Overdrive Pride & Polish: Blue chip

| December 12, 2008

Brad Caton’s 2007 Peterbilt 379 extended hood and 2007 Mac end dump won its fourth straight Pride & Polish Best of Show Working Combo at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

Still Deliriouz, the burgundy 1992 Peterbilt 379 owned by Sandvik Trucking of Valley Center, Calif., bears this motto: “Loved by few, hated by many, & envied by all!”

If Sandvik haters exist, they didn’t influence the judges at the Pride & Polish competition at this year’s Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, where Still Deliriouz won Best of Show Working Bobtail, as well as Firsts in two categories, Working Bobtail 1986-1999 and Mobil Delvac Engine Class.

Likewise, there was no shortage of love for Brad Caton’s 2007 Peterbilt 379 extended hood and 2007 Mac end dump, which won Best of Show Working Combo. Caton has been a company driver for Eilen & Sons Trucking for 14 years, hauling sand, gravel, coal, road salt – and, this year, trophies. That top Dallas honor was his fourth Best of Show in 2008, one for each Pride & Polish he’s entered (the others being Louisville, Wildwood and Las Vegas). And his previous Eilen & Sons truck won Best of Show in Dallas in 2004.

“You get one, and you’re usually good,” Caton says, looking a little sheepish after ticking off his honors. Besides Best of Show, he won four other awards in Dallas, including Firsts in two categories, Combo Specialized and Interior Cab Only.

While the tires and fenders come off for a serious cleaning before each show, that wouldn’t do much good, Caton says, if the truck weren’t kept pristine on the road every day. “You got to stay on top of it, because if it gets away from you, you got a mess on your hands,” he says. “It’s good advertising for us, when you run up and down the road, and everyone hollers at you, saying, ‘That’s a great-looking truck.’ That means more than all the trophies, you know?”

Between two summer Pride & Polish shows – the Great West Truck Show in June and GATS in August – Randy and Jona Rebillard put 16,000 miles on their 2002 Peterbilt 379, hauling reefer loads of fresh pork to Chicago twice a week.

For those who doubt this is a working truck, Jona displays photographs taken in December 2007, showing the rig crusted with salt and snow and looking as forlorn as its name: Tired Iron. The name was inspired by Randy’s hobby, collecting antique John Deere tractors.

Showing since 2003, the Rebillards have won Best of Show in Reno, Nev., three times and took a first in bobtail in the 2007 Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition. Tired Iron isn’t tired of winning yet: It grabbed two awards at GATS, including a First in Working Bobtail 2000-2003.

On gift-giving occasions, the Rebillards mainly give each other equipment for the truck, Jona says. “We have been married 27 years as of Aug. 29, so I don’t need any more diamonds.” They won’t take an anniversary vacation to celebrate their latest win, however. “This is our holiday, right here,” Jona says, gesturing at the show floor.

“God won’t bless a godless America,” says the side of Lynn and Shelly Baxter’s 2006 Freightliner M2 112 Expediter, which won Firsts in two categories, Bobtail Specialized and Interior Custom Aftermarket Sleeper.

The Baxters haul mostly military loads for A&E Mann Trucking, a Landstar contractor, but their support-the-troops theme is as much personal as professional. The Baxters were assigned this truck in 2006, when they had two children stationed overseas: a son with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and a daughter – a single mom with five children – with the Indiana National Guard in Iraq.

Shelly’s sister, Judi Privett of Studio Graphics in San Antonio, Texas, came up with the truck design, which prominently includes a photograph of Shelly’s son, Staff Sgt. Brian Richard Snook, kneeling in prayer on the tarmac with his friend Sgt. Lloyd Sawyer. The two men are cupped in a giant pair of loving hands beneath the words “In God We Trust.”

Privett’s design was implemented by a local Sign-A-Rama franchisee, Shelly says. “After Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio saw what they did for us, they hired Sign-A-Rama to do their buses, and they’re absolutely gorgeous.”

Currently Snook is stationed at Fort Lee, Va., and his sister is out of the military. The Baxters have turned the truck’s cargo bay into a rolling military museum, and when they set up at shows, their loudspeakers play songs such as Toby Keith’s “American Soldier”: “When liberty’s in jeopardy, I will always do what’s right / I’m out here on the front lines; sleep in peace tonight.”

