Story by Darren Heartwell
Adam Koester piloted “Walk the Line” to his second Grand National championship in 2016. The Koester family notched three of the top five positions in Grand National points with dad Larry’s “Footloose” in second and “Beast of Burden” in fifth.
Team Koester added the brand new “Walk the Line” tractor to its stable for this season. Adam began his career in the Modified Mini division by winning the 2005 NTPA Rookie of the Year Award and clinched his first championship in 2007 with “Double Play.” Larry won championships in 2001, 2006, and 2008 aboard “Footloose,” making this the fifth GN title for the family.
The first part of the season was challenging for the team as they acclimated to three vehicles. Early in the season the crew consisted of Larry, Adam, Adam’s wife Jamilyn, and sometimes Riley Smith, making everyone very busy.
The season started out in Benson, North Carolina with fourth- and third-place finishes. The first session in Hutchinson, Minnesota was rained out, but Larry Koester won the second session aboard “Footloose” with Adam finishing fourth with “Walk the Line.”
Adam continued this trend with a pair of fourths in Tomah, Wisconsin. The North Iowa Nationals in Rockwell, Iowa were the next stop on the GN tour. Adam finished 10th in Session One—his worst finish of the year—and seventh in Session Two. But better fortunes awaited the next weekend.
Chapel Hill, Tennessee is where “Walk the Line” began its move to the top. Adam finished third on Friday night and notched the first win with the new tractor on Saturday night. After a rainout on Friday in Fort Recovery, Ohio, Adam won his second consecutive hook on Saturday.
He made it three in a row in Sandusky, Ohio to take a points lead that he would not relinquish. He finished second the next night in Napoleon, Ohio and then won the first hook in Bowling Green, Ohio to headline first-, third-, and fifth-place Session Three finishes for the team. “Walk the Line” finished sixth in Session Four to qualify for Super Sunday.
Adam put his “Beast of Burden” in the top spot on Tuesday night in Greenville, Ohio, but it was Wednesday night in Darke County that provided the highlight of the season: Adam won with “Walk the Line,” Larry was second with “Footloose,” and Adam was third with “Beast of Burden.” Adam parked the tractor in fifth in Wauseon, Ohio to take a 13-point lead into the final two hooks of the season in Sandwich, Illinois. There, Adam finished second in the afternoon session and ninth in the evening to clinch the title.
Adam acknowledges Bob Miner at Miner Brothers Racing, Todd Bultman at TRB Machine, Larry and Lisa Peterson at Profab, Shell Rotella, Mopar, Bradley Stevens and Kolten Arnold at BSS Inc, Chad Mayhill at CM Pulling Tires, Bret Berg at Money Maker Pulling Tires, Vaughn Bauer for building a sled that is safe, and the NTPA for providing a good circuit to run.
On a personal note, Adam wants to thank God for “keeping us safe traveling and on the track,” his wife Jamilyn, mom Caesar, and dad Larry, Ron (“Toby”) and Donna Tobin, Riley Smith, and Craig, Ashley, Erica, Julia, Carsen, and Raylen Corzine.
He added, “Thank you to the fans for coming to watch us! If we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t be doing it. Thanks to all the competitors in the class; they will drop anything to help us. They make us better pullers. They’re our pulling family and great people, we wouldn’t do it without them!”