Austin Zinkon Memorial Truck/Tractor Pull is May 20

Austin Zinkon Memorial Truck/Tractor Pull is May 20

Austin Zinkon working at a tractor pull event. Austin’s life is being commemorated with a truck and tractor pull on May 20 that will help four local families with medical expenses.


The lives people portray and the people they touch while living speaks volumes as to their legacy when they are gone.

For those who knew Austin Zinkon, his life was far too short, but the impression he left on those who knew or even met him left a legacy worth leaving behind after Zinkon lost his life as the result of an accident several years ago.

All of those memories will be celebrated as part of the second annual Austin Zinkon Memorial Truck and Tractor Pull on Saturday, May 20.

The event will take place at Harvest Barn in Sugarcreek from noon to 10 p.m. It will include a spaghetti dinner in addition to a 50/50 drawing, raffle, silent auction and bake sale. Both the meal and the cost of admission to the event are by donation, with proceeds earmarked for area families who have experienced medical expenses through heartache and loss.

Last year’s event raised $30,000, thanks to the support of the community, and the Zinkon family hopes this year’s event will make an even larger impact on the community and those in need who will be supported by the event.

For Bob and Glenda Zinkon, Austin’s parents, the way to keep their son’s zeal for life alive was to embrace something he loved: truck and tractor pulls.

“When something tragic happens such as child loss, you can take different paths,” Glenda Zinkon said. “You can harbor self-pity, be constantly angry or ask what is God doing? We chose the latter and believe this is what God wants us to do.”

“Austin was always willing to help his friends and family and loved pulling, whether it was antique or state or national events,” Bob Zinkon said.

This year four families who are facing challenges will be the recipients of the blessings from this event.

One of the four beneficiaries is Bev Keller of Dundee, editor at The Budget Newspaper for the past 20 years. Keller stepped on a razor blade in October 2022, and her wound became infected and went from cellulitis to osteomyelitis.

The infection caused her body to go septic as the infection spread to her heart and blood stream. A second bone infection started in her left foot during this time. The surgical wound that was created to drain the abscess began bleeding profusely and landed her back in the hospital.

What followed were blood transfusions and surgeries, where doctors found a tumor in her stomach. Despite being on a course of antibiotics for the osteomyelitis, Keller was faced with the decision to amputate her left foot and ankle to just below the knee to save her own life as the infection started to spread. Now the wait begins for the leg to heal to allow for treatment for her stomach. Following those treatments, it will be time to look at a prosthetic that will allow her to walk again.

“Anyone who knows Bev will testify that she is the most selfless person and gives so much to our community,” Bob Zinkon said. “She helped and was a donor to our last event, and even though a recipient, her family is donating again this year. This is our chance to help with her mounting medical bills and to give back to someone who gives so much to the community and other people in need.”

Stage-two lymphoma, T-cell, struck Caleb Dupler, age 26. It is rare that doctors have no protocol to work off for his treatment.

“He has seen stem cell specialists and been to New York to see bone marrow transplant specialists,” Bob Zinkon said. “Doctors are now considering sending him to Baylor in Texas.”

Duane Warren has been battling cancer for the past several years. He recently suffered seizures due to a tumor that was putting pressure on his brain. While the tumor itself has been removed, doctors have him on anti-seizure medications, and he has had many hospital stays. Those stays are far from home and often see a need for hotel rooms for his family to be near him. He was a regular on the John Deere pulling circuit prior to the diagnosis.

Middle school teacher, wife and mother Heather Kistler is battling breast cancer. Since being diagnosed, she and her family have made countless trips to Columbus for chemotherapy. She has had a double mastectomy. Her lymph nodes have been removed, and she has undergone radiation.

Currently, Kistler is on medication to help limit the chance of the cancer returning. In addition, plans are to start reconstructive surgeries later this year.

“Through our first event, we were able to help three families,” Glenda Zinkon said. “This year we are trusting God that we can help four families. This is our chance to be a blessing where trials and tribulations seem to be the forefront.”

The Zinkons said there are many ways to bless the benefit. First and foremost, prayers are welcome.

“If you believe in prayer, we ask that you join us in praying for these families and the countless others who are suffering, that they would experience God’s goodness and grace and his glory would shine through them,” Glenda Zinkon said.

The event will take place rain or shine.

“While some bleacher-type seating will be available, we encourage attendees to bring chairs,” Glenda Zinkon said. “There will be ample room track side to set up chairs and enjoy the truck and tractor pull.”

Bob Zinkon said while the truck and tractor pull will not be policed, there are some rules that will be adhered to. The 6,500 Hot Rod V8 Tractor Class will follow Central Ohio Tractor Pull Association rules. The 7,000 and 9,000 Open Tractor Class is 20-inch hitch, any tire and any tractor, and the 3.0 Limited Pro Diesel Trucks will follow OSTPA rules.

There also will be many other features throughout the evening including an open-speed 12,500 Farm Stock and the Run What You Brung Truck, which is just what it sounds like. The 12,500 Farm Stock will be any tire, 20-inch hitch, 10 mph. The 6,000 Open Antique Tractor Class is 1970 or older tractors with 18-inch hitch, any tire and 6 mph. Weigh-in will start at noon, and the pulls will begin at 2 p.m.

Serving for the spaghetti dinner by donation will begin at noon and will continue until 6 p.m. or until supplies run out. Take-out also will be available during this time. The silent auction will be held at various time intervals from noon to 6 p.m. There also will be a bake sale by donation from noon to 6 p.m. or until baked goods are gone. The 50/50 tickets will be sold throughout the day, and drawing will be held with the winner announced at 6:30 p.m.

“Bob and I are deeply moved and appreciative of everyone’s efforts to make this memorial benefit event a success,” Glenda Zinkon said. “It takes a lot of work to pull something like this together, and we are very appreciative of all the support we have received so far. God has definitely been in our midst, and we are so thankful for all who are supporting this meaningful event from local businesses to individuals.”

The family also praised the Spillman family for their help in making this benefit a reality, thanks to the space they created with Harvest Barn. “We especially want to thank the Spillman family for allowing this event to take place on their grounds and their ongoing support,” she said.

Gate entry is on a donation basis. For more information or to donate to the fund, email or call 330-852-1300. Harvest Barn is located at 420 Dutch Valley Drive.

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