The WPI/NTPA office regrets to report the death on Tuesday, January 5 of Donald Labonte, 59, of Stanstead, Quebec. Mr. Labonte was the driver of "The Rock" Chevrolet Silverado Four-Wheel-Drive Truck on the NTPA Grand National circuit and scored victories in Bowling Green, Ohio in back-to-back years.
Mr. Labonte had retired as CEO of Rock of Ages, a massive quarry and monument company based in Granitesville, Vermont after having worked at the Stanstead plant since age 18. Over the course of 30 years, he ascended to the rank of corporate president in 2008.
Mr. Labonte started premier-level pulling in 2005 with the first edition of "The Rock." He announced his presence on his home province's most prestigious series, the ASTTQ, by finishing second in FWD points in 2010. He and his metallic blue Chevy then proceeded to win four of that division's next five titles in Quebec.
After celebrating his first Grand National win in 2016 at the National Tractor Pulling Championships, he joined up for the full circuit in 2017 and claimed a second W in Pulltown en route to a fourth-place finish in the championship race. A victory under the Friday night lights in Chapel Hill, Tennessee was the pinnacle of an eighth-place effort in 2018, and a return to northwestern Ohio got Mr. Labonte his final national trophy in Napoleon in 2019.
He is survived by his wife Darleen, his daughters Samantha and Melissa, and his grandson.
There will be no public services of remembrance.
Our deepest condolences are extended to Darleen and the Labonte family. Qu'il repose en paix.