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The silver bullet

Jordan Lustik, a tractor puller, has been competing with his tractor Silver Bullet for 25 years.

The love of tractors and family ties are what got Jordan Lustik involved in tractor pulling.

It keeps him involved after more than two decades.

The 2019 season marks Lustik’s 25th year pulling with his open Super Stock class tractor Silver Bullet, which he will compete with at the Budweiser Dairyland Super National Truck & Tractor Pull this weekend at Tomah’s Recreation Park.

A resident of Eighty-four, Pennsylvania, Lustik said he got involved in pulling because his father, Rich Lustik, was a puller.

“My dad started ... and then whenever I got old enough − you had to be 16 to be able to drive one − I was able to take over from him and just continued to build it from there,” he said.

Rich Lustik, Jordan Lustik’s father, has been pulling for 56 years. He started pulling when he was 12.

“I just always liked tractors,” he said. “Then when I got out of college, I went to work for a machinery company and I bought a farm equipment dealership, and my race cars went away and tractor pulling was my thing.”

Jordan Lustik “pulled” his first tractor when he was five years old, Rich Lustik said, and he has maintained a passion and skill for the sport ever since.

“He had a garden tractor that I built him when he was five years old. I have a video of him pulling and coming back to my wife and I and him looking up at the camera and saying, ‘I’ll do better next time, Dad,’” he said. “Ever since then, he’s had a number of pulling tractors, and he’s had that sixth sense of driving and good mechanical ability ... that’s how it started.”

Over the years Jordan Lustik has done well as a puller, with a total of 127 national event wins and 10 national championships.

One victory in Tomah is quite memorable, Lustik said. He recalled the day before the pull that he and his wife, Misty, held an auction-like benefit to raise money for their friend’s daughter who had a mitochondrial disease.

“With the help of everybody we were able to raise $27,000 to donate, and then the next night I ended up winning,” he said. “That was satisfying on two different ends. It was pretty cool.”

Jordan Lustik said besides his dad’s background in pulling, it was his own love of tractors, the competition, the horsepower and building the engines that kept him involved over the years.

What he loves most about tractor pulling is the family aspect. Pulling season is a time when he, his wife and their two children get to spend time together outside of their house and not dealing with busy schedules.

“We’re together when we’re here and just get to spend time together,” he said.

Misty Lustik is glad that her children are growing up with pulling like she and Jordan Lustik did; they even met at a tractor pull.

“They’re around other kids that like the same things, a lot of kids that come from farms, like our kids do,” she said. “I’m happy they’re growing up around truck and tractor pulling and the people because they all look after one another.”

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Meghan Flynn can be reached at meghan.flynn@lee.net.

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