Inside the cab of a 1984 orange Chevy truck, she is ready to shift gears and stomp on the gas, the roar of the straining engine smothering the trackside fans.
Only a rookie this summer, Lizzy Franzen competes among the men in truck pulls on dirt tracks. Ready, Lizzy takes us on a ride once she is hooked onto that weighted sledding machine.
She has competed at the Boone County Fair in Belvidere, the Kendall County Fair in Yorkville, and the Summer Showdowns in Sandwich. Next up is the big Labor Day weekend battle in Paw Paw.
Down the track at Sandwich, she took seventh place, traveling 278 feet in 21.4 seconds in the 6300 Altered Stock Class.
Currently, Lizzy Franzen does not have a truck nickname emblazoned on the side. However, her ever-growing fan base knows she when she enters the arena. Franzen calls it a family hobby, something to do on weekends.
At age 10, she attended her first truck pull, but the family rule kept her off the track.
Still learning truck pulling skills, Franzen has had her share of mishaps.
Being a young woman in a male-dominated sport, she can handle the teasing or second-guessing.
This fall she will attend Aurora University, majoring in elementary education. Imagine the faces of her students some day, when she tells them she is a professional truck puller. Recess could be even more fun.
Listen to Mark's full Weekend Story, below: