"We are a Family"
At this point in our business we are truly a family as the four of us and sometimes extended family are at pulls to make them really special family time that shows while we work.
A short time ago a gentleman stopped us after a pull and said " The way your family does things with the pulls you must be the nations #1 Pedal Pulling Family." What a nice thing to say. We now use that as a goal and a motivator in our hope to always be at our best.
It is about the children and through them the families. We hope to touch some children with the ideas of sportsmanship and character. By following their children we hope, too, the families come closer together by spending time focused on the kids.This commitment to children and families brought us to make a major donation to Children and Families of Iowa through bringing pedal pulling to one of its largest venues in the region, with nearly 17,000 visitors and $180,000 plus in funds raised for the charity.
Kenneth L. Myers:
Mathematics teacher and coach at East Mills High School in Malvern Iowa, Managing Partner in Myers Pedal Tractor Pulls, Director of the Missouri State Pedal Pull, and member of the National Pedal Pull Board of Directors.
Ken started in education over 28 years ago in the Nodaway-Holt School District in Graham MO. In the first 19 years he was a Mathematics teacher with a Masters in Math. He then served as a 7-12 Principal for 7 years in South Dakota and Iowa. Since 2011 he has returned to the classroom as the girls are going through High School. Ken spent 22 years as a track coach, and was head or assistant coach in Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Volleyball most of those 22 years. During that time he was involved with top ten teams in Football, Basketball, Track, including the 1986 1A Missouri State Girls Track Champions. His life has been spent working with kids beyond the required and his results have mirrored that as a coach. A common quote was "the team was better than a should have been, but the coaches got so much out of them." In 2008 Ken once again was at a championship moment when Kayla, their younger daughter, found herself coming out of nowhere to face a two girl pull off for the National Pedal Pull Championship. Kayla was the 2008 10 year old National Champion and later the World runners-up as an 11 year old.
Ken has pursued the pedal pulling business with the same determination to build the best. In the first year of 2008 people were amazed at the starting equipment and the commitment to excellence displayed by the family. In 2009 the family quickly established themselves at or near the best as Ken became the President of the Missouri State Pedal Pull that was in some disarray with a retirement, etc. The State Pedal Pull became his driving force and it was put together through many potholes and rated as successful. This is the same year the Myers were picked to help host the National Pedal Pull and although a bit stressed the pull went quite well and received great reviews. Ken and the rest of the Myers did not rest they knew the equipment, although rated among the best, could be better. So now the Myers are said to be setting a new standard for tractors and size range for the pullers they can handle. A Myers axiom is never sit around crying because some one beat you get better or get out. Never forgetting it is about the kids and families the Myers continue to pursue excellence. Now the Myers are rated among the best in the Nation and Ken is again coaching toward a team championship this time in business. "If we can't operate at a higher level we will quit the business because the kids deserve the best done for them by someone who's first concern is not the dollar."
A Shot of Ken apprenticing with John Vossler in 2007
They were girls not a son, but the song is appropriate.
Health is such an important element to any family. The Myers are one of the truly blessed families around. They had two wonderful kids after 40 years of age. Willo and Ken are cancer survivors, Willo with two kinds, colon and leukemia, and Ken with skin cancer and diabetes. They are proud survivors and will never hide that there is life after hearing the worst thing anyone ever wants to hear. God has Blessed them with the time to give back and they are amazed that some folks are so small as to some how considered this admission a promotional gimmick. We are not special and that is the point. We could sit around looking for pity, instead we are out challenging our illness by attacking this activity with huge expectations. If we seem at all boastful it is our way of pushing ourselves to higher levels in spite of difficulties.
Kendra and Kayla Myers are employees/future owners of the business putting their pay into their college accounts and/or educational expenses. In 2005 Kendra and Kayla pedaled for the first time in a little 9 AM pull in Canistota SD where we lived. Kendra qualified for state with a second and Kayla finished third to another little girl that had just started too. Because of a pre-qualification Kayla was also allowed to qualify for state. So we loaded up and started going to a few for practice. the Next pull Kayla upset the girl that won Canistota. It would be 3 long years and about 30+ losses before that happen again. Over the time they became great friends.
An addition to this note is that through hard work and a lot of guts Kayla was able to win the 2008 National Pedal Pull title for 10 year old girls. We are proponents of a rule that allows multi state participation in the competition, but moves the qualifying position to the next in line if the placer has already gained state qualification. Currently if you want to pull you are forced to claim the qualifying position. And if that is not true no one seems to be saying it. Nationals had 351 of a possible 1080 actually appear. With this economy you don't go unless you have a real chance. Congratulations to all the State top 5 finishers it was a great year for quality in 10 year old girls as always. Take a look at the results over the last few years for this group of girls - it is hard to stay at the top.
