting career by winning his fifth consecutive Grand National championship in 2016. This is the eighth consecutive championship for the Petro Motorsports Team, which this season placed four trucks in the top seven in GN points. Randy Petro finished in second with “Kathy’s Komplaint”—just one point behind “Buckeye Hauler”—Jessie parked “P5” in fifth, and cousin Joey Frasur finished seventh with “Runnin’ Block.”

Jessie started the season off with his worst finish of the year, a 26th place in Benson, North Carolina in Session One, but he bounced back to finish second in Session Two. He parked “Buckeye Hauler” in fourth in Session Three at the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin and 19th in Session Four.

Randy earned the team’s first win of the season with “Kathy’s Komplaint” on Friday night in Ionia, Michigan while Jessie drove “Buckeye Hauler” to fourth and second.

The next weekend, the Meade County NTPA Nationals in Brandenburg, Kentucky was once again a great event for the team. Jessie earned the first GN win for “P5” on Friday night and Joey Frasur parked “Runnin’ Block” on top on Saturday night. “Buckeye Hauler” was fifth and seventh at this event.

Jessie finished third in “Buckeye Hauler” in Wapakoneta, Ohio, then won the first hook at the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green to take over the points lead. He finished fifth in Session Four to extend that lead, then triumphed in the Super Sunday invitational with “P5” to earn the ring. This amazing weekend gave the team good momentum to finish the season with three Ohio hooks to go.

Jessie finished first with “Buckeye Hauler” in Greenville, then followed that up with a seventh place in Wellington to carry a nine-point lead into the final event of the season in Canfield. Jessie finished 11th there to clinch his record fifth consecutive title in this division.

Jessie would like to thank his parents Randy and Kathy, his girlfriend Jessica and daughter Audrey, Joey Frasur, Justin and Brandon Dake, Alex Honican, Joanna and Tom Dunaway, Mark Stelle, and Terry Frasur.

Jessie would also like to acknowledge and thank Bob Miner, JDF Performance, CFH, Fowler Engines, CM Pulling Tires, Full Pull Motorsports, Shell, Case IH, Cen-Pe-Co, and the NTPA.

"Tennessee Tracks" Puller Jay Fuqua Has Passed

It is our sad duty to report the death of Jay Fuqua, 58, of Springfield, Tennessee. Mr. Fuqua drove the "Tennessee Tracks" International Super Stock in competition at the state and regional levels for nearly 30 years and was inducted into the Mid-South Pullers Association Hall of Fame in 2008. He posted a Light Super Stock win in 2016 at the Western Kentucky State Fair Pull in Hopkinsville.

Mr. Fuqua was also the father of Super Stock and Two Wheel Drive competitor Jacob Fuqua ("Trax Unleashed," "Trax").

We express our deepest sympathy to Jacob, Jay's wife Cindy and daughter Jayda, and the entire Fuqua family on their loss.

MINI Competitor Chris Martin's Son Has Died

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Cody James Martin-Skulski, 25, oldest and beloved son of Chris and Tracy Martin. Chris pilots the "LG Seeds" Modified Mini in Grand National competition.

The young Mr. Martin-Skulski died unexpectedly on Tuesday, February 21 at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Cody Martin-Skulski Funeral Fund (c/o Christopher Martin, 1110 Spruce Street, Farmington, Minnesota 55024) would be greatly appreciated by the family.

The NTPA asks for your thoughts and prayers for Chris, Tracy, and their loved ones in this time of deep sorrow.

2016 Grand National Unlimited Champion: Chuck Knapp, “Screamin’ D”

Story by Darren Heartwell

Chuck Knapp won his second consecutive Grand National championship in the Unlimited Modified division in 2016. He also won the GN title in the Two Wheel Drive class in 2008. Chuck commented, “This is above our wildest dreams, didn’t expect this! Almost gave up after all the early breakage. My son, Kyloe, found the breakage and fixed it. He kept the morale going on the whole team! It’s more than we expected!”

The season started with ninth- and eighth-place finishes in Benson, North Carolina. After a rainout on Friday night, “Screamin’ D” finished eighth on Saturday night in Hutchinson, Minnesota.

Chuck recalled a “terrible start to the season, but it came around. A horrible driveline vibration was breaking things the first three hooks of the season. Kyloe figured it out before Tomah. It took a few more hooks to find and fix all the issues it caused.”

Chuck finished fifth in both sessions at the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin. He finished fourth in Session One at the Lions Super Pull of the South in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. Session Two marked the only time he finished outside of the top 10 with a 15th place.

The next weekend, Session One was rained out in Fort Recovery, Ohio and Chuck finished sixth in Session Two. He earned his first win of the season in Mount Sterling, Illinois. The National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green marked the turning point of the season. “We finished third and first, everything went our way. It made a huge swing in the points and got us back in the game.”

