Channel 19

By Todd Dills | October 01, 2009

Behind the superhero

Channel-19Brothers Nick and James Ventrillo are a pair of former truckers – they ran XX Trucking, of Las Vegas – at different points on the IQ spectrum. The longer-term hauler of the two, Nick, has an astoundingly high 200 score. The pair have now released the first adventure novel in what they plan to be the “Rick & Bobo” series.

James’ character is the bozo (Bobo) who decides the best thing to do with a huge amount of cash they’ve come into is to turn himself into a superhero. Rick has the brains to pull it off, with exciting results. Download the ebook or order the paper version via rickandbobo.com.

‘Hags’ won’t rag fleet by name

“Highway Hags” Stace and Hedon, company team drivers for a “super-large-mega-important transportation firm,” blog on mechanical how-to to more standard fare at highwayhags.com. Their employer decided “they would rather not take advantage of all the free publicity to be gained from being mentioned prominently in drivers’ blogs,” Hedon writes on highwayhags.com. “On the one hand, I really seriously hate being told what to do. On the other, I really like this big cushy truck. Fine. We work for Those-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named or TWMNBN for short.”

Rock out, boys!

BoyAndy Wiley (pictured), 10, and Brody Yeary, 12, were armed with nothing more than a keen sense for opportunity and a screwdriver when they hit the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas in August. The duo roamed Overdrive’s Pride & Polish display ahead of judging, offering to remove rocks from tire treads. At $1 per tire, $33 was racked up by the fledgling business, which Andy identified as Rock Removers Inc. His parents, Jimmy and Shonda Wiley, were part of the Yeary Trucking entourage showing their rigs. We bet they had the cleanest tread channels on the floor. – Bruce W. Smith n

Turning tire failure into art success

Sculptor Randy Gachet of the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham scavenges rubber “gators” from the roadside and makes art of them, such as the cyclical “Ouroboros” (pictured) or a thicket of “Carbon Spires,” tall totemlike poles built around rebar.

Out of the cab and into the cage

When out-of-shape West Coast trucker Todd Sturgis decided to become a mixed-martial-arts fighter, his wife and co-driver, Tamera, decided to put the whole midlife crisis on videotape. One reviewer calls Tamera Sturgis’ documentary, Under Pressure: Diary of a Cage Fighter’s Wife, “what would have happened if Adrian had filmed Rocky.” There must be an easier way to lose 40 pounds. The multitalented couple is back to hauling on I-5; their DVD is $20 at http://www.mycagefighter.com

Ain’t that a kick in the teeth?

A radio ad for TomTom GPS devices angered reader Chuck Winborn of Birmingham, Ala.: “I can’t remember word verbatim how it went, but it said something like this: ‘Who would you rather get your directions from, a truck driver with stage three gum disease or TomTom?’” Other listeners complained, too, and the ad has been yanked, reports Lori Robinson of TomTom agency Hill & Knowlton: “We had several consumers write to us expressing concerns, and we took their comments seriously and appreciated their feedback.”

“ We had the worst road system in the country, according to TruckersMagazine. Five years later, I was proud to be the governor of what was called the most improved road system in the country. ”

— Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a Republican presidential candidate, misremembers the name of Overdrive on Fox News Sunday but correctly remembers that Arkansas topped our Worst Roads list in 1999 and our Most Improved Roads list in 2004 – after he signed per-gallon tax increases of 3 cents on gasoline and 4 cents on diesel to pay for road building.

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