The 2007 Freightliner Coronado owned by Ed and Sally Bosket of Lake City, Fla., won first in Working Bobtail 2005 and Newer, but it already had drawn the attention of one of the celebrities at GATS.

“Aaron Tippin said he wanted to see our truck,” Ed says. “He talked to us just like regular folks, climbed up inside, looked at the angel in the ceiling.”

The angel is depicted in a stained-glass skylight, Sally Bosket’s handiwork. But angels also appear in the Coronado’s mural, the freehand work of American Indian artist Ken Bailey of Brushworks in Lake City, Fla. “I can’t do the exact same thing on both sides,” he warned the owners before he started.

“It’ll never be duplicated,” Ed says. “Can’t be.” He points out the “angel” that the Boskets spotted in the mural, one the artist says wasn’t his conscious doing.

The slogan on the back of the Boskets’ cab – “Attitude determines altitude!” – is one the couple first saw on a sign inside a hospital. Now it’s their chief business advice to fellow drivers. Leased to Arnold Transportation, the Boskets haul dry freight out of Macon, Ga., on a dedicated run for Kohl’s retail chain. Their truck also won Firsts in Louisville and Dallas in 2007.

“Wow,” a woman says, admiring the riverboat mural on the side of the 2008 Utility trailer pulled by The Gambler, the 2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy edition extended hood driven by Doug and Kim Fisher of Transport N Service. The judges said “Wow,” too, as the Fishers won three Firsts, including Combo Custom Paint and Graphics or Mural.

While The Gambler’s other murals depict the 1980 TV movie starring Kenny Rogers, the riverboat mural by R.A. Watters Graphics depicts the 1994 theatrical movie Maverick. A riverboat scene featuring Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Coburn and Alfred Molina unreels in a 48-foot film strip down the side of the trailer.

Pride & Polish newcomer Wayne Wardlaw, a slow-talking Woodville, Texas, welder and restorer of antique Caterpillar bulldozers, won a First in the Antique Bobtail category with a lovingly maintained 1975 Peterbilt 359. It was equipped with an eye-catching 80-ton Tulsa winch that’s as old as the truck.

Wardlaw has owned the truck for eight years, “just putt-putting around the house with it,” hauling trailers in and out of his shop. He worked seriously on restoring it last year, then tried it out at the 2008 Texas Forestry Association’s Family Fun Day and Equipment Show, where he won Second in the People’s Choice competition.

“I’ve been learning a lot since I got here,” Wardlaw says. “I didn’t know you were supposed to do the paint on the tires. I didn’t know you were supposed to pick the rocks out of the tread.” He also realizes he shouldn’t have replaced the air cleaners, but he’s glad he still has the originals at home.

Wardlaw is also learning how to get along with his neighbors. He nods to the enormous wrecker parked on the show floor behind him and says, “I told that fellow, if he broke down, I could pull him.”

“That fellow” is the good-natured J.R. Galvan of Galvan Super Towing of Robston, Texas, and Beeville, Texas. Prepped for a month to get ready for Pride & Polish, Galvan’s 1998 Freightliner Classic – as multicolored as a double rainbow – is just one of 14 colorful wreckers in Galvan’s fleet. “I got a pink truck, too,” Galvan says. “People ask why I have a pink truck. I say, because people look at it.” Galvan came away with a Third in Bobtail Specialized.

Pete Zamora of San Antonio and Henry Hall of Atascosa, Texas, already knew each other and were well familiar with their respective Peterbilt 379 extended hoods – Zamora’s a 2002, Hall’s a 2004 named Vamanos, Spanish for let’s go. Zamora and Hall not only are cousins; they’re also rival gravel haulers in the San Antonio area.

“He bids on the same jobs I bid on,” Zamora says. “It’s a love-and-hate relationship. It’s like a marriage.” He and Hall compare themselves to Ralph and Sam, wolf and sheepdog in a series of Chuck Jones cartoons released by Warner Bros. in the 1950s, who drop their mutual antagonism when the 5 o’clock whistle blows. “From 7 to 5 we do a business, and on weekends we enjoy each other’s company.”

