EAST AMWELL, NJ – Scott Rasile, 21, of Delaware Township won the gas-engine truck pull at this year’s Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fair, driving a purple truck honoring his mother.
He has competed in the Fair’s Garden Tractor Pull for many years and this time came in second in the 900-pound class for adults, pulling the sled 75 feet on his old Wheel Horse.
Marc Wirasnik, 27, of Franklin Township won the diesel-engine pull, making it the fourth time he’s won at Hunterdon. The truck contests were part of the evening tractor pull at the Fair, which also had a daytime pull.
Scott Rasile’s pull was 258.8 feet to lead the gas class. His father, John Rasile, came in second, at 257.5 feet. And Al Villani of Readington Township went 240.6 feet for third. A total of seven gas trucks competed, the first time there was a separate class just for gas.
A Hunterdon Central High School graduate now attending Rutgers-Camden, Rasile recently surprised his mother by painting his truck purple. She suffers from lupus, and purple is the color which universally shows support for people with the condition.
He said he bought the pull truck, a 1997 Dodge Ram 2500, to use as a “parts” source for his ‘95 truck (which he used to pull with), and when he swapped the pieces the newer truck became “ugly,” a multi-colored monstrosity.
“My mom (Sandy) was diagnosed with lupus in 2016, and I wanted to do something to support her” so he decided to paint purple the pulling truck. “I wanted to do something different; black and white are pretty common.” He needed it done in time for a June major truck exhibition in Wildwood called the Truck Invasion.
“I didn’t want to tell mom what I was doing,” and went to “my best friend, Scott Greene,” who graduated from the auto body program at Hunterdon Polytech and asked him for his help in painting it. They had just 10 days before Wildwood and every day after work were “at it ‘til 10, 11, 11:30 at night” patching and sanding and priming and finally spraying on the purple coat.
When they got it done with just one day to spare and pulled it out of the garage, Sandy was overwhelmed by the surprise paint scheme, he said. The truck also has the lupus ribbon on a back side window.
Competitive pulling has been part of Scott’s life for than a decade. He started in garden tractor pulls at Hunterdon when he was 10 or 11, and he and his father still bring their little tractors.
Most of the trucks people pull with have diesel engines. Some have trucks they only user for pulling. While Scott has another vehicle, he sometimes uses his puller for going to town and such, “like a weekend cruiser.”
Marc Wirasnik again used his 2005 Chevy 2500 to win the diesel-engine class. This time, he pulled 314.4 feet, past the end of the 300-foot long clay and dirt track.
Last year he made it 325.3 feet, and in 2017 fair, he also took first, pulling just over 357 feet. He was 2015 winner, going just a bit more than 317 feet.
Second-place in the diesel division went to Joey Cooper of West Amwell Township, making it 303.7 feet in his 2005 Ford King Ranch F-350. And third went to Shaun Pate of Ringoes, pulling 296.5 feet in his 2002 Chevy 2500. Speaking of his friend Wirasnik, "Raz has that truck dialed in,” Cooper remarked after the smoke and dust had cleared. “I am still working out a few kinks."
Here are the rest of the top 10 in the diesel division, which had 21 finishers: fourth, Mike Fratesi Jr. of Flemington, 291.4 feet; fifth, John Stangle of Branchburg, 290.6 feet; sixth, Tyler Golis of Delaware Township, 285.8 feet; seven, Tom Fratesi of Flemington, 284.2 feet; eighth, Jason Golis of Delaware Township, 278.1 feet ninth, T.J. Gruchacz of Flemington, 269.1 feet; 10th, Mike Martin of Hampton, 263.5 feet.
David Scott Bond and John Nance are co-chairmen of the Tractor Pull Committee.
"Everything went well and we had great cooperation from the competitors,” Bond said. “Thank you to all who made it a great day!" Trophies for pulls were sponsored by GTG Builders and John P. Martin Excavating.