John Shaul began his NTPA pulling career in 1974 at the age of 30. He was born and raised on his family’s farm in the Schoharie River Valley in Fultonham, New York near Albany.
In the early days of Shaul’s pulling career, he was part of the J&H Pulling Team - the “J” for John and the “H” for Harry - partner Harry Wyckoff. Prior to Shaul’s entry into tractor pulling, he was active in the Eastern Super Stock drag racing scene for about 10 years. Then he decided to try his hand at tractor pulling. That winter, he met Wyckoff and they decided that they would build a Modified. A tractor called the “Longhorn” because of its unique headers design on their twin 396 cubic inch Chevys which sported twin-turbochargers. They netted fourth place their first time out in NTPA competition.
Also in those early years of organizing pulling, John became one of New York’s delegates to the NTPA Board of Directors, and his activities in the New York Tractor Pullers Association benefited the development of pulling for that region.
Eventually, changes in life led to Wyckoff’s departure but Shaul remained committed to pulling.
In 1976, Shaul built an Allison powered machine and joined it with the “Longhorn”. It was this new machine that began bringing notable accolades to Shaul in the Eastern seaboard. His “J&H Express” Allison powered Modified won several point titles, building Shaul an impressive legacy in NTPA Region One.
The “Longhorn” was replaced by a second Allison powered Modified called the “Northeast Raider” in the late 70’s.
In 1982, Shaul ventured out more onto the NTPA Grand National Circuit with his close friend, Norm Smith - a noted hired gun of the day - and held the lead in the Unlimited class with his red, twin-turboed Allison power machine for much of the year. With Smith based in western Ohio, it allowed Shaul to stay close to the family farm during different stretches of the summer to tend to his 2000 acres of various vegetation. The duo were tough as nails in the 7,000 and 9,000 lb. weight categories as well, and at the end of the 1982 season, Shaul was honored by his peers by being named NTPA “Modified Puller of the Year”.
Another change came along for Shaul in 1983 as he debuted a Modified sporting three supercharged Arias power plants on board tuned by Rick Kipley. This set-up was the first of its kind in the sport of pulling as a couple of pullers used a pair of Arias engines, but not three. The new “Northeast Raider” was a trend setter of its day with three motors stacked staircase style. Shaul pulled off one of the most incredible feats ever in NTPA competition by winning the 7, 9, and 12 thousand pound classes in Bowling Green, Ohio. Although Shaul did not win an NTPA Grand National Title, he earned a few runner-up finishes in the points, including two in 1983.
In 1984, Shaul built a new Modified - but instead of Arias engines, John chose four Rodecks to power the new “Eastern Flyer” ride. He had good success with the new tractor, but the horsepower boom of the era pointed out to John that he needed to either build more or leave the sport he loved. He decided to build up, selling his triple Arias machine to L.D. Nation and putting five Rodecks on board a new machine for the 1986 season.
Unfortunately for Shaul, early season damage to a few of the motors cut his summer short, and eventually called for the end of his competitive stint in the sport of pulling. However, Shaul also left a mark in assisting a financially struggling NTPA and helped capitalize World Pulling International, Inc. as an original and still current shareholder.
John Shaul, known for his quiet demeanor, hard work, and innovation in the sport, enters the NTPA Hall of Fame, etching his name with many legendary NTPA performers.