Pride and Joy

| December 12, 2008

2003 PRIDE & POLISH WINNERS

See a slideshow of participants and winners.

BEST OF SHOW BOBTAIL
1986 Peterbilt 359 – Tim Thornhill

BEST OF SHOW COMBO
2003 Peterbilt 379 – Eilen & Sons Trucking/Brad Caton

ANTIQUE
(1st) 1953 Peterbilt 350-A – Western Distributing/Rick Walker
(2nd) 1976 Kenworth W900 – Russell Perillo
(3rd) 1966 Peterbilt 351 – 4 State Trucks Inc./Bryan Martin

BOBTAIL 1980-1991
(1st) 1988 Peterbilt 379 – Neal & Barbara Holsomback
(2nd) 1986 Peterbilt 359 – Tim Thornhill
(3rd) 1980 Kenworth W900 – Smith Specialized Heavy Hauling/John Smith

BOBTAIL 1992-1999
(1st) 1997 Peterbilt 379 – Garza Brothers Inc./Victor Garza
(2nd) 1994 Peterbilt 379 – Ken Wood/Al Bowers
(3rd) 1998 Peterbilt 379 – Mike & Ruth Knezevich

BOBTAIL 2000+
(1st) 2002 Kenworth W900L – Todd Stockman
(2nd) 2000 Kenworth W900 - Rick Sladek
(3rd) 2000 Peterbilt 379 – Jerry Melton

COMBO 1992-1999
(1st) 1997 Kenworth W900L – Mike McLane/Mike Haertling
(2nd) 1998 Peterbilt 379 – Calvin & Ellen Long
(3rd) 1997 Volvo – Kats Transportation/Robert & Nancy Kapitan

COMBO 2000+
(1st) 2000 Freightliner Century – Conwell Corp./Darrell Caldwell
(2nd)* 2003 Peterbilt 379 – Muirhead Trucking/Greg Stanley
(2nd)* 2000 Peterbilt 387 – All-Pro Moving & Transfer/Harry Tibbs
(3rd) 2002 Peterbilt 379 – Muirhead Trucking/George Elosegui

CUSTOM PAINT MURAL
(1st) 2003 International 9900ix – Harvey & Karen Zander
(2nd) 2003 Peterbilt 379 – Eilen & Sons Trucking/Brad Caton
(3rd) 2002 Peterbilt 378 – ABC Wrecker Service/Kelby Hubbard

CUSTOM PAINT NON-MURAL
(1st) 2003 Peterbilt 379 – Jake Eilen Trucking
(2nd) 2000 Kenworth W900L – Frankie & Renee Story
(3rd) 1992 Peterbilt 379 – Joel Brantley

FLEET-OWNED BOBTAIL
(1st) 1996 Peterbilt 379 – David Kosar
(2nd) 2001 Peterbilt 379 – Billy Hopkins/Gary Wright
(3rd) 1986 Peterbilt 359 – J&C Investments/Jeff Hardage

FLEET-OWNED COMBO
(1st) 2000 Peterbilt 379 – Billy Hopkins
(2nd) 2002 Kenworth W900L – Muirhead Trucking/William Vitellaro
(3rd) 2003 Kenworth W900L – Muirhead Trucking/Gary McCall

SPECIALTY
(1st) 2004 Tow Truck – Goode Towing & Recovery/David Goode
(2nd) 2001 Peterbilt 379 – Steve Vidrine
(3rd) 1990 Peterbilt 379 – Bill Culver

COMBO 1977-1983
(1st)* 1978 Kenworth W900L – Tri State Commodities/Keith Bothwell

OEM SLEEPER
(1st)* 2002 Kenworth W900L – Todd Stockman
(1st)* 1966 Peterbilt 351 – 4 State Trucks Inc./Bryan Martin
(2nd) 2000 Freightliner Classic – Floyd Trucking/Stacy Dowdy
(3rd) 1953 Peterbilt 350-A – Western Distributing/Rick Walker

Custom Aftermarket Sleeper
(1st) 2000 Kenworth W900L – Frankie & Renee Story
(2nd)* 1991 Western Star – Doug Downing/Larry Beggs
(2nd)* 1999 Peterbilt 379 – John Ray

EXCLUDING SLEEPER
(1st) 2003 Peterbilt 379 – Jake Eilen Trucking
(2nd) 2003 Peterbilt 379 – Eilen & Sons Trucking/Brad Caton
(3rd) 2000 Peterbilt 379 – Billy Hopkins

ENGINE
(1st) 1986 Peterbilt 359 Tim Thornhill
(2nd)* 2000 Kenworth W900L – Frankie & Renee Story
(2nd)* 2003 International 9900ix – Harvey & Karen Zander
(3rd) 1978 Kenworth W900L – Tri State Commodities/Keith Bothwelll

