The world record has been shattered in the sport of garden tiller racing.
Donny Cole, 28, of Three Creeks, Arkansas, piloted the tiller “Wild
Thang” down a 200-foot track of plowed ground in 6.34 seconds – an average
speed of 21.5 miles-per-hour - to win the Weyerhaeuser 200 World
Championship Rotary Tiller Race in Emerson, Arkansas, Saturday.
The old record, set in 1998, was 7.21 seconds.
The World Championship Rotary Tiller Race, a race of souped-up garden
tillers, is held each year on the last Saturday in June, in conjunction with
Emerson’s PurpleHull Pea Festival.
Cole, driving for the Waller Tiller Racing Team, set the new record in an
early heat of the double elimination competition.
Cole’s teammate, Shane Waller, also from Three Creeks, placed second.
The defending champion, Kenneth Frazier of Stephens, Arkansas, was third.
It was a good day for Wayne Waller, owner of Wild Thang and lead mechanic
for the Waller Racing Team. Not
only did his tillers place first and second in the big one, the “Super Duper
Dirt Slingers” category, Waller’s tillers also won in three of the five
other divisions of the race.
“The track was perfect,” said Waller.
“All I asked for was dry weather.
The Good Lord gave us dry weather.”
In the three previous years the event had been plagued by wet conditions.
In 1999, Emerson received 10 inches of rain during the week prior to the
race, causing the event to resemble mud wrestling with garden tillers.
The races in 2000 and 2001 were little better.
By contrast, this year the rain had been sporadic the past week, and
Emerson had escaped with but a few drops.
“I had the dry tines on,” said Waller, grinning.
The new record also answers the question as to whether the “Seven
Second Barrier” would ever be broken. In
1994, when a new record of 7.94 seconds was set, some in the sport doubted it
possible to till 200 feet in less than 7 seconds.
They were wrong. Saturday, three tillers broke 7 seconds.
The competition also featured, for the first time, ladies competing with
modified tillers in the “Powder Puff Modified” division.
Lauri Waller, another of Wayne Waller’s racers, also from Three Creeks,
won the category in a time of 8.27 seconds.
Second was Shannon Cole, while third was Wendy Foster, all also of Three
Creeks and racing for the Waller Tiller Racing Team.
Another new category was the “Rip Roaring Tillers of the ‘90s,”
featuring tillers that were required to have certain parts originally from a
commercial tiller, such as the gearbox. In
this division, Kenny Cole of Three Creeks placed first piloting “The Thang,”
another tiller owned by Wayne Waller. Second
was Casey Hodge running “Digger II,” which, for four years in the mid 90s,
was the world’s fastest garden tiller, owned by Ricky Waller.
The “Stock Tiller” division was won by Ronnie Hughey of Stephens,
Arkansas. Adam Waller was second,
and Jordan Baker third.
Jennifer Rasberry of Springhill, Louisiana, won in the “Powder Puff
Stock” category. Sara Beth Bailey
of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, placed second.
The “Flower Bed Tiller” division, for children 10 and under using
tillers of 2 horsepower or less, was won by Travelle Todd of Stephens, Arkansas.
Second was Drew Waller of Three Creeks, and third was R.J. Hughey of
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