Friday, April 27, 2012

Long time coming!

Ask any of their friends in the sport of pulling and you will hear the same story; the story of the Long Brother's discussing the topic of building a modified tractor for several years.  However, it wasn't until the last couple of years that the discussion became serious.  Very few people are as observant to the happenings of the modified class as Keith and Ricky have been over the last few years. Their attention became more focused when their close friend and competitor, Stan Shelton, decided to make the jump and build a mod to run with the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League. 

The Long Brother's have been involved in the sport for over 30 years as their dad, Billy Long, competed out of Glasgow with a 540 International Super Stock tractor on alcohol.  Shortly after Billy debuted his 540, Keith debuted an International 460 which he ran for many years on the circuit.  Competing in the Super Stock class may have been Keith's introduction to tough competition, but his passion quickly turned to Two Wheel Drive Trucks.  In the late 1980's, Keith debuted a Chevy S-10 known as Long Gone.  The S-10 was campaigned from the late 1980's to the mid 1990's when Keith sold the truck and got a 23 T known as the Varmit.  In 1993, Ricky Long made one of the best pulling choices he could make when he purchased his first two wheel drive truck from Billy Johns.  Johns, a native Kentuckian, had made a name for himself on the national and state circuits with his hot pink Willy's known as Willy Makit.  The name came with the truck, and from the early 90's until February 2012, Ricky was the pilot of one of the most recognized trucks in the sport, Willy Makit.  In the late 90's, the Long's really began to hit their stride and became known as two tremendous threats at every event they rolled into, but the 90's were only an introduction of things to come.  In 2000, Keith built a new Chevy S-10 known as the Bullseye, and he seemed to predict the future as that truck became one of the most revered trucks in the class.  From 2007 to 2010, Ricky and Keith claimed three of the four Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League Champions Tour Titles.  In 2010, they added to their program with a sweet running Chevy S-10 known as Ridin Dirty.  Dirty, as the Long Brother's refer to it, has been one of the most consistent trucks in the class since its debut.

In 2012, Ricky and Keith Long said good bye to an old friend and welcomed in a new.  Willy Makit was sold to the Barbee family of Springfield, Tennessee to make room for a brand new toy the MavTV sponsored Modified.  The chassis was built over the winter by Modern Machine in Van Buren, Indiana and will house four Miner Brothers racing Hemi's, which the Long's have become known for over the years.  The excitement is building for the Long Brother's as they near the debut of their newest pulling machine tomorrow evening in Saluda, South Carolina.  If history has anything to do with it, the Long's can find strength in the fact that their friend Stan Shelton won the points championship debuting a new tractor last year with the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, and they know they have found the winning combination before.

Throughout this process Ricky and Keith have worked to reaffirm one another that they have made the right choice in choosing to run a modified, but if you ask their father, chances are he would tell you that they are crazy!

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