Indeed, this impressive weekend vaulted “Screamin’ D” into the points lead. Chuck followed that up with fourth-place finishes in Greenville and Wellington, Ohio. Chuck had a 3.5-point lead going into the final hook of the year in Canfield, Ohio where he finished seventh to clinch his second title. He then capped his championship season by winning the Enderle Pull-Off All-Star event in Urbana, Ohio.

Chuck would like to thank his wife Dee, son Kyloe, (especially for tuning the engines), daughter-in-law Renee, and grandson Granger. He would also like to acknowledge R & J Performance, Ken Veney, SSI Superchargers, SCS Gearbox, Gorr Fuel Systems, K3 Tire, Zumbrota Bearing and Gear, and Cen-Pe-Co.

2016 Grand National Light Super Stock Champions: Mike Chizek and Brian Korth, “Excessive Force”

Story by Darren Heartwell

Mike Chizek and Brian Korth continued their domination of the Light Super Stock class in 2016. The Armed & Dangerous team won six of the eight GN hooks. The GN champion tractor, “Excessive Force,” won four hooks, and the “Considered Armed & Dangerous” tractor won two events and finished third in GN points.

2016 marked the third consecutive championship for this team and sixth in seven years. Chizek stated, “That’s quite an accomplishment,” while Korth added, “It’s the whole team that made it possible, from the tire cutter to the engine builder to the chassis builder.” They both agreed that it was “definitely a lot tougher this year. Our competitors are right on our heels!”

In addition to their established championship-winning tractors, the team added a third Case IH, “Triple Barrel,” to the stable this year. They said that trying to get the bugs worked out of that tractor was one of the biggest challenges of the season.

The season started off in Benson, North Carolina with a win for the “Considered” tractor in the first hook and a win for “Excessive Force” on the second hook. The team switched the order at the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin, where “Excessive Force” won the first hook and “Considered” won the second to take the points lead following that event. Chizek said that winning both hooks in their home state was one of the highlights of the season.

Korth parked “Excessive Force” in third place on Friday night in Brandenburg, Kentucky to take a points lead he would not surrender. He won on Saturday night to extend his lead with just two points hooks remaining.

“Excessive Force” was fourth in the first hook at Bowling Green, Ohio’s 50th National Tractor Pulling Championships. Korth clinched the title in dramatic fashion with a win in Session Four.

Mike and Brian both acknowledge Terry and Josh Blackbourn at Blackbourn Racing Components and Mark Korth at K3 Tire for their support. Mike sends special thanks to his wife Debbie and son Cody, Brian Korth, and the guys in the shop at Chizek Transport. Brian thanks his wife Renee, and Mike Chizek.

2016 Grand National Super Semi Champion: Dean Holicky, “Mother Trucker”

Story by Darren Heartwell

Dean Holicky earned his third consecutive Grand National championship in 2016 with the “Mother Trucker” Peterbilt. He won the first hook and the final two to bookend the season.

Dean said that the highlight of the season was “seeing our friends, Bill Daluge, Eric Gregory, and Blake Kolles take the truck to Rockwell, Iowa and get a second and first place. We didn’t expect them to do that well.

“It was a challenge preparing the truck for a friend who had never driven it before and then watching him have success. We were on a family vacation and watched it on live stream. We were very excited!”

Dean started out the season with a win at the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin and a fourth in the second hook. The truck finished second in Session One in Rockwell, and then Bill Daluge won in his second time in the seat of “Mother Trucker” in Session Two to take over the points lead.

“We came home from vacation a day early [and] put a turbo on the truck for Peoria, Illinois, but unfortunately that event was rained out.”

Dean was back in the seat and finished second in Morley, Michigan. He finished third and second at the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green to take a one-point lead into the final hook of the year. There, Holicky was clutch once again, winning in Sandwich, Illinois to clinch another title. He capped the season by winning the Enderle Pull-Off invitational for the first time.

Holicky stated, “The truck ran flawlessly this summer with no major breakage.” Dean would like to thank his wife Beth; his kids Rachel, Katelyn and Casey; and his brother Danny. He wanted to acknowledge the late Bob Tuma, Bill and Shannon Daluge, Eric and Kenzie Gregory, Jon Halderson, Blake Kolles, Riverside Engines, Cyclone Machine, Columbus Diesel, Profab, Zumbrota Bearing and Gear (ZBAG), Jack and Trudy Kielmeyer, special helpers at home—Eric Gostomzcik, Troy Anderson and Bernie LaCanne—Bret and Jeannie Berg, Chris and Tracy Martin, the NTPA, the tech officials, the promoters, and the fans.

2016 Grand National Light Unlimited Champion: Brandon Simon, “Simon Sez”

Story by Darren Heartwell

Brandon Simon earned his second Grand National championship in three seasons in the Light Unlimited division in 2016. He seized this title in dominant fashion by winning seven of the nine hooks in the class. 

