Featured article: Texas Showdown

By Bruce W. Smith and Lanier Norville | October 01, 2009

Outstanding entries wow crowds at the Great American Trucking Show

Floyd Moore won Best of Show Working Bobtail with this 2000 Peterbilt 379, which he runs 150,000 to 160,000 miles a year.
Floyd Moore won Best of Show Working Bobtail with this 2000 Peterbilt 379, which he runs 150,000 to 160,000 miles a year.

The Mendez brothers knew they had something special to enter into Overdrive’s Pride & Polish in Dallas. They’d been working 18-hour days for nearly four months to transform the family-owned 1997 Peterbilt 379 into a one-of-a-kind. They hoped their Texas Chrome Shop’s efforts would put Project One on the lips of everyone attending the Great American Trucking Show.

Some 625 miles north of the San Antonio customizing shop, the Boyz at the Chrome Shop Mafia in Joplin, Mo., were undertaking a very similar build. Thomas Ivy, a passionate lover of custom rigs, had brought in his 1986 Pete from Kilgore, Texas, to have it turned into a one-of-a-kind. CSM employees worked overtime to get it finished for its Pride & Polish debut in Dallas.

Neither custom shop had any idea what the other was building. That’s typical of many new builds showing up at Pride & Polish truck beauty shows – and one of the surprises attendees savor when coming to such events.

When both rigs rolled off their respective trailers and took up key positions on the truck show floor, people were drawn to them like bees to clover.

When the judging was done, the votes were close for the top prize – the Texas shop taking home the coveted Best Limited Mileage Bobtail trophy.

“This truck is the 651st truck we’ve customized in one way or the other, but it’s the first one we’ve done for ourselves,” says Texas Chrome Shop marketing manager Raul Mendez Jr. “Everyone at our shop put their soul into building Project One. It’s our statement to the truck customizing community of what we can do out of a little shop in San Antonio.”

No less impressive was the customizing done on the Best of Show winners in the working divisions. Floyd Moore, of Cagle Rock Trucking, won bobtail honors with his 2000 Peterbilt 379. Moore, who mostly hauls Peterbilt products in a dry van, was proud in particular of custom oak cabinetry in the truck’s interior.

Raul and Roland Mendez won Best Limited Mileage Bobtail with their custom shop's latest creation, Project One.
Raul and Roland Mendez won Best Limited Mileage Bobtail with their custom shop's latest creation, Project One.

“I had a guy build them,” he says. “With the stainless and chrome, the fellow I bought it from, we installed it together. I took the truck off the road this year three weeks before the show and me and two other guys worked on it, polished it and painted the frame.”

The top prize for working combos went to Brad Johnson of Lindamood Demolition, for the 2007 Peterbilt 379 with a 2008 CPS round bottom dump.

The dump’s used for hauling debris at the demolition jobs Lindamood gets, Johnson says. “It’s used every day,” he says. “It’s in landfills” like the one he encountered a week before showing at the Pride & Polish in Wildwood, Fla. “Five days before we were going to leave, it started raining in the middle of a landfill, and there’s some nasty stuff that comes up off the ground in a landfill. As clean as I got it, you couldn’t tell. I like knowing where it was the week before and seeing it sitting on the show floor all cleaned up.”

Johnson’s particularly proud of the hand-scraped hardwood floors. “They actually came out of a house that we tore down,” he says. “It’s the same floor that we have in our office here at the shop, and I have the same floor in my house.”

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