The large crowds at the inaugural Danny Toops Memorial Truck Pull caught people by surprise Saturday.
Dennis Long, coordinator of the event for the Madison County Agricultural Society, said as people entered the pull at the Madison County Fairgrounds at $10 person, they were issued wristbands.
“They ran out of wristbands at 2,700,” Long said Monday. Then, they started stamping people.
Tommy Wilson, a seller of barbecue meat products, ran out of food to sell. The crowd was estimated to be 3,000 strong.
Attendees came to see the trucks, the smoke-belching, decibel producing diesel and gas powered four-wheel drive machines to challenge the sled. Long reported 80 trucks took part, one of the largest turnouts in recent memory.
Long said fair board members who volunteered to help with the event noticed Ohio vehicle tags from all over the state. There was also apparent interest in the event from numerous states beyond Ohio.
Daniel Toops Sr., father of Danny Toops Jr., for whom the event is named, said, “We couldn’t have asked for better.”
“There was no room left,” Toops continued. “Daniel’s friends never let him down.”
Based on the inaugural event’s success, it will be held again in 2015.
“Everything goes back for next year to make it bigger and better, ” Toops said. “I think Daniel would be proud of his friends.”
Danny Toops Jr. was a self-taught diesel mechanic who was building a solid reputation as a builder of powerful diesel engines, when he died in an automobile accident on Thanksgiving in 2013.
“He would have put London on the map,” Toops said.
In Toops’ memory, close friend Jared Troyer began working with Long to put on the pull and began lining up sponsors for the event.
“He really worked hard on it,” Long said.
Long said it was the first time they used two tracks and “we learned some things.”
Toops and his wife, Alison, said the Central Ohio Pullers Association put on a smooth event.
“They put on a heckuva pull for Danny,” he said. “We’re very proud of everything. Everything went very smooth. With two sleds, it made for a good night of pulling.”
The Toops family added funds to the purse to allow for a little larger-take home, for those pullers successful in their classes.
Class winners are as follows:
• 2.5 Diesel: Evan Davis, Leesburg, Ohio
• 6200 Cheater Stock Gas: Bob Brown, Circleville, Ohio
• 2.6 Diesel: Rob Wright, McArthur, Ohio
• 6500 Pro Stock Gas: Richard Mazzarini, Canal Winchester, Ohio
• 3.0 Diesel: John Shriver, London, Ohio
• RWYB (Run What You Brung): Calvin Miller, Washington, Pa.
Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.