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Muskingum junior a winner on truck pull circuit

Published: February 12, 2011 11:01 PM

John LoweThe Daily JeffersonianNEW CONCORD -- When classes at Muskingum University dismiss in the spring, Kendra Rodgers will set her books aside and climb into the cab of a semi tractor.A junior now, Rodgers doesn't drive truck for a living. She drives it for her passion: Competitive truck pulling.What's more, Rodgers is accomplished at the sport. Last season, she won the "Big Rigs" championship of Full Pull Productions Inc. in Pennsylvania.A history and education major at Muskingum, she was only 16 when she first pulled."I had only had my license two weeks," she said.Of course, Rodgers comes by her affinity for the sport naturally. Both of her parents had pulled and her father, Rob, owns a truck repair shop in South Zanesville.In 1999, her father bought a 1975, cabover Mack Cruiseliner. Away from the shop for a while on a parts run, he came back to find his brother, Chad, washing down the truck.When asked what he was doing, Chad said he had accepted a bet from another local businessman that he wouldn't take part in a pull at the Muskingum County Fair.It was a challenge, the Rodgers brothers couldn't refuse.Kendra was only 9 years old then, but she was hooked on the excitement of the sport."I really enjoy it," she said, "the excitement of being able to pull. When I won, I couldn't quit shaking."It's the adrenaline rush, the excitement and all of the good people you meet. They're like family anymore."Rodgers said she participates in the truck pulls for the love of the sport, not for the prize money although the prize money helps."The truck does have to make money," she said. "But, if you're doing this to get rich, look somewhere else."Some enthusiasts have as much $1 million invested in their pulling trucks. But the Rodgers family is more frugal. Of course, the fact that her father and uncle are accomplished truck repairmen helps tremendously."They do most of the mechanical work themselves," Rodgers said. "They're the ones who get the truck ready for me."My mom, Patty, and my sister, Sondra, tape the pulls. My grandparents go. It's a family sport and that support is always there."jlowe@daily-jeff.com

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