How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 09, 2023 03:52AM
I'm wondering how did Tom start ATPA, I believe that he was in his early to mid 20s, and he had a magazine, Tv and major events. Like him or not it's pretty amazing how far he went in the sport.

Dick Morgan
Independent Pulling News

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/2023 03:52AM by Dick Morgan.

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 09, 2023 10:58AM
Tom never had a magazine .
Photo Joe had Full Pull magazine. Tom blew sunshine up K oes rectum, and Joe covered ATPA and Tom didn't invest a dime, and never paid Joe a dime.
You may want to ask if the raft of Pullers Tom owed money to when ATPA crashed and burned EVER got paid.
The more amazing story is how Kristi managed to keep the sponsors and get PPL started.
And, perhaps even more interesting is, how Tom "took over" Battle of the Bluegrass " for a time, and how fast he faded away when he milked that dry.
He did come away with a new RV after every crash.
P.T.Barnum was young too.

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 09, 2023 11:07AM
ATPA did have a magazine and Don Gillespie wrote and did photos. Joe's is a different magazine

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA?, to ; fitz. March 09, 2023 11:53AM
What was the name of the ATPA magazine? I don't recall it.
Thanks !!

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 10, 2023 12:53AM
I pulled with Mcconnel in the late 80s super stock division. I have polled classic muscle tractors with him. In the last couple years. And yes he’s had his ups and downs but if he had a tractor pull tomorrow I’d be there! He’s always treated me very fair. I’ve heard a lot of bad stories some may be true but I don’t know. Long story short he’s on a lot of good for the last almost 40 years my opinion. Bash me all you want I’m used to it!

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 09, 2023 11:23AM
Tom and Kevin Fulks started Battle of the Bluegrass and were partners in it. Tom did not "fade away" but was forced out and to sell his stock in BOB. Tom appears to now be reviving ATPA.

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA?to; a little info. March 09, 2023 11:58AM
My description of the end of Tom's involvement with was uncharacteristically polite (for me).
Re; Tom reviving ATPA is very curious, since he sold the name and blue sky to some feller in Colorado. Who ALSO still owes some modified pullers money. (For Jefferson City, Missouri.)
I'm wondering if Tom is just using the name, or did he buy it back??

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA?to; a little info. March 09, 2023 01:06PM
there was a bluegrass before there was an atpa, this was several years before even, still have a schedule laying here somewhere seems like 45 or so lss hooks, after bluegrass the second time there was the vtpa, had some events but that has seemingly went away. I haven't heard from tom in awhile but Jt was pulling in oak grove a couple of weeks back.

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA?to; a little info. March 09, 2023 01:19PM
Tom done a lot for the sport like him or not i pulled several years with him never a problem we all make mistakes and a lot of people has got in over there heads but not publicized so much

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 10, 2023 02:40AM
To get back on topic of the question... Tom was calling Pulls in Kentucky, and I believe but not 100 on this, got the idea to start promoting some, and a Kentucky based Org was born out of it, and that grew into eventually in a round about way the ATPA. Lots of finger pointing in the whole deal, and I'm not taking sides at all, but you gotta give the Devil his due, he had a vision that was Do-able, now where his Ox went in the ditch is up for debate HA!


Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 10, 2023 02:46AM
Tom also helped considerably in reviving the light super stock class after NTPA dropped it. He was able to draw pullers from Wisconsin, Ill,, Mo. etc to Ky to pull with his organization, For everyone that likes the current light super stock class it was almost dead before Tom M. Although he came up short at the end of the ATPA days, we were still paid way more than any other organization while pulling with them,

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 10, 2023 02:10AM
If it weren’t for Tom McConnell, there (probably) wouldn’t be a Let’s Go Pulling. Tom was the first one to give me a chance back in 2012. If his resurrected ATPA has some events in the near future, hopefully I’ll be able to cover them.

Regarding Bluegrass: Klint has plenty of footage of the Bluegrass Pullers in the early 90s.

Say what you will about him, but TM is possibly the best marketer that the pulling community has ever seen — although Schultz is certainly trying to fill those shoes.