Zamora and Hall talked one another into entering this year’s competition, their first, and registered at the last minute. Zamora wound up winning a trophy, a Second for Best Peterbilt, and likely has reminded Hall of this fact by now.

Owner-operator Floyd Moore of Cagle Rock Trucking in Russellville, Ark., has been driving for exactly as long as Zamora has been alive, 37 years – 22 of those years with his wife, Carol – but Dallas was the first truck show he ever entered.

“A friend encouraged me, saying, ‘As nice as your truck is, you ought to put it in a show,’ ” Moore says. “It’s something we’ve been wanting to do. We’re not getting any younger.”

His first show would have been in Little Rock, Ark., earlier this summer, but when he took the truck into his favorite truck wash on the Tuesday beforehand, inept employees ruined his fuel tanks in an acid bath, doing $1,300 in damage. Moore took it pretty well, telling the horror-stricken manager: “You won’t lose my business. Just make my truck right.”

Leased to Stallion Transportation of Beebe, Ark., Moore hauls Class 8 diesel engines on a dedicated 2,700-mile run from the Cummins plant in Lakewood, N.Y., to the Peterbilt plant in Denton, Texas. The Moores’ son is a small-engine mechanic in Baton Rouge, La., and their younger daughter drives a dump truck in New Orleans.

The highest mileage truck of recent vintage in the show may have been the red 1986 Peterbilt 359 owned by J.R. Wilson of Hawkins, Texas: more than three million miles, all under one owner.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a 359,” says admirer Lewis Pritchett, a company driver for Sitton Motor Lines. “That’s the last year they made them. The 379 came out the next year.”

Pointing out the 359’s features to two younger drivers, James Furino and Brian Wiles, inspires Pritchett to tell road stories. “I had only driven 48-foot trailers, and when they asked me if I could drive a 53-foot, I said sure, because I thought, what difference does five feet make? Shoot, that five feet was like five miles. That trailer didn’t do anything I wanted it to do.”

Centsless, a 2007 Peterbilt 379 owned by Witte Bros. Exchange of Troy, Mo., and built by Peterbilt of Joplin, Mo., won a Third in Limited Mileage Bobtail, but its driver hardly qualifies as limited mileage himself. Ronnie Johnson of New Florence, Mo., the Truckload Carriers Association’s 2003 Company Equipment Driver of the Year, has covered 3.1 million miles in his career.

Admiring Just Enuff, a 1988 International Eagle owned by Howard Henley of Fort Worth, Texas, a laughing Johnson wonders aloud what Just Enuff might refer to. “Just enough headaches? Just enough money to keep running?”

When Terry Wier Jr. of Belle, Mo., accidentally steps on the foot of his wife, Missy, he tells her: “I’m sorry, baby. I don’t know whether you knew it or not, but I’m a real heavy deal.” Judges and attendees saw few missteps, however, when looking over Wier’s 2005 Peterbilt 379 flattop and 2008 Wilkens walking floor. Wier came away with four awards, including firsts in two categories, Best Peterbilt and Interior OEM Sleeper, plus the coveted People’s Choice Award.

This is the charcoal hauler’s first show and, he insists, his last. “We’re done, unless the show wants to come by our house,” Wier says. “It’s fun, but now we’ve got to go back to work.”


Pride & Polish Winners
BEST OF SHOW WORKING BOBTAIL
1992 Peterbilt 379, Isaac Aguilar of Sandvik Trucking

BEST OF SHOW WORKING COMBO
2007 Peterbilt 379 extended hood and 2007 Mac end dump, Brad Caton of Eilen & Sons Trucking

PEOPLE’S CHOICE
2005 Peterbilt 379 flattop and 2008 Wilkens walking floor, Terry Wier Jr.