Oh yeah the National Championship was won in a pull off with that girl from that day in Canistota SD. Miranda Painter (Montrose SD) now has a nearly 35 & 3 record against Kayla. But in Mitchell that day it was Kayla 1st and Miranda 2nd. July 11th 2009 they met again at the International and it was as it was the first day they met. Miranda 1st and Kayla 3rd in the world.... To Be Continued..
(written in 2009) Kendra is 12 years old and Kayla is now 11 years old. Their early interest got us involved in pedal pulling and they still compete at most meets, although, nearing retirement. In three short years they have gone to 6 state meets and Kayla qualified for the 2006 National. In 2006 she was 3rd in South Dakota and 14th in the National a foot out of the top three. They have been around the best pullers and competitors making them pretty good role models for proper conduct in the event. Many times in our off dates we are invited to come to other pulls so the girls in their communities can see the girls pull and learn the level they need to reach to compete at the upper State and National levels. Boys also gain in having the girls push them to their best. Our girls can and will get beat, yet they apply that to experience. They do not practice on the equipment and never have. Their main workout is biking, softball, and soccer. They gain by taking the challenge of competing against great boys and girls when ever possible, win or lose they learn from those experiences. For instance Kayla's hard headed determination with her friend.
2009 Nationals Miranda 2nd and Kayla 3rd. Kayla as has been pointed out may be the strongest of all the pullers, but the combination of speed and strength Miranda and Jeanette showed edged Kayla out of the pull off by 1 and 1/2 inches. As one person commented Kayla needs the extra hundred pounds to slow down the speedsters. We know the three girls that finished in the top three have each proved themselves in the last three years to be the best.
2010 finds Kendra a retired National Qualifier taking on more of the work load from her mother - not that she wasn't already working her share. Kayla turns 12 on June 2nd and will start her last run through the schedule prior to retiring June 2nd 2011, with only, hopefully, one more International after that. There is little doubt if not for her friend Miranda and not pulling all 9 years, Kayla might have been considered one of the two or three winning-est pullers of all time. The competitive level of pulls has grow so much in our short time in the activity. The days of little or no participation in the older age groups has been over for three or four years.
Today Kendra is the beneficiary of the years of pedal pulling. Even though she did not win a ton of trophies she gained in leg strength and now is a strong and improving Discus thrower. She uses the legs and the discipline gained from pedal pulling. Kayla hopes her last run can end up with her involved in the last pull for the 2010 National Title, yet she knows it might not.
A note sent to family on July 11th, 2010. this was in reference to July 9th and 10th, 2010.
Kayla pedaled in her last once a yearly attempt at wins in 24 hours. She won Ringgold County at 4:15 on Friday in exhibition. Later Friday night we drove to Ceresco NE and she won there at 8:30PM. We drove to Belleville KS and slept from 1 to 6:30 or at least the girls did. We start Saturday with a pull in Scandia KS 8:30AM in which she won. Then we drove to Diller for a 10AM pull again winning. It should be pointed out all pulls had a girls division and up to this point she would have won coed also. At 1:30 we made it to Sterling where we knew her toughest test would come. She won the girls beating a top 12 finisher at nationals, but on the coed side it appeared she was nipped. Then to Syracuse NE at 4:30PM. She pulled at about 6:00PM winning the girls and the coed if it had one. During this our friends the Demanett's of Randolph IA traveled in convoy with us and Symone (11) also completed her run with the same results. So the two girls won 5 pulls in 24 hours and almost did it coed. In Kayla's case the 26 hour period held 6 wins. This sadly was probably the last wild run for us chasing pulls. We are incredibly proud of our girl and although a late arrival at the dance she will be know as a champion, world class performer, and more important a classy kid you can respect. Now we see if she can qualify for national and then hopefully for International next year. I just hope in her last go around she is given the opportunity for a fair fight and she will retire happy.
Unfortunately, the previous comment was an accurate prediction, as she was taken out mentally in one state by a last second comment. Nationals set the record straight. I hope that if she gets to work with these folks again she can end her career with the great feeling of affection she has always had for them. Kayla never slid up a seat until she got creamed in the International by some kids doing it and then the National said it was okay. Oh by the way this is another reason kids that are good do not rely on just one state to qualify for Nationals.
Just to be clear Kayla was naturally one of the country's best, but being 6-8 months younger than the rest of the best and dealing with her own medical issues, she could only catch up by going and finding the best in the nation and taking whippings until she could get good enough to compete. I remember many losses to greats like Whitney McFee of Missouri, Wing of Kansas, Woodridge of Illinois, and of course, 30 + losses to Miranda Painter. You don't get better by not letting the best compete - you get better by challenging the best till you catch them. We started out having Kayla not pedal (do exhibitions) and people were upset, they wanted their kids to take her on for real. You know she gets beat once in a while and the winner can say they beat a champion - not that I will never know if she really tried. The equipment is the best but she wasn't on ours when she won the National title in 2008, was 3rd at the International, 3rd in the Nation in 2009, 2nd at the International in a tremendous pull off, and 3rd in the Nation by a couple of inches in her last try. So I think the equipment and who runs it isn't the issue in any competition especially if the child wins by several feet, perhaps if it is an inch difference.
Quick 2012-13 note on the girls:
Kendra had an incredible year. First she was chosen for the Southwest Iowa Honor Band and traveled to the Chick-fil-a Bowl in Atlanta GA. Second she was selected to be in the Miss Teen of Iowa contest in Pella IA. Although she did not win she was a winner of one of the 6 judged categories and received a plaque. She also was selected to participate on a select AAU basketball team and is working very hard to get better. Both girls were Superior in piano contests and had roles in a musical production at school, as a matter of fact Kayla was in a major role. They are currently a sophomore and a freshman. Kendra is already getting a flood of mail from schools for the next 4 years. Kayla is certainly wowing people with her abilities in all areas.
The Myers Pedal Tractor Pulls Family:
Ken - Kayla - Willo - Kendra
yes the girls are really growing
Just when you think we can't cover the big pulls we pull in the reserves
as my Mom (Erma) and sister Janet save us with their help.
If you think you have noticed more family around sometimes
Janet's Son-in-Law, Steve also helps at Brownville.
We are trying to tell Janet she needs her own sled.
2008 Photo - as we were just starting:
A quick shot of the company with Devil's Gulch in the background, at Garretson SD. Devil's Gulch was to have been a hangout for Jesse James, hence the Jesse James Days celebration June 20-21, 2008. Just minutes from Sioux Falls SD. this is a beautiful attraction. Glad we got the invitation to participate.
Crazies - Update
We were invited to the pre-release screening on 2/23/10
in Des Moines. Cool to see ourselves, our town, and our school
on the big screen. Exceeded my expectations check it out.
Special thanks to John Busbee and his wife.
The girls visited with Gov. Vilsak and his wife Christy at Eldon Pedal Pull
the Grant Wood Art Center was having a Grand Opening
Were they young or what?
RED, WHITE AND BLUE:
We use Red, White, and Blue as our company colors in honor of Kenneth (Gene) Myers. He was born on the fourth of July 1929. Orphaned in the depression, he worked hard to get through the 8th grade in school. He served in World War II at the age of 16. He served as a Drill Instructor during the Korean War. He returned home to drive stock cars on the local tracks with Tiny Lund and several other early NASCAR drivers, he owned the #3 locally. So it was easy to see why we were an Earnhardt household in later years. Gene then married and started a family. Gene and Erma had 6 children, all 6 attended college, 5 earned degrees, 4 went into education, and 2 went on to Masters Degrees. Gene was President of the local school board for 18 years. Retired as Head of Construction for the Omaha division of the Corp of Engineers.
He decorated his house every year for Christmas and was known in Nemaha County Nebraska as Mr. Christmas. You could see it glow for miles around. We remember people calling in later January because they were passing through and ask if he would turn the lights on as they had heard about them. He always did.
He found no greater joy than when he was with children. Thank goodness as he had 6 of his own. Every Christmas was like he was making up for the ones of his youth when there wasn't much around the tree. He never complained about the two or three jobs in the early years. He stayed loyal to his beliefs, the Corp of Engineers and his family. He past away in the fall of 2000. He lived everyday like he was the father in the song by Aaron Tippen, "You've Got to Stand for Something". We will always remember "what ever you do today you have to sleep with tonight" we always want to go to bed knowing we did the best we could for the kids.
We miss you Dad and hope you will smile down on this endeavor in your honor.
We also want to include our late brother-in-law Gary Workman, a three time Purple Heart winner, in Vietnam, in our group of family service men honored along with Dad.
We do what we do not because it is easy or we will get rich. We do this for the children and it is our ministry, community service, and hopefully it can have a positive affect on even a few of our youth.