After six years serving as secretary for the Outlaw Hot Rod Tractor Pulling Association, Tammie Huenink decided to get out from behind the desk and climb up behind the wheel instead. It proved to be a smart move. In her very first season pulling modified hot rod tractors, she finished the season fourth in the Colorado Truck and Tractor Pullers Association (CTTPA) and fifth in the Outlaws. She enters her next season as a Team E3 Racing Tier 2 winner.
Her first pull was a bit nerve-wracking, says Huenink, who made her track debut in Mitchell, Nebraska driving her father-in-law’s tractor, dubbed Wild Fire.
“I’m not sure who was more nervous him or me,” Huenink recalls. “I was wondering why in the world I had now decided to strap myself into this mechanical contraption on four wheels with 900 horsepower hooked to a sled to go, hopefully, 300 feet down a dirt track. It seemed insane!”
Perhaps, but there was no turning back now. So, Huenink simply focused on her father-in-law’s words of wisdom – “Keep it between the ditches and don’t let up ’til the red flag falls” – and soldiered on. That was all it took to transform Huenink into a bona fide dirt diva.
From there, Huenink formed her official family team, the Dirt Diva Pulling Team. And it is, indeed a family affair. Husband Jason built her a new tractor. Her father, a U.S. Army veteran, chose the name “White Lightning” for the tractor, which bears the 65th Engineer Combat Battalion insignia as well as an R-9 Racing logo, honoring her father-in-law. But most prominent is the “Tough Enough” pink ribbon logo signifying Dirt Diva’s support in the fight against breast cancer in honor of her Huenink’s mother and husband Jason’s grandmother.
The Dirt Diva Pulling Team’s efforts raise funds to help women facing breast cancer cover costs of traveling to their doctors’ appointments and chemotherapy treatments. As one of just a handful of female competitive tractor pullers in the U.S., Huenink does countless media interviews and fan meet-and-greets, allowing her a public platform for carrying out her team’s message. We here at E3 Spark Plugs are proud to help her do just that.