Story by Darren Heartwell
Father-and-son duo Jody and Colin Ross earned their first Grand National championship in 2016 with the “Triple Bypass” McCormick.
Jody began his pulling career 43 years ago at age 10 on a garden tractor, moving through several farm, modified stock, and hot farm classes before getting his first Super Stock tractor. Colin started pulling 12 years ago, also at 10 years old. The family built a new component tractor and hit the GN trail for the first time in 2010. In 2014, while the Ross family sat out due to Jody’s ankle surgery, the present chassis was built. “Triple Bypass” is the first three-charger setup to win the GN championship since Rob Russell’s “Work Horse” in 1993. Jody and Colin believed this system could prove to be more efficient than the four-charger systems used by most other competitors.
From the start, 2016 has been an incredible year for this family. Colin won one night at the NTPA Winter Nationals in Cloverdale, Indiana, and they swept the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky. On the GN points circuit Jody and Colin earned nine wins plus the ring on Super Sunday at the 50th National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green, Ohio.
The Grand National tour started out in Benson, North Carolina with Colin finishing sixth during the first session and then taking his first win of the season on Saturday. The first hook in Hutchinson, Minnesota was rained out; Colin finished second Saturday night behind Esdon Lehn. Colin notched his second win of the year in Tomah, Wisconsin on Saturday. The team experienced issues and finished 11th on Sunday, their only non top-10 finish.
Colin finished second and ninth at the Lions Super Pull of the South in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. The following weekend, Jody was in the driver’s seat for a second-place finish on Friday night in Brandenburg, Kentucky. On Saturday night, he drove to his first NTPA win since 2012, and that started an eight-hook winning streak (seven GN) that solidified the championship. Jody got to the top spot in Mt. Sterling and Salem, Illinois on consecutive nights. Colin was back in the seat in Napoleon, Ohio. The team swept Bowling Green—with Jody driving on Friday and Sunday and Colin on Saturday—to take the win and the Case IH bonus money for winning all three sessions.
Jody won again during the first session in Hudsonville, Michigan. The winning streak came to an end with a second place, by 0.04’, in the second session at Hudsonville. By that time, the team had built a 21-point lead with just two hooks remaining. With mechanical troubles in both sessions in Sandwich, Illinois, Jody finished ninth and Colin fourth to clinch the title.
Jody thanks his parents, Joe and Jean Ross, and his deceased grandparents, Pierce and Okel Ross, for instilling the ethic and spirit to not give up; and his wife Charlotte for her unwavering support and belief in him to achieve his childhood dream. He thanks daughter Lily for being his biggest supporter and son Colin for his help in every aspect of the tractor build and his meticulous polishing skills.
The Ross family would like to thank all the employees at Ross Tractor Sales for keeping things going while the family is away pulling. They acknowledge Jim Main, Shawn Orndorff, Engler Machine, Mark and Chris at Columbus Diesel, Hypermax Engineering, Nichols Tire, Profab Machine, TS Performance, Shipley Brothers Dyno Service, Carlton Cope, Nick McCormick, Mike Beck, Esdon Lehn, Alan Crouse, Rob Russell, Tom Dickerson, and all the competitors in the class for “keeping us motivated and showing good sportsmanship!”