WORKING BOBTAIL 1986-1999
1st: 1992 Peterbilt 379, Isaac Aguilar of Sandvik Trucking
2nd: 1993 Peterbilt 379, Ron Brubaker
3rd: 1986 Peterbilt 359, J.R. Wilson

WORKING BOBTAIL 2000-2003
1st: 2002 Peterbilt 379, Randy and Jona Rebillard
2nd: 2000 Freightliner Classic XL, Bob and Shelley Brinker
3rd: 2000 Freightliner Classic, Darlene Swift

WORKING BOBTAIL 2005 AND NEWER
1st: 2007 Freightliner Coronado, Edward Bosket
2nd: 2007 Peterbilt 379 flattop, Drennon Durham
3rd: 2005 Western Star Stratosphere, Bruce and Marilyn Barnes

BOBTAIL NEW UNDER 75,000 MILES
1st: 2007 Peterbilt 379, Josh Lyle of Taylor Transport
2nd: 2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy Edition extended hood, Glen Page
3rd: 2009 Peterbilt 389, Robbie Hale of Southern Transport

BOBTAIL SPECIALIZED
1st: 2006 Freightliner M2 112 Expediter, Lynn and Shelly Baxter of A&E Mann Trucking
2nd: 2007 Peterbilt 379, Jake Lindamood
3rd: 1998 Freightliner Classic wrecker, J.R. Galvan

COMPANY BOBTAIL
1st: 2007 International 9900ix, Curt Miller of J&R Schugel Trucking
2nd: 2008 Freightliner Cascadia, Lowell Wilderman of Schneider National
3rd (tie): 2007 Freightliner Century, Don Powell of Lisa Motor Lines
3rd (tie): 2006 Volvo VN670, Brad Colman, Knight Transportation

FIRST SHOW BOBTAIL
1st: Peterbilt 379, Jay Brian
2nd: 1986 Kenworth w900B, Stacie and Kenny Yeary
3rd: 1985 Peterbilt 359, Mike Harper

ANTIQUE BOBTAIL
1st: 1975 Peterbilt 359, Wade Wardlaw
2nd: 1967 Mack B61, Justin Smith of U.S. Truck Parts
3rd: 1959 Mack B75, Phillip Donaldson of U.S. Truck Parts

WORKING COMBO 2004 AND OLDER
1st: 2002 Peterbilt 379 and 2007 Great Dane reefer, Wayne Baker
2nd: 1999 Peterbilt 379 and 2005 Doonan stepdeck, Larry and Pat McCann
3rd: 1999 Peterbilt 379 and 2005 Wilson CF-900, Tommy Roach

WORKING COMBO 2005 AND NEWER
1st: 2008 Peterbilt 389 and 2008 Western curtain van, Justin Moore
2nd: 2007 Peterbilt 379 flattop and 2004 Great Dane SS reefer, James Caldwell of Muirhead Trucking
3rd: 2007 Western Star LoMax and 2001 Wabash spread-axle reefer, Les Sullivan

COMBO SPECIALIZED
1st: 2007 Peterbilt 379 extended hood and 2007 Mac end dump, Brad Caton of Eilen & Sons Trucking
2nd: 2005 Peterbilt 379 flattop and 2008 Wilkens walking floor, Terry Wier Jr.
3rd: 2004 Peterbilt 379 extended hood and trailer, Henry Hall

COMPANY COMBO
1st: 2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy edition and 2008 Utility trailer, Doug and Kim Fisher of Transport N Service
2nd: 2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy 630 and 2005 Great Dane SS reefer, Keith Bell of Muirhead Trucking
3rd: 2006 Peterbilt 379X 505 and 2000 Great Dane SS reefer, George Elosegui of Muirhead Trucking

LIMITED MILEAGE BOBTAIL
1st: 2001 Peterbilt 379 extended hood, Andy Gobel of Outlaw Customs
2nd: 1942 Autocar, Dale Blevins
3rd: 2007 Peterbilt 379, Ronnie Johnson of Witte Bros. Exchange
4th: 1987 Peterbilt 379, Lon and Lynn Sturgeon

LIMITED MILEAGE COMBO
1st: 1991 Mack Superliner and 2006 Great Dane Superseal, Jerry Kissinger
2nd: 2007 Peterbilt 379, Brad Johnson of Lindamood Demolition
3rd: 2008 Peterbilt 389, David Kosar Sr. of Rite-Way

