The WPI/NTPA office has been informed of the passing on Saturday, May 7 of Russ Mears, 82, of Cynthiana, Ohio. Mr. Mears pulled in the Super Stock division at the Grand National, Regional National, and member-state levels with his "Trailer Farmer" and "Just in Fun" Internationals and "Just Maybe" Case IH. He was the father of fellow former competitor and Pro Pulling League co-director Johnathan Mears.
The elder Mr. Mears operated Mears Welding and Manufacturing and Valley Trailers prior to his first retirement. He then began a second vocation as a certified organic farmer and grain processor.
Mr. Mears entered tractor pulling in the late 1980s from among the ranks of drag racers. In his first year as a Grand National regular, he qualified for the 1987 finals held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The next year, he won his home state's points championship with the "Trailer Farmer" 966.
The pinnacle of Mr. Mears' pulling career arrived on a Friday night in January 1992, when he was the last hook in the 7,500-lb. Super Stock class in his first appearance at the Indy Super Pull. He and his newly built 7130, "Just Maybe," converted that late draw into a walk-off full pull.
His time in competition extended to the mid-1990s, and for nearly its entire duration he represented his classmates in service to both the NTPA's Super Stock Divisional Committee and the Ohio State Tractor Pullers Association.
To honor Mr. Mears, a celebration of life for family and friends will be held on Thursday, May 12 at the Rainsboro United Methodist Church, 12879 Route 50, Rainsboro, Ohio. A brief "winner’s circle" celebration from 4 p.m. to 4:20 p.m. will be followed by fellowship and food until 8 p.m. The family has requested donations to the Rainsboro Food Pantry or to one's local food pantry in lieu of flowers.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Johnathan and Leslie and to the Mears family.