Zaring captures truck world championship
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Veteran driver Jake Zaring squeezed every single inch he possibly could out of the Dixie Chopper pulling truck Saturday night.
And because of that extreme effort, when the dust cleared at Freedom Hall in Louisville, "Crazy Jake" Zaring of Fillmore stood as the world champion, capturing the 6,200-lb. 4x4 Modified Truck Class at the World Championship Truck and Tractor Pull.
Maneuvering the Dixie Chopper truck to a distance of 234 feet, 14 inches, Zaring nipped Rob Foster and Simply Red of Fairgrove, Mich., by a single inch to take home a share of the total $200,000 in prize money awarded at the 39th annual championship pull.
Zaring and crew chief Jim Hilburn were understandably ecstatic with the result.
"We did it!" beamed Hilburn, a lifelong friend of Zaring who helped him build the pull truck in 2005 and then fulfill a longtime dream on Saturday night.
"First the Indianapolis Colts win the Super Bowl, and then Jake and the Dixie Chopper Dodge win the Super Bowl of truck pulling," added Hilburn, who serves as national service manager for Dixie Chopper. "What a year!"
Dixie Chopper, it should be noted, is the official lawn mower of the Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts.
The championship pull was conducted during the 2007 National Farm Machinery Show that ran Feb. 14-17 on the Kentucky State Fairgrounds.
It marked the second straight year that Zaring and the Dixie Chopper pulling truck were among 15 drivers and trucks invited from across the nation to compete in the world championships, known in truck and tractor pulling circles as "the granddaddy of them all." In his inaugural championship effort last year, Zaring finished fifth.
In 2006, the veteran Fillmore driver completed another successful year on the pulling circuit, highlighted by a victory in front of the home folks last July at the Putnam County Fair. Zaring will be competing in the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling Series again this season.
His first invitation to Louisville came less than a year after Zaring and Hilburn debuted their Dodge Dakota creation on the pulling circuit. They built the truck in an incredible 51 days in spring 2005.
Powered by more than 1,300 horsepower and a Pro-Fab transmission, the Dixie Chopper truck burns seven gallons of alcohol fuel per run. Its distinctive design features blades of grass stenciled along the bottom of each door panel, while the weight box up front has been made to look like the bottom of a 72-inch Dixie Chopper mowing deck.
The National Farm Machinery Show is the world's largest indoor farm show with more than a million square feet of exhibit space. Dixie Chopper again had a booth in the Kentucky Exposition Center, displaying its line of zero-turning radius lawn mowers, including the new 74-inch Xcaliber model. More than 300,000 people attended the show and 15,000 spectators watched the championship pull on Saturday.