The sport of truck and tractor pulling is just about as “grass-roots” as motorsports gets. Its easy to imagine men taking their horses (and later tractors) out into their back field, and competing to see who had the strongest team. I can only imagine what the woman’s role was in the early years of this sport, probably preparing lunch for the men to have after a full morning of competition. Fast forward to 2016 and the role of women in truck and tractor pulling has dramatically changed. It is quickly growing into a more popular form of motorsports, and with that there has been a dramatic increase in female drivers. Women like Rodalyn Knox, the driver of the Sassy Massey, were the trailblazers in the sport, leading the way for the dozens of female drivers today. In fact, it is becoming so popular that last year at the National Tractor Pulling Championship in Bowling Green, Ohio, in the super modified two wheel drive class of 53 competitors, 11 were female drivers.
Morgan Bartley | Blade Gone Sweet Truck Pull
One of those drivers is seventeen year old Morgan Bartley from Saluda, South Carolina. Morgan is the driver of a super modified two wheel drive truck that she calls Blade Gone Sweet. Her truck features a 1923 Ford T-Bucket body and a 526 Keith Black Hemi. She competes at a Grand National level with the National Truck and Tractor Pullers Association throughout her summers. 2015-2016 may have been her rookie year driving, but she is no rookie to the sport of truck pulling. Morgan’s family have deep roots in the sport of truck and tractor pulling, with her dad being a 25 year veteran of the sport. It was only natural for Morgan to follow in the footsteps of her father and brother and become a driver when her time came.
My dad has been pulling 25 years, and I’ve been involved with the sport my entire life. Ever since I knew what pulling was I knew that I wanted to be in the drivers seat one day too!”
Morgan’s rookie year began with the development of a new truck for her to drive. Naturally, when a new combination is being tested out many gremlins show their nasty head. This resulted in Morgan having a more challenging rookie year than most, not only fighting her nerves that result as a new driver, but also being faced with mechanical failure. Despite the many challenges she has faced, Morgan has come out on top, proving to the community that she belongs in the drivers seat. Recently, Morgan has shown the sport of truck and tractor pulling that she has what it takes to be a champion. At the end of January at the C Bar C NTPA Winter Nationals, Morgan experienced the excitement of a second place finish when she piloted her truck to a pull off against one of the best drivers in truck and tractor pulling.
The sport of truck and tractor pulling has given Morgan many unique opportunities and experiences. Her team consists of two trucks, with her dad driving one and Morgan driving the other. This gives Morgan the unique opportunity to compete directly against her father. He is not only her crew chief, but he is also her competition. She has also experienced many summers spent in their hauler, travelling all across the United States. Truck and tractor pulling has given Morgan and her family the opportunity to meet many different people, and develop close relationships with them.
Getting to travel all over the U.S. competing with my family, and even more exciting getting to compete against my dad. Getting to travel and meet people who become like family is special also!”
Morgan has experienced a great amount of support throughout her rookie year as a female driver. However that does not mean she has not experienced her share of challenges during her short driving career. Being born and raised in the sport of truck and tractor pulling gave many people very high expectations for Morgan’s driving career. That can be incredibly intimidating and was something Morgan had to face.
Living up to my friends and families high expectations they had set for me. All of the “first time driving jitters” and the nervousness of having so much power sitting in front of me in an eight second ride.”
Despite her first year being challenging, Morgan is confident in her abilities and cannot wait to continue her career as a driver. She has a firm belief in setting goals and she is driven to complete those she has set for herself. Her rookie year has shown a great deal of resilience, which is inspiring to many female drivers.
Don’t give up. Set your mind to your goals you have made and go out and get them!”
With her rookie year coming to a close, Morgan is looking forward to the future of her driving career. She plans on coming out strong next year in the race for a Grand National points championship with her truck Blade Gone Sweet.
I plan to be a top contender for my upcoming 2016 season and stand a chance at winning a Grand National title.”
Morgan’s natural affinity for driving and her passion for the sport has already taken her so far! We wish her all the best and cannot wait to see what the 2016 season has in store for Morgan Bartley!