Story by Darren Heartwell
Rod Deck earned his first Grand National championship in 2016 with his “Dream On” Case IH. It was a “Double Deck-er” as his son Bryan finished second with “One Bad Apple.”
Rod started pulling in 1999 and built “Dream On” in 2000. He won the NTPA Region V title in 2011 and moved to the Grand National tour in 2013. This Winside, Nebraska-based team is very committed to pulling with NTPA. The closest Grand National hook was 4.5 hours away in Rockwell, Iowa and the farthest one was Benson, North Carolina at 22 hours from home. They hooked at a lot of state and regional events that were conveniently located during their travels as well. Rod stated, “This is a friendly group of pullers. We’re competitors on the track but friends off the track. That’s what pulling is all about!”
The season kicked off at the Mule City 300 in Benson, North Carolina with 18 tractors committed to run the entire GN circuit. Rod finished second in the first session and sixth in the second session. He had his worst finish of the season—seventh—at the next hook at the Budweiser Dairyland Super Nationals in Tomah, Wisconsin. But he rebounded to finish third in the last session at Tomah to seize a points lead that he would hold the rest of the season.
At the next event, Rockwell, Rod earned his one GN victory, a highlight of the season. He said it was “the first time I ever choked this tractor.” It was a good weekend for the team as Bryan put “One Bad Apple” on top on Saturday night with Rod finishing fifth.
Rod finished third and second in Ionia, Michigan and fourth in Mount Sterling, Illinois. This brought up a situation eerily reminiscent to 2013. Going into Bowling Green three years ago, Rod held a 17-point lead over his son Bryan. But Rod experienced major breakage during the first hook while Bryan won one session and the ring to take over the points lead on the way to the GN title.
Rod admitted he was “worried going into BG.” In another one of the highlights of the season, Rod finished second in both points sessions to maintain the points lead while Bryan won the ring in the invitational on Super Sunday.
Rod finished fourth in Greenville, Ohio to expand his lead to 26 points going into the final hook of the season. He clinched the championship with a solid third-place finish in Wellington, Ohio to win the championship by 29 points. He then capped his amazing season by winning the NTPA’s all-star invitational event, the Enderle Pull-off in Urbana, Ohio.
Rod acknowledges Ryan Salenbien at Salenbien Peformance—“brand new motor this year, ran it all season without having to work on it!”—Extreme Tire Cutting, Mark Colberg at Colberg Machine, and Cen-Pe-Co.
Rod thanks his son Bryan for all of the research and development work, his daughter-in-law Connie who worked on the irrigation system while they were gone pulling, God for timely rains, and his grandchildren: Justin, Ryan, and Anna.