Local man inspires 20 years after tragic tractor accident

Local man inspires 20 years after tragic tractor accident

WADESVILLE, IN (WFIE) - A Posey County man is refusing to let a personal tragedy define him.

Larry Koester was in a tractor accident more than 20 years ago, and until recently, he's been quietly inspiring the people around him.

In a mini-modified tractor, Larry pulls a weighted sled down a 320-foot track in fairs all over America.

Just like every other driver, he uses the brakes to steer the tractor left and right down the track. Only Larry does it, without his legs.

His legs had to be amputated after a tractor accident that also burned over 70 percent of his body.

"When I got home, I was just really--even with all the support from my family and friends, I just was having a hard time," says Larry.

Larry says he spent a lot of time feeling sorry for himself until one day his, then three-year-old, daughter said something that changed everything.

Larry says, "she looks at me and she walks across the room and puts her arms around my neck and says, 'Don't worry Daddy. I still love you without your legs.'"

It's a moment, Larry says he'll never forget.

"From that moment on, instead of looking down and looking at how bad I had it, I start playing with my kids and start realizing that just go forward in it," says Larry. "It was almost like nothing could slow me down from that point on."

For fifteen years after that, Larry went from fair to fair pulling tractors.

It started as something to do with his family, but then he started winning and the Shell Oil Company decided to sponsor him.

Suddenly, tractor pulling became a lot more.

Shell decided to share Larry's story with the world and so far, the documentary, "The Long Road Home," has almost 50,000 views on YouTube.

Larry says he hopes at least one person, who's struggling with their own tragedy will see it.

"If it's just a little kid or if it's an adult," says Larry. "If it's an older person that's just really having a hard time, maybe it will give them that little picker-up that they need."

He says maybe they'll realize, like he did, that you don't need feet to kick butt.

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