BRIDGESTONE- FIRESTONE TECHNOLOGY
(1st) 2004 Peterbilt 379 – Goode Towing & Recovery/David Goode
(2nd) 1998 Peterbilt 379 – Mike & Ruth Knezevich
(3rd) 2000 Peterbilt 379 – Jerry Melton

CHEVRON CHROME CORNER
EXTERIOR 2002 Kenworth W900L – Todd Stockman
INTERIOR 2000 Peterbilt 379 – Billy Hopkins
ENGINE* 1988 Peterbilt 379 – Neal & Barbara Holsomback
ENGINE* 1986 Peterbilt 359 – Tim Thornhill
OVERALL 1997 Kenworth W900L – Mike McLane/Mike Haertling

PETERBILT BEST OF SHOW
(1st) 2001 Peterbilt 379 – Steve Vidrine
(2nd) 1988 Peterbilt 379 – Neal & Barbara Holsomback
(3rd) 1992 Peterbilt 379 – Joel Brantley

PARTICIPANT’S CHOICE*
*1997 Kenworth W900L – Mike McLane/Mike Haertling
*1992 Peterbilt 379 – Joel Brantley

CHARITY’S CHOICE
2004 Peterbilt 379 – Goode Towing & Recovery/David Goode

Tim Thornhill, with his 1986 Peterbilt 359, (right) took Best of Show Bobtail and three other awards, and Brad Caton won Best of Show Combo and two other awards with a 2003 Peterbilt 379, owned by Eilen & Sons Trucking.

“You just have to love it,” says Billy Hopkins of Kaufmann, Texas. “Most things have to come second to this. Every time I pull in a truck stop, I wipe it down, and guys will go in and eat and come out before I even finish and go in to eat.”

Hopkins’ love of his 2001 Peterbilt 379 paid off with four awards, including the Chevron Chrome Corner Interior award, at the Pride & Polish truck beauty contest at the Great American Trucking Show. Many of the show’s 40,000 visitors, who enjoyed the 49 gleaming trucks under the bright lights of the Dallas Convention Center, also couldn’t help but notice the owners hard at work, adding last-minute shines to every square inch of paint and chrome.

“I don’t do this because I’m vain. I take pride in what I do, and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had,” Hopkins says.

“I started putting lights on it the day I brought it home,” says Hopkins, who has been driving for 22 years. “And it sat in the driveway for about two months while I put all of the stuff on it before I’d even take it out on the road.”

“You can’t put a price on it,” says Joel Brantley of his 1992 Peterbilt 379, which took home third place in the Custom Paint, Non-Mural category. “If you win, it’s great, but we’ve had a lot of fun, and it’s mainly about having good, clean fun,” Brantley says. This is Brantley’s first time to show the truck he calls Eleanor, which has 1.2 million miles. “I always wanted to build something.”

Hopkins, a close friend of Brantley’s, helped with a lot of the handiwork on the truck. “We did all the checkerboard paint by hand; we stretched the wheel base, lowered it, put in hardwood floors, did a lot of stainless work and replaced the windows with solid ones,” Brantley says. “If it weren’t for Billy, I wouldn’t have this truck like it is.”

Mike McLane of Poplar Bluff, Mo., also does a lot of the work by hand on his red and white 1997 Kenworth W900L, which won the Participant’s Choice award. “We try to be a little different, so we always see what we can come up with between our ears,” McLane says. “And the Participant’s Choice award meant more than anything we’ve ever done, because they work just as hard as we do.”

Calvin Long of Ponder, Texas, says it’s also very important to have someone who’s willing to put up with your commitment to having a show truck. “I never dreamed I would ever have anything nice enough to even be in a competition like this,” says Long, whose red 1998 Peterbilt 379 took second place in the Combo 1992-1999 category. It was Long’s first competition. “I couldn’t have done it had my wife Ellen not been so supportive.”

And it truly is a commitment, because even if you have a truck the way you want it, it is never completely finished.

“I had a new hood made, but we couldn’t find the original painter who could match up the checkerboarding on the hood with the back fenders, so we just redid all the murals on the truck so they would match,” says Frank Story, whose 2000 Kenworth W900 won second place in the Custom Paint, Non-Mural category.

Tim Thornhill, who won four trophies, including Best of Show Bobtail and Engine, with his 1986 Peterbilt 359, had to replace his engine a few weeks before the show. “We were hauling a load of cattle, and the engine blew up,” Thornhill says. “I had another one that we had rebuilt for another truck, so we painted it to match the truck and put it in there, and people flipped over it.”

Bob and Nancy Kapitan of Wills Point, Texas, had the paint and Sept. 11 mural redone on their blue 1997 Volvo since last year’s Pride & Polish show. “This one looks a lot better. There is so much depth to the faces of the firemen, and the flag just seems to jump out at you,” Bob Kapitan says.

The Garza Brothers of Houston couldn’t resist changing a few things on their red and black 1997 Peterbilt 379