Friendships disappear in a cloud of smoke

Madison County resident Ryan Wilson will be behind the wheel of Born Tuff during the Madison County Truck Pull Tuesday, July 14 at the fairgrounds.

Madison County resident Ryan Wilson will be behind the wheel of Born Tuff during the Madison County Truck Pull Tuesday, July 14 at the fairgrounds.

The friendships among drivers in the Central Ohio Truck Pull Circuit (COTPC) go up in a billow of black smoke at the Madison County Fair Truck Pull competition.

The short circuit pull, which begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, at 205 Elm St., will feature pulls in the 2.5 Diesel, 6200 pound Cheater Stock Gas, 3.0 Diesel, 6500 pound Pro Stock Gas, 6350 pound Modified, 2.6 Diesel and the RWYB/Open classes.

Asked what fans can expect to see at the pull, Derby native Ryan Wilson said there’s one thing in particular.

“You’ll see a lot of smoke, for one thing,” said Wilson, who will drive Born Tuff in the 2.5 Diesel pickup class. “That’s what everybody and their brother are into. They all like to see the smoke.

“(The Madison County Fair Pull) is as good as it gets. There are a bunch of great guys who put on a great event.”

Beneath those clouds of black smoke are a very tight group of friends competing against each other for points in the COTPC standings. The Madison County Fair Pull is one of 17 point pulls in the COTPC this season.

As of July 2, Born Tuff is in sixth place out of the 13 drivers with 93 points. Justin Gillian (126), Evan Davis (122) and Matthew Isaacs (111) round out the top of the standings.

To move up in the standings, the drivers put their camaraderie aside to get the best times.

“Everyone in our class is great to deal with, great to talk with,” Wilson said. “They may not give you all their secrets, but they do help you out a bit.

“We’re all pals … except for those 30 seconds down the track. Then the friendships go away for a little bit. Everyone wants to win.”

Wilson and owner Clyde Ohnewehr of Mount Sterling have only been participating in the 2.5 Diesel Class pulls since August of last year.

Ohnewehr and his father Steve started out competing in antique tractor pulls for many years. After a few years away from competing there, Clyde Ohnewehr decided to get into trucks.

“We’d been to a couple of truck pulls and we knew some of the guys,” said Wilson, who runs Wilson & Son Tire Service in Mount Sterling. “We just bought a truck and it kind of evolved from there.”

The two chose the name Born Tuff for their black pickup from a list of about 20 names and purchased personalized plates bearing the vehicle’s moniker.

Wilson admits the two are still learning the ropes during their rookie season.

“We’re still at the stage of having a lot of fun,” Wilson said, adding with a laugh. “Our biggest (accomplishment) was being able to go down the track for the first time this year and being able to load it up afterward without breaking anything.

“(Truck pulls) take a lot of knowledge. Most of the guys who are winning in our circuit are veterans and they know how to read a track. You can have the best truck out there but (an opponent’s) knowledge will get you every time.”

Whatever they accomplish at the Madison County Fair Pull, Wilson and Ohnewehr know they did it themselves.

“A lot of the drivers have a lot of work done on their truck by other people,” Wilson said. “Other than stuff that had to be done at a machine shop, we built the truck ourselves. That’s one of the things that is important to us. We know when it goes down the track, we made that happen.”