John Murray
Two-time Pedal Pull World Champion

Let's Go Pulling, covering the sport of pulling in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama.
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Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 10, 2023 03:01PM
Tom got his start promoting several events in the northern KY area in the early 90's. Shelby Mason had been working with the fairboards to put on their pulls and Tom wanted to get involved. Crook introduced him to half a dozen or so fairs and that was his start. He started out running the group as Bluegrass Pullers and switched the name to ATPA around 1996. Tom would book any class if pullers would show up and pay the entry fee. Eventually he got a reputation for being able to get good machinery to show up because he was willing to increase the ourse to the pullers. He was extremely responsible for keeping the light super stock class alive. NTPA had all but put effort into ending the class and the ATPA showed that they could be a feature class. Shelby and his son were lucky enough to have a good tractor in the class around that time and we're part of the core that showed how good a class with both fuels and lots of color could look.

Tom had good intentions, but not always the character to get things done the right way. Eddie Sullivan had to point out to McConnell that no one would trust a man that carried his wallet in his front pocket. He said it made it look like he didn't trust anyone or maybe that he didn't think he could hang onto his own lunch money. It was a dark day for the organization when Tom hired a guy who had lost his Pioneer seed dealership due to his own fraud and also had his 4wd pulling truck repossessed by his engine builder. This man ended up violating his non-compete contract and then taking all his major sponsors as one of them wanted to own the organization themself.

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 11, 2023 01:27AM
Keep in mind that the Jasper Engines sponsorship deal that Tom negotiated was the financial catalyst to move ATPA from a regional series to a national series. But Jasper wanted a wider geographic presence. So Tom (and Mike Chastain) met with Mike Hoff (Buck Motor Sports) and Rick Feicht (Full Pull Productions) in Dothan, Alabama in February (2001??) to finalize the ATPA coming east. This arrangement worked out well for everyone. ATPA got about 20 pulls in the east and the eastern pullers got their first real sponsorship that actually paid back real point fund money. Subsequently the two New York Associations also joined with ATPA. Full Pull always got paid from Tom McConnell (even in the last year) since our contract required full payment by May 1 - fifteen days after Tom got his annual money from Jasper Engines!!

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 11, 2023 03:05AM
Our involvement with Tom started during our second year of pulling our economy hot rod tractors. This would have been about 1991, he approached me in the pits at a pull in Georgetown, KY and asked if I would interested in running a points series the next summer. There was a meeting at some point that fall to set rules for the classes. This was the first time I can remember any type of organization of the economy hot rod tractors.

From that point until about 1997 we ran the Blue Grass pulling circuit thoughout KY. Sometime around 1996 Tom ran Blue Grass as well as the startup ATPA, I think he ran both organizations for two years then shut down Blue Grass (I'm a little fuzzy about this part of Blue Grass it may have still been run by someone else maybe Kevin Fulks) as the ATPA grew. I do remember that at least one year the year end banquets were held together.

Tom's strong point was his ability to sell...he could sell ice to an Eskimo. I'll never forget him having a pull in Osgood, IN I think during his VTPA pulling efforts that was on a national TV network. This was a very low level pull and yet he sold it to a national TV network. He once told me that he would one day run the NFMS pull...well he did have "A" pull there but not "THE" pull there.

Tarry helped him with his news letter and every time he would call about two days before he wanted it in the mail and would spend hours dictating over the phone. Then Tarry would have to scramble to get it all together and in the mail. We personally didn't have any issues with Tom except his constant last minute habits, I think his lack of organizational skills is likely what did him in. He did most of this while still holding down a full time radio DJ job somewhere around Scottsburg, IN at least until ATPA got started.

Ah history,
S'no Farmer

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 11, 2023 02:13PM
Blue Grass pulling died and was gone for several years several of us teamed up with Waddy ky truck pullers and started Ohio river valley tractor pullers association ,after Tom was out of the ATPA him and Kevin Fulks together brought back the Battle of the Blue grass .Some may knock Tom but late 80s and the 90s his pay outs was just about as high as they are know

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 14, 2023 04:07AM
I talked to Tom at NFMS, when he was with his VTPA booth there. He said he is starting the ATPA back up, and wants to get more attention, and "repopulate" the truck and tractor pulling world in the Montana, Wyoming, eastern Idaho, and western North and South Dakota area. He says this way all of the US will have some sort of truck and tractor pulling in it. All we need now is pulling in Hawaii! He seemed very enthusiastic about it. I remember him being on the show "Hooked on Dirt" also.

Question: was Battle of the Bluegrass under NTPA member state sanctioning at one point?

Re: How did Tom McConnell start ATPA? March 14, 2023 09:38AM


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