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The "Lady Butterfly" is owned by John A. Mann and Bonnie McCartney of East Canton, Ohio. This beautiful yellow 1974 Kenworth is powered by a V12 Detroit diesel with twin turbo-chargers, and has an Allison automatic transmission. In 1999, she finished second in the nation; in 2000, she was third; and in 2001 she finished fifth. John was hurt in 1998 when he slipped on the ice. He had the necessary spine/neck surgery in March 2001, and he returned to driving to finish out the 2001 season. It has been a while since John's surgery, but he still has to be very careful; if he is jerked around too much in the cab, he can be paralyzed. That doesn't allow him to be as aggressive behind the wheel as he needs to be, but he still is out there competing. The Lady Butterfly had not competed for points for the last couple of years. John didn't want to commit himself to either ATPA (no longer) or NTPA; he wanted to be free to make arrangements of his own if he is asked to put on a show for someone not affiliated with either organization. So, he is a member of NTPA and USA EAST (Full Pull Productions, Big Rigs) and pulls with both groups where he can. He competed for points in 2006 once again and finished in 5th pace for Big Rigs and 6th place for NTPA. Though we had alot of break downs in 2006 and missed several of the point pulls we finished proudly. John's goal is still to put on a show that the people like, and want to see again.
The Lady Butterfly has been participating in truck pulls since her first entry in the stock class in 1980 when John entered her in a NTPA sanctioned pull in Randolph, Ohio. He arrived at the pull site, unhooked from the trailer, let some air out of the tires (to get a better fingerprint on the track), did the pull, put the air back in the tires, hooked back onto the trailer, and went back on the road. This method continued for 10 years. When he retired The Butterfly in 1992, from a work vehicle, she had 1.2 million road miles on her odometer. Those miles had been acquired in all the lower 48 states and Canada. He had accomplished this in 18 years. After retiring The Butterfly, he purchased a Freightliner, and used The Butterfly exclusively for pulling. He has had other hauling rigs, but she has stayed as the pulling truck, and has participated in over 1600 pulls. And just as a point of interest, the engine block was still the original one until July of 2006 when we spun several bearings and changed engines in order to continue pulling for the 2006 season. .
The name originated because of the bright yellow paint job. The black and gold striping led everyone to call her a bumble-bee. John didn't feel that this name fit her, so he called her a butterfly. The term 'lady' was just a logical addition. All of John's vehicles have been yellow, so his first rig would continue that tradition (in case you hadn't realized it, yellow is his favorite color). But, in 1969, that was not the popular color it is today. In fact, she was the only one of that color on the highway then, but if you take notice there are more and more yellow semis on the nations highways today.
John A. Mann has been an owner-operator since 1969. He has been participating in truck pulls since 1980. I think I can safely say that he is one of their senior drivers, not in age, but in experience. Thirty seven years can account for a lot of tips, and he isn't afraid to offer those tips if he is asked. As I said on the first page, John has always had yellow trucks. The Butterfly isn't the flashiest or the most brightly painted truck on the circuit, but we think she is the classiest. Her paint job is subtle, but it makes a definite statement about her and her driver. The flashing butterfly in her grill is her trademark. Some of the other drivers have added lights and/or fire to their show, but John was the first to use this technique. John still has to be very careful after his surgery--if there are any sudden jerks while he is pulling, he could be paralyzed for life. That doesn't allow him to be as aggressive as he knows he needs to be, but he is still out there competing.
There have been some changes in her appearance along the way. The flashing butterfly in the grill is her trademark. Anyone who has seen it, remembers it. The black fenders were added in 1996 to set off the yellow a bit better. She had a complete make-over for the 2000 season which included lowering the front end, and taking the exhaust out through the hood, which gave her a totally different look--one we hope you like. The butterfly design was new for the 2002 season, but the flashing 'wings' are still there. In 2005 many new graphics were added and again John's favorite Old English Text lettering was added.
The Butterfly has won some prestigious awards in her career. Two of them are:
The Butterfly has one goal--to put on a show that the spectators will enjoy, and that they will want to see again. If the crowd has a good time, then The Butterfly has done her job.
The Butterfly is currently working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Toys for Tots organization. Worthy organizations that do a great thing. John is proud to be part of these groups.
This picture was taken at the last pull of 2006 in Bloomsburg, PA.
This page was updated on: 06/02/11
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