Bob Parkes attended his first tractor pulling event with his father in 1963 and instantly fell in love with the sport. He has been fascinated with “tractor pulling” now for more than 45 years.
The ideas that led to, what is now Custom Tire Cutting, Inc. (CTC), date back to 1967 when Bob was fourteen. Bob and his cousin, Bill Schroeder, pulled an IH 560 farm tractor belonging to Bill’s dad at their local county fair. By 1968, they were branching out to more fairs. Then in 1970 while helping a neighbor, Tommy Abrams, Bob realized he could improve his traction with a few “cuts” to the tires. At that time Bob was using a large butcher knife, heated with a butane torch to facilitate the cutting.
From there, Bob went to work for Ed Carmichael, a true pioneer of the sport of tractor pulling. Bob had learned that Ed was going to build an IH “pulling” tractor. An alliance was born. They used an IH 1466 with a “pulling kit” from International Harvester (IH) designed by Jerry Lagod who worked for IH at that time. By 1974, Jerry had started Hypermax Engineering (HE). That same year while Bob was working for Carmichael, they were among HE’s first five customers to have their tractors sent to HE for modification. This is notable in that the process was improved to the extent that customers could simply order a “tractor pulling kit” for IH tractors mitigating the need for tractors to actually be brought into the shop for installation.
Among the most memorable wins while with Carmichael were the Indiana State Fair; Illinois State Fair; Fort Worth, Texas; twice at Pontiac Silver Dome (once with Bob driving!); Bowling Green, Ohio; and twice at the Louisville National Farm Machinery Show. In 1981 Custom Tire Cutting Inc. was born and Bob was on his way...
At this early point, Bob was cutting tractor tires using a chain saw and a carbide grinding disc, a marked improvement in precision and consistency compared to the original “butcher knife” method. Even bigger things were still to come…
By 1985 Bob had mechanized the process. He designed the very first “tire-cutting machine” and became a Dick Cepek dealer, having gone full time with his business in 1984.
Over the next few years the business grew rapidly. CTC contracted with Firestone in 1990 to make the first run of 24.5-32 ALL Trac 23° Puller tires. By 1995, CTC had designed and developed three of the four “Chevron Cut” Giant Puller tires for Dick Cepek; 26-12-12, 31-15.50-15 and 34-18.00-15, and CTC became Cepek’s sole distributor. These popular tires are still widely used.
Today, Custom Tire Cutting Inc. has its own brands made to CTC’s specifications using CTC part numbers including Grade 8 “Wheel Rim Screws” which are a Bob Parkes design. PARKES Grinding Discs and PARKES Cups, as well as Van Alstine Groovers and Van Alstine Blades are also made to CTC’s custom specifications.
“We’ve come a long way from the butcher knife” says Parkes.
Bob Parkes has used his love of “tractor pulling”, his years of experience and his innovative ideas to develop today’s premiere tire cutting company…
Custom Tire Cutting, Inc.
What’s next? Wait and see…