WPI/NTPA is saddened to learn of the passing on Friday, April 3 of Charlie Ross, 75, of Zanesville, Ohio. Mr. Ross teamed with Jeff Englehart to pilot the Allis-Chalmers D21 Super Stock known in its latest incarnation as "Hoe Handle Engineerin'."
Mr. Ross was the owner and operator of Ross Agri Mechanics in Zanesville, a farm equipment service and repair shop and dealership he started in 1982.
He first appeared in NTPA competition in 1977 aboard a four-cylinder John Deere 2510 Super Stock he named "Little Dear." He and Englehart assembled the D21 over the winter of 1984-1985. The side shields surrounding the venerable 426-ci diesel block wore the emblems of Pepsi and Eagle Snacks sponsorships before the "Hoe Handle" name supplanted them in 1998.
The Ross-Englehart Team pulled at every tier of NTPA competition, capturing the Region I 9,500-lb. SS championship in 1987 while finishing ninth at both the 7,500- and 9,500-lb. weight breaks at the Grand National level. For most of the next three decades, they were regulars on the state and regional circuits, with Mr. Ross' final appearance at his hometown Muskingum County Fair Pull coming in 2017.
His dedication to pulling extended beyond the track as well, as he served the Mid-Ohio club, a regional member within the Ohio State Tractor Pullers Association, as its president, the OSTPA as its vice president, and the NTPA as an Ohio member state delegate during the 1990s. He was also a member of the Old Steam and Gas and Freeland Valley Antique Power Clubs.
Mr. Ross is survived by his wife Margaret Kittle Ross; his daughters, Chris (Kevin) Brooks, Shelia (Kem) Wilson, and Marsha (Donnie Morgan) Parks; his sister Betsy (Ron) Thomas; his grandchildren, Chad (Sara), Cheryl Christen (Justin), Brady, Emily and Jacob; and his great grandchildren, Ella, Courtney, Jack and Ruby. His full obituary may be found here.
Memorial contributions may be made to Mount Olive Church, 1705 County Line Road, Hopewell, Ohio 43746. A Celebration of Life will follow at a later time when family and friends can gather together.
Our condolences are with Margaret and the Ross family and Jeff and Mr. Ross' many friends as they mourn.