Pulling for “Team Johnnie”

Joey Marfia participates in truck pulls in memory of his brother, Johnnie, who passed away two years ago

A video project involving San Benito High School students Alawna Thompson and Andrue Valles with the help of Ian Slattery of Community Media Access Partnership (CMAP) highlights 19-year-old truck pull driver Joey Marfia, whose "Team Johnnie" truck participated in the annual event at the recent county fair.

Thompson and Valles, members of Rob Campbell's Independent Film Club at SBHS, worked with Slattery to profile Marfia, a Baler grad who now races in memory of his brother, Johnnie, who died in a car accident two years ago.

"You get in a truck that you either care a lot about or you don't care about and you hook up to a 20,000-pound sled and see how far you can pull it without breaking anything," Joey said. "The farther you go, the more the crowd gets into it. And if something breaks, the crowd really gets into it."

His green flatbed truck, named "Team Johnnie," dates back to three years ago, when Joey and Johnnie started working on the truck. During Joey's senior year, a few months before the truck pulls, Johnnie passed away in a car accident.

"Ever since then it's just been mine and my dad and we've figured out a way to finish the truck through (Johnnie's) spirit and we've come out here every year and we've made the truck better," said Joey, whose truck carries the slogan "My bro rides with me."

"We've had a good time remembering him and we've had a good time pulling ever since then," Joey said.

To view the YouTube video, click here.

Adam Breen

Adam Breen has been a San Benito County resident since 1980 and graduated from Sacred Heart School and San Benito High School before earning a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno. A father of two sons, Adam has taught newspaper, English and yearbook at SBHS for the past decade, after six years as a magazine editor for Santa Clara University. He previously was editor of the Hollister Free Lance and content director for BenitoLink.