INTERIOR, CAB ONLY
1st: 2001 Peterbilt 379 and 2001 Mac end dump, Brad Caton of Eilen & Sons Trucking
2nd: 2002 Peterbilt 379, Randy and Jona Rebillard
3rd: 2007 Peterbilt 379, Jake Lindamood

INTERIOR, OEM SLEEPER
1st: 2005 Peterbilt 379 flattop, Terry Wier Jr.
2nd: 2000 Freightliner Classic XL, Bob and Shelley Brinker
3rd: 2000 Freightliner Classic, Darlene Swift

INTERIOR, CUSTOM AFTERMARKET SLEEPER
1st (tie): 2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy edition, Doug and Kim Fisher of Transport N Service
1st (tie): 2006 Freightliner M2 112 Expediter, Lynn and Shelly Baxter of A&E Mann Trucking
2nd: 1999 Peterbilt 379, Larry and Pat McCann

MOBIL DELVAC ENGINE CLASS
1st: 1992 Peterbilt 379, Isaac Aguilar of Sandvik Trucking
2nd (tie): 2001 Peterbilt 379 and 2001 Mac end dump, Brad Caton of Eilen & Sons Trucking
2rd (tie): 2000 Freightliner Classic XL, Bob and Shelley Brinker
3rd: 1993 Peterbilt 379, Ron Brubaker

BOBTAIL CUSTOM PAINT AND GRAPHICS OR MURAL
1st: 2000 Freightliner Classic, Darlene Swift
2nd: 2000 Freightliner Classic XL, Bob and Shelley Brinker
3rd: 2005 Peterbilt 379, Tim Logan of Freymiller

COMBO CUSTOM PAINT AND GRAPHICS OR MURAL
1st: 2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy edition and 2008 Utility trailer, Doug and Kim Fisher of Transport N Service
2nd: 2007 Peterbilt 379 extended hood and 2007 Mac end dump, Brad Caton of Eilen & Sons Trucking
3rd: 2002 Peterbilt 379 and 2007 Great Dane reefer, Wayne Baker

MOBIL DELVAC BEST LIMITED MILEAGE TRUCK ENGINE (tie)
1991 Mack Superliner, Jerry Kissinger
2007 Peterbilt 379, Brad Johnson of
Lindamood Demolition

PRIDE & POLISH BEST LIMITED MILEAGE INTERIOR
2007 Peterbilt 379, Brad Johnson of
Lindamood Demolition

PRIDE & POLISH BEST LIMITED MILEAGE BOBTAIL PAINT
2001 Peterbilt 379 extended hood, Andy Gobel of Outlaw Customs

PRIDE & POLISH BEST LIMITED MILEAGE COMBO PAINT (tie)
1991 Mack Superliner and 2006 Great Dane Superseal, Jerry Kissinger
2007 Peterbilt 379, Brad Johnson of Lindamood Demolition

TRUK RODZ BEST THEME
2005 Peterbilt 379, Tim Logan, Freymiller, Inc.

ROADWORKS BEST USE OF CHROME OR STAINLESS
2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy Edition extended hood, Glen Page

FIRESTONE MOST TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED CAB
2000 Freightliner Classic, Darlene Swift

BEST PETERBILT
1st: 2005 Peterbilt 379 flattop and 2008 Wilkens walking floor, Terry Wier Jr.
2nd: 2002 Peterbilt 379 extended hood, Pete Zamora
3rd: 2007 Peterbilt 379, Jake Lindamood


2008 Pride & Polish Sponsors:
10-4 Magazine; 75-Chrome Shop; Alcoa Wheels Division; Arvin Meritor; Caterpillar; Firestone; Freightliner Trucks; Howes Lubricator Products; International Truck and Engine Corporation; Mobil Delvac; Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association; Overdrive’s Custom Rigs magazine; Panelite; Peterbilt; PPG; Randall-Reilly Publishing; Rockwood Products; Roadworks Manufacturing; SAF Holland; Transcraft; Truk Rodz by Jones Performance; United Pacific; and Volvo Trucks North America.

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