Rob Rasnake (Ras-neck) of German descent, is the announcer for the Ocala Winter Nationals Ocala Florida. This is a fairly new indoor pull and shows serious promise. If you stayed up and watched our Live Streams on Facebook with 100,000 others, you saw how the smoke system works. Promoters, vendors, and fans have said if they take the smoke away, we aren't helping out and coming back! Talk about love for some smoke! So smoke is what you get. My only regret is that I was not there when they had swamp buggies turned on in between hooks to get the smoke out.
I was picked up in a commuter lot just off of I-95 by a Kenworth W9 hauling three Light Limited Turbo Tractors. Locals call them slug lots. You have drivers and slugs. A driver picks up the number of slugs they desire to make a minimum of 3 people in a car so they can avoid paying a ridiculous toll. At night we didn't have to worry about tolls. So we loaded up the couple hundred pounds of camera gear and luggage and we were off. It took 700 miles and 11 hours to get to this pull. I did none of the driving.
Back to Rob fellow, he pulls in a 2050LB Small Block Mini Rod class. This class is all about family something I know puller the world over can relate to. Rob's family came over to settle down in Glade Holland Virginia. He bought his first pulling vehicle and paid $1100 bucks in high school and "all the parts came in 2 five gallon buckets, No $%^!" he says. The block was in the truck. He bought it from a friend of his. It was in 5 different colors. It didn't have a tailgate. It was a hillbilly of a truck as anything you could ever imagine. Rob told me this was, "The truck to put to moves on the ladies in this truck!"
As it progressed through the years, He said, "I really wanted to pull. So I drove the truck to his buddies place and ratchet strap weights down with the weights on the truck. Then I would drive the truck to the local fairgrounds. Every time I hit a bump the rear end would come up. I was a nuisance to everybody on the road. So I wanted to get a little bit more serious. I decided to go the way of Pro Mod 4x4. I called Mike Pervis and he had just opened his Welding Shop and we started to work. Mike sponsored the vehicle and the sticker is still on there from 2002 on the rear fender. It hasn't been painted since. It says, "Built with genuine John Deere parts!"
Rob ended up selling the truck to John Edwards, who can be seen in our Super Stock 4x4 videos on our channel. Rob said it was the worst because we spent so much money to go pulling with it and be competitive. There is Tommy Corsa in the truck. There are the Holmans in the truck. Roy Everett is in the truck. So many people pitched because let's face it, how many 20-year-olds want to go pulling and have the funds to attempt to do it on their own. Well, Rob toured the country making hooks on a national level. "Getting the NTPA certification was huge a moment for me", he says. He continued, "It got a point where was I spending way too much for my budget. So Johnny bought the truck as a rolling chassis. Johnny changed the hand throttle as well as the transfer case. Everything else was all me!"
Rob got his mini rod and found the word Gambler under 5 layers of paint. He picked up the mini rod from a man named David Bess. He came up with the name from his granddad. His granddad was a correctional officer that everybody called Snake. Rob has a tattoo to pay homage to his granddad. So Striking Distance came from him. So when his granddad passed away in 2005, He added to tattoo to include casting a line as well as a cross to remember him by. So what you have in this mini rod is intricate detail to make the hooks, move some weight, attach to anything with a hook, and book down the track. "I want to help grow this class to a national level", he says. Rob said, "My hands shake like you wouldn't believe every time I drive the mini rod!" Rob says that this is a class where most people have 65% of whatever they need to build one.
We hear you, Rob. We think this IS COOL and here are your 15 minutes of fame. Well 7:28, but who is counting? And really just 4:00 if you take out the Unlimited Mini Rod at the end.
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