Brandon stated, “We spent time at the dyno this winter, we re-worked the chassis for better weight distribution, analyzed computer data, and studied videos of our runs to improve for 2016. Luck of the draw that winter changes worked; they could have gone the other way.

“We didn’t have any bearing trouble this year thanks to Cen-Pe-Co. We worked with them on improving their oil and making it work better for us.”

Brandon won the first hook of the season in Benson, North Carolina and finished third in the second hook. Brandon said that one of the highlights of the season was sweeping the next two hooks in Tomah, Wisconsin.

He finished fourth in the first session in Fort Recovery, Ohio. But in the second session he started a four-hook winning streak. He won the next event in Sandusky, Ohio and then swept the final two hooks in Hudsonville, Michigan to clinch the championship.

Brandon would like to acknowledge his sponsors - Simon’s Trucking, Simon’s Cattle Company, and Cen-Pe-Co. He would like to thank his wife Jodi, daughter Braylen, and son Kash, along with his brother R.J. and brother-in-law, Jerry Wulfekuhle.

He would also like to thank his mother Darlene, and father Roger. “We appreciate our father, Roger, for all the support. He comes with us to help us read the track and set up our tractors based on his knowledge from decades in the sport.”

He would also like to thank Steve Olson “for getting our motors where they need to be and getting my clutches to lock in when I want them to, the lock-up time is perfect!”

“Thank you to our help at the shop back home—Chris, Bob, and Cody—and to John, Josh, Keith, and all the other help at the farm that lets me come out and do this!

“We look forward to 2017, we may change some things up!”

2016 Grand National Super Stock Open Champion: John Strickland, “Get a Load of That II”

Story by Darren Heartwell

John Strickland, along with team owners Earl and Peggy Wells, seized their first Grand National Championship in 2016 with the “GALOT II” AGCO.

John began his pulling career 13 years ago in the Super Farm division. He stated, “We have been chasing two goals since we started pulling Super Farm: winning a GN title and a Bowling Green ring. We’ve been close but haven’t achieved them until this year.

“It was a successful season but it was not easy. It took a lot of work to get the championship! Several people told Mr. Wells that the only way he would win a GN championship was with a V-8. With Earl’s determination and Brent Payne’s determination we were able to do it with a six-cylinder.”

The GALOT team started the season at the Mule City 300, the event that they promote and hold at the GALOT Motorsports Park in Benson, North Carolina. John took the victory in the first session and finished third on Saturday night.

He finished second in Session One at the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin to take an early points lead. He won the second hook in Tomah to extend the lead. In Ionia, Michigan he won on Friday night and finished fourth on Saturday night.

The first session at Fort Recovery, Ohio was rained out, but John finished third on Saturday night, then third again in Monroe, Michigan. The only time all season that this tractor finished outside the top five was in Salem, Illinois—a ninth-place finish. This dropped the team into a tie for the GN points lead heading into the National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green.

John finished second in the first session, putting him into second place behind the winner, Terry Blackbourn’s “Extremely Armed & Dangerous.” He finished second again on Saturday afternoon to pull back into a first-place tie with Blackbourn with three hooks remaining. To cap the weekend, he earned his first Bowling Green championship ring with a win on Super Sunday!

Down the road in Greenville, Ohio the following Tuesday and Wednesday, Brent Payne piloted the “GALOT” team tractor to his first win of the year. Meanwhile, John parked “GALOT II” in fifth and back in sole possession of first place. John extended the lead with a victory in Session Two. At this point, recalled John, Mr. Wells stated: “Leave for Wellington now and drive 35 mph to make sure you make it there!” Strickland clinched the title in dominating fashion by taking the win at the Friday Night Spectacular in Wellington, Ohio.

John would like to thank team owners Earl and Peggy Wells, John’s father-in-law and mother-in-law, his wife Dana, son Holt, and daughter Janalee. He would also like to thank Brent Payne, his wife Lee and children—Annabelle, Johnny and Jack—and the crew at GMS—Joe Ferneding, Dennis Payne, Dan Lyons, Timmy Hettrich, Craig Gettinger, Andy Smith, Austin Engel, Kevin Hall, and Ted Grassmick,

The GALOT Team also acknowledges GMS, GALOT Motorsports, CM Pulling Tires, Humpco Machine, Keating Machine, HPS Cylinder Head, Cen-Pe-Co, and Rite Care Scottish Rite of Freemasonry’s Childhood Language Program, Helping Children Communicate-Speech, Language, and Literacy.

Contact Info

  • ADDRESS:
    National Tractor Pullers Association
    6155-B Huntley Road,
    Columbus, OH 43229
  • PHONE:
    (614) 436-1761
  • FAX:
    (614) 436-0964
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