Don Masterson, who passed away on May 08, 2023, was a prominent figure in the world of Pro Stock pulling. This article commemorates his impressive career, notable accomplishments, and the significant impact he had on the sport. His death marks the end of an era in the pulling community.
Early Life and Introduction to Pulling
Don Masterson began his pulling career in the early 1970s with a Farm Stock John Deere 4430. He came from Grandview, Indiana, and first competed against the Hoosier State and Kentucky State organizations at tournaments near his home.
The River Rat and the Birth of Pro Stock
Don Masterson’s John Deere 6030 tractor, also known as the “River Rat,” helped make him a pioneer of the Pro Stock class. The tractor was a symbol of the start of the Pro Stock division in the late 1970s.
One of Masterson’s most memorable moments was pulling at the Houston Astrodome in 1980, which showcased his pioneering spirit.
Tinker Toy: A Pro Stock Icon
Don Masterson also made the John Deere 4430 tractor, known as ‘Tinker Toy,’ famous in the Pro Stock pulling world. He bought the tractor from the Armistead family and modified it to compete in the Pro Stock division.
The name ‘Tinker Toy’ referred to the changes Masterson made, which helped the smaller engine to perform just as well as larger engines.
A Legacy of Victories
Throughout his career, Don Masterson achieved many victories with his tractors, the River Rat and the Tinker Toy. He had great success at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, winning many times.
In 2004, he collaborated with Engler Machine & Tool to create a new version of the Tinker Toy, showing his continued influence in the Pro Stock class.
Lasting Impact and Recognition
Masterson’s exceptional contributions to pulling led to his induction into the Pro Pulling League’s Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, a testament to his enduring influence and accomplishments.
Despite facing adversity, Masterson continued to compete and achieved remarkable victories, earning the nickname “House that Don built” at the Farm Machinery Show.
Personal Life and Death
Don Masterson’s personal life remains private, but he was a highly respected figure in the world of Pro Stock pulling. Unfortunately, he passed away on May 08, 2023, and the pulling community expressed their condolences on social media. The cause of his death has not been disclosed.
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