Fully Loaded Pulling Team
Below you will find the history of how it all started one August day in 2001 from the Driver, Jeff Hothem’s Point of view… Dellroy, Ohio is a small rural community in the Atwood Lake region of Carroll County. Jeff has lived and worked on the family owned crop farm all his life. Growing up on a farm, gave Jeff plenty of access to tractors and machinery and he always made the county fair tractor pulls with his parents and grandparents one of the highlights of summer. Little did Jeff know at that time, that someday, he too would be pulling on that track at their county fair pull. Jeff attended college in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in the fall of 2001 a friend asked if him if he would be interested in attending a tractor pull at the Clermont County fair that weekend.
It was then Jeff met Brian Stroud from Midland, Ohio.
He had been pulling the John Deere 4440 Super Stock diesel tractor called “Never-A-Nuff”, which at one time, had been owned and campaigned by Russ Mears. Jeff should have known from my first encounter with Brian, who had just pulled and “burnt a piston”, that this toy, no matter how well he took care of it, was going to require a lot of hands on “putting back together” in order to play. A call home to Jeff’s Dad expressing his excitement and interest in selling my boat and venturing into the world of tractor pulling began the pulling team partnership with his parents. After a few weeks later, they purchased Brian’s tractor after he patiently showed and explained the “in and outs” of rebuilding the motor after you burn a piston. On Sept 15, 2001 Jeff had his first pull at the Darke County Fair and placed fifth and drove off the track in one piece! You might say he was “hooked”. That winter Jeff spent many nights and weekends in Andy Battrell’s shop in New Vienna, Ohio learning from his John Deere mechanic experiences how to tear the tractor down and put it back together bolt by bolt! They spent the next seven seasons campaigning the John Deere 4440 “Loaded Gun” primarily on the OSTPA (Ohio State Tractors Association) Circuit garnishing a Championship, Puller of the Year Award, Family of the Year while finishing in the top third of the class each season. They spent a lot of time pulling and putting the tractor back together!
It had become a family affair. By the end of the 2009 Season they had decided to take the jump to an alcohol engine which involved many changes for the tractor. So they sold “Loaded Gun“ to Soren Naerland of Norway and shipped the JD 4440 across the pond where he continues to campaign the tractor successfully in the Euro Cup and calls the tractor “Loaded Deere”. With the sale of the old tractor and the plans of building a new component chassis, the team realized that to remain competitive, the team would need to switch to an alcohol motor. It was then they met Robert Galloway, Owner/Driver of the Hulk Super Stock Tractor. The 504 cu. in. OHC motor which is used as the back-up motor to date, was purchased from Robert who resides in Strawberry Plains, TN. Robert used this motor in the “Hulk” until rule changes prohibited the use of the OHC motor in his class.
With the help of Karlen Motorsports, Gary, Kyle, and his family, who built the component chassis and did the fabrications, Humpco Machine, Bill Humphrey, for the rear end parts and components of the chassis, REI, Phil Shalk, for engine work, GMS, Brent Payne, for establishing the fuel system, and Keener Motorsports, Frank Keener, for assisting in making adjustments to the fuel system, “Fully Loaded” made its debut on the OSTPA Circuit at the Madison County Fair in 2010 taking Second Place. In 2011, “Fully Loaded” won its first National Pull in Lincolnton, North Carolina on the Champions Tour with Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League where they continue to pull to the present date.
In 2015, Jeff Hothem was named Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Puller of the Year, 2016 proved very successful for the Fully Loaded Team as they were able to wrap the National Points Title on the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Unlimited Super Stock Class.
It was a battle to the end by only being up by four points over the second place tractor going in to the final pull at Wheatland, Missouri. But after obtaining a second place finish at Wheatland, the team won the championship by 12 points over the second place tractor.