For Immediate Release
Contact person: Bill Dailey (501) 315-7373
Web site: www.purplehull.com
Mud is kind to Kenneth Frazier.
For the second time in three years Frazier, 27, of Stephens, Arkansas, won
the Willamette 200 World Championship Rotary Tiller Race under less than ideal conditions.
The tiller race is the feature event of the Emerson, Arkansas PurpleHull Pea
Festival, held each year on the last Saturday in June.
Just as in 1999, when Frazier last won the title, rain plagued the
festival and turned the tiller track into a stretch of plowed ground possessing
a consistency roughly equivalent to that of peanut butter.
In the three hours prior to the race, Emerson received 1.6 inches of
rain, as measured by longtime local weather observer Alvie Sewell.
Earlier that morning race officials were describing the condition of the
track as “perfect,” and there were high hopes for world record times in the
It was not to be. In addition to the rain before the race, a little over an
hour into the match another storm cloud approached bringing with it rain, wind,
and lightning that sent racers, officials, and spectators alike scampering for
Commissioner of Tiller Racing Jimmy Otwell called a temporary halt to the
race, then resumed the heats some 50 minutes later when rain had slowed to a
Meanwhile, during the delay, the track received approximately another
half-inch of precipitation, and became muddier still.
The finish line – the low point of the track - became covered by
water, which would later result in dramatic finishes to several races as speedy
garden tillers splashed across the finish line.
Nevertheless, Frazier, racing his tiller named “Golden Package,” managed to
till the 200-foot track in 8.12 seconds and took home the $250 prize.
His time was roughly nine-tenths of a second off the world record, 7.21
seconds, set by Frazier’s uncle, Ronnie Hughey.
Hughey also raced Saturday using “Dirt Devil,” the same tiller with
which he set the world record in 1998, but did not place this year.
“I can’t keep up with [the tiller] anymore,” said Hughey, 36.
“Guess I’m getting too old.”
Donny Cole of Three Creeks, Arkansas, placed second with the tiller
“Wild Thang” in a time of 8.47 seconds.
Third place was Shane Waller of Three Creeks, piloting the tiller “Dirt
Slinger.” Both Wild
Thang and Dirt Slinger are modified tillers owned by Wayne Waller of Three Creeks.
In the Stock Tiller Division, Ranae Hughey of Stephens, Arkansas,
out-tilled all competitors with a time of 18.22.
Ronnie Hughey of Stephens placed second, tilling the track in 19.87
seconds. Trevelle Todd was third,
with a time of 23.47 seconds.
It was a good day for Ranae Hughey, as she also won the Powder Puff
Division. Kathy Camp of Emerson
placed second, and Chevela Hughey of Stephens was third.
The Emerson PurpleHull Pea Festival and World Championship Rotary Tiller
Race is held each year on the last Saturday in June in Emerson, Arkansas.
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