Tue09162014

Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

   20140901MetroCastweb

Johnson prepared for his time in spotlight

Johnson prepared for his time in spotlight

After playing in the shadows of other Fox gridiron stars Antonio “Kentucky” Johnson finally will hav...

W&L will count on defensive veterans

W&L will count on defensive veterans

Linemen, quickness are keys for Eagles’ squad

Washington & Lee’s new varsity football coach, To...

Outmanned Drifters have playoffs in sight

Outmanned Drifters have playoffs in sight

Most of team will be forced to play offense, defense

With their backs against the wall the Drifters...

KG football reloads, eyes another big year

KG football reloads, eyes another big year

King George High School has returned for another season of action-packed varsity football.

With the ...

The rise of Shiloh Park: a recreational sports Mecca

The rise of Shiloh Park: a recreational sports Mecca

It takes a different kind of athlete to get up 5 a.m. to prepare to run 50k (31 miles) through the r...

Eagles new head coach pleased with team’s progress

Eagles new head coach pleased with team’s progress

Todd Jones, the legendary new coach of the Washington & Lee Eagles, has just been on the job for...

T-Shirt printing 20130925

Banner printing Comm Dental

Pulling for the fun of it

James Johnson personifies the American spirit

   His passion for mechanical engineering has no boundaries.
 
  For 35 years, King George resident, James T. Johnson has successfully competed in the sport of lawn and garden tractor pulling, finishing each year at the top of his game. Throughout the years, Johnson, a graduate of Ralph Bunche and a retired truck driver and engineering technician from Indian Head Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, has placed first numerous times.
   In fact, in 1998, 2005, 2006, and 2007 he celebrated first place four times in each season respectively, using two tractors, a weight transfer sled, that he built in his own backyard. Last year he was third in point production for the 1400-pound Eliminator Modified category. Most recently, at the Hanover County “Shuk N Pull” tractor pull competition, Johnson placed first in the 1200-pound class, using Southern Sample as his tractor. In addition, he placed third in the 1400-pound class, using Mighty Moe as his tractor. Although he competed in the 1850-pound class, he failed to place using Silver Shadow as his tractor.
   The basics of tractor pull competition are simple; whoever can pull a mechanized transfer sled, carrying various amounts of weight the farthest on a 200-foot course, wins. This technical aspects may sound simple, but the reality of tractors failing to start, tractors blowing engines, picking the wrong surface to race in, and not having the weight set in the proper place on the sled could spell disaster for a novice or veteran competitor. The most Johnson has ever pulled was 9,000 pounds.
   The primary difficulty in tractor pulling is carrying the weight-box that is attached to the sled. The weight-box will start out on the wheel portion of the sled, and as the tractor advances, the weight is transferred from the wheels to the drag part of the sled-bed—which eventually makes it harder to advance the tractor.
   Johnson is an active member of the Shenandoah Valley Tractor Pullers Association. The organization has 75 active members who compete all over the country. Some of the states that Johnson has traveled include: Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Maryland and North Carolina.
   As an official, a well-respected member of the tractor pulling circuit, Johnson is 1200 Pro Sportsman Super Modified and the 1400 Pro Eliminator Super Modified representative. Also, he is the head tech official at each event.
   The urge to compete in tractor pulling has fascinated Johnson since the day a friend encouraged him to enter a tractor-pulling event in Fredericksburg in 1974. Although his tractor weight of 1,300 pounds prevented him officially entering as a competitor, race officials did allow him to showcase his tractor in an exhibition pull. Afterwards, Johnson had found an avenue that he could both pursue his lifelong interest in mechanics, while surrounding himself with competitors who shared the same interest in tractors that he has. “After the race was over, I told myself, ‘man, I like this,’” Johnson said. “Its really a good feeling to know you’re competing against people who are just as good as you are. I enjoyed the feeling of making a piece of equipment that would not break under tremendous pressure.”
   In high school, Johnson amazed his classmates by building a motorbike, that he often road to school and work. Driven to build the bike at any cost, Johnson skipped lunch, and saved his money to purchase a three horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine, that cost $49.99, from Sears and Roebuck. The bike reached a maximum speed of 50-mph. Not only was the bike durable to handle street traffic, but also Johnson made sure the bike was covered by insurance, complete with license plates and title before entering the roadway.
   Throughout Johnson’s life, he has found satisfaction from defying the obstacles that sometimes accompany life, and hurdling them with the desire to succeed using his natural talents. After high school, and several failed attempts at landing a job in Dahlgren at NSWC, he decided to build a career foundation by entering the military. He also served his country in the National Guard for a brief period.
   Although the doors to employment at NSWC in Dahlgren remained closed, he was able to land a job at the Indian Head Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, where he worked for 33 years.
   When Johnson is not building tractors or competing against rival pullers in some far away region in Virginia, he spends time with his wife, Phyllis. All three of their children are now adults. He also proudly serves Antioch Baptist Church in King George in the capacity of a deacon.
   The next tractor pull competition scheduled for Johnson will be on April 18, in Gordonsville, for the “Fun Pull” competition. Information pertaining to Johnson and the sport of tractor pulling can be accessed online at www.jamestjohnson.org.
   While the thrill of victory will always have a place in Johnson’s heart, the real joy is the camaraderie associated with networking with fellow pullers. “I pull for fun of it,” Johnson said. “I am not going to pull and work myself to death.”

Leonard M. Banks
Sports Editor

201407chamber

 

201408source

201404getaway

 

201401kgpr

Contact Us

The Journal Press, Inc. P. O. Box 409, 10250 Kings Hwy. King George, VA 22485

EditorialAdvertisingOffice
Jessica Herrink, Publisher

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Carla Gutridge
540-709-7061
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Leonard Banks, Production
540-469-4196
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Leonard Banks, Sports editor
540-469-4196
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Steve Detwiler
540-709-7288
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Drue Murray
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phyllis Cook
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Charlene Franks
540-709-7075
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Linda Farneth,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Elizabeth Foreman,
540-709-7076
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Charlene Franks, Accounts
540-709-7075
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Richard Leggitt
540-993-7460
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Bonnie Gouvisis
540-775-2024
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lori Deem, Church & Community
540-709-7495
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Advertising Information
540-775-2024
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jessica Herrink
540-469-4031
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Journal Print Shop

Contact Steve Detwiler

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

540-709-7288 • 540-775-2024

Quikey

Bulletline

link4

Your Invitation Place

Balloon House