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Cover of the Book River Rats by Robert Petras Sr.

By Robert E. Petras


“You can’t make this stuff up!”

Robert E. Petras Jr. was lucky enough to live his life on his terms. He spent his childhood in Toronto, Ohio, surrounded by friends and family, with an adventurous life awaiting him. While he was growing up, his ambition to take on the world and enjoy life to the fullest can be witnessed in his new book. Apart from real-life experiences, the book also treats the readers with an imaginative collection of short stories. Robert – chilling with friends, using humor to make the most of his time – experienced both; life struggles and successes.

Best Selling Author

Robert E. Petras Sr

 Robert Petras Sr. is a poet, author, blogger, historian, nutritionist, certified personal trainer and naturalist from the little eastern Ohio town of Toronto. 

            He developed an early interest in journalism as a sports writer for the newspaper of his high school where he excelled in football, earning an athletic grant-in-aid scholarship at Marshall University, where he played on the same Young Thundering Herd team featured in the Matthew McConaughey film “We Are Marshall.” 

            Petras would later attend Kent State University studying journalism and public relations while working as a farm hand and janitor to support himself.  He married his wife Debbie in 1975 and would not return to college until the autumn of 1985, supporting his young family by working various jobs at a fossil fuel power plant in Stratton, Ohio. 

            While working the coal fields of the power plant,  Petras began writing during lunchbreaks and coffee breaks, authorized and unauthorized, and supplemented his income by penning freelance outdoor and sports stories for several local newspapers and regional magazines.  He continued to hone his craft and eventually his prose and photography would earn print in numerous national publications, including Field &Stream and Sports Afield.  In addition, he would score editorship with the regional magazines. 

            While averaging 50 hours a week at the power plant and authoring a dozen or more stories a month for local publications, Petras would continue pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts degree at West Liberty University, earning academic honors there and graduating in 1987. 

            During the early 1990s, Petras began writing fiction and scored some early success in the science fiction genre, etching his name on the highly esteemed “Locus Index of Science Fiction” with his contributions of ”Charnel knowledge” in Gaslight and “Industrial Arts” in Crossroads.  He would continue to earn publishing credits in a variety of fiction and nonfiction genres as well as experiencing success in poetry.  To date, his work has seen print in more than 250 publications across the globe. 

            In August of 2022, Petras released his first book, “River Rats,” a humorous collection of 25 coming-of-age stories based from the 1960s in his hometown Toronto, Ohio, a town he affectionately calls the Center of the Universe, where he and his wife Debbie still call home. 

            The longtime writer is also a certified personal fitness trainer, CrossFit Level 1 coach and nutritionist with numerous accredited specialties. 

Latest Release

‘Release The Belgium’ has officially hit the shelves, continuing the captivating journey from Bob Petras’ first book, ‘River Rats’. Dedicated to his granddaughters, Bella and Bianca Petras, this sequel seamlessly picks up where the adventure left off. Join the adventure today and experience the seamless transition between these extraordinary stories!

From the book “River Rats”


If you grew up in a small town, or you are just looking for a fun-loving book with a ton of laughs, this book is a must-read!

– Bobby (Amazon)


Even though I was born after the time setting for this book, it felt like I was able to time travel back to Toronto in the 1960s to get a glimpse of life back then. It was a great journey with many laughs along the way. 

– Marlana M


The author has a writing style that is both hilarious and captivating. This is a must-read for anyone who grew up in T-Town or any small river town during the 1960’s when backyard football, Halloween corning, and winter bumper hugging were the pastimes of choice.

– Dave Hudok

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