It is our sad duty to notify you of the passing on Saturday, September 24 of J.R. Collins of Painesville, Ohio. Mr. Collins was a founding member of the Super Semi division ("Killer"/"Buckeye Bulldog" Mack), a participant within it for 33 years, a six-time national champion, and a 2018 inductee into the Pulling Hall of Fame.
Said Mr. Collins of his motivation for barnstorming the country to popularize big rig sled pulling: “All my life, since I was a kid, I wanted to drive truck.” That began in the conventional way, with plenty of over-the-road miles earned in a stock truck that moonlighted as a puller. But when sponsor R.W. Sidley offered to house a dedicated pulling shop for Collins' then-exhibition ventures, and a Mack Superliner was located on the West Coast, the "Killer Mack" was born.
Collins earned his first NTPA title in 1994, powered by wins in Albert Lea, Minnesota and Ionia and Cassopolis, Michigan. He renamed the truck "Buckeye Bulldog" based on wife Linda's suggestion, and despite health challenges during that offseason, defended his championship in 1995.
The next one would have to wait for over a decade, but the spectators' enthusiasm for the famous fire-breathing "Bulldog" never waned, whether in the U.S. or at the European Superpull. Collins clinched his next NTPA title in 2008 in Sandwich, Illinois, then followed it with a seven-win 2009. He won two more championships to close out that decade and open the next as the undisputed kingpin of the division.
Mr. Collins is survived by his wife Linda, son Charlie, stepdaughters Melissa Davidson and Jenni Craft (David), grandchildren Jared, Marissa, Chase, and Aiden; and sister Sue Myers (Willie). He also leaves several nieces and nephews.
In Lieu of flowers contributions may be made to St. Jude’s Children Hospital 262 Danny Thomas Way Memphis TN 38105 or the Wounded Warrior 600 River Ave. Ste 900 Pittsburgh PA 15212.