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Those familiar with area tractor pulls immediately recognize the name “Shagnasty.”
Now, after competition at the Championship Tractor Pull held in Louisville, KY last week, Shagnasty can also now be recognized as a national champion.
For those uninitiated into the sport of tractor pulling, Shagnasty is the name of the bright red pulling tractor owned by Rich Johnson of Tingley for the past 20 years.
Johnson and Shagnasty are fixtures on the leaderboards at big-time pulls both locally and across the region.
Only points leaders from sanctioned pulls across the nation throughout the year are eligible to apply to compete at the Louisville championship.
A competition committee then chooses the top 12 applicants to appear in the prestigious championship field consisting of nine different weight classes for tractors and trucks.
Several weeks ago, Johnson applied and was invited by the championship competition committee to be among the 12 top applicants in his division.
Then on Saturday, February 19, driver Mike Eckels of Murray maneuvered Shagnasty to the starting line in Freedom Hall, and 242.93 feet later, Shagnasty had captured first place in the 8,500-pound Light Pro Stock division.
Shagnasty edged second-place finisher Hostile Environment from Pella by only about eight inches.
In all, tractors and trucks representing 19 states from California to Vermont and one Canadian province took part in the championships.
Other area pullers also qualified to compete at the championships.
Another Ringgold County resident, Cody Shay finished seventh in the 10,200-lb. Pro Stock Tractor division.
Charlie Miller from Creston placed fourth in the 6,350-lb. Modified 4×4 Truck division.
Rob Russell from Prescott finished third in the 10,200-pound Pro Stock Tractor division in his Friday pull and ninth in the following day’s final pull in that division.
Johnson’s division held only one pull for all the marbles.
The Championship Pull was held in conjunction with the National Farm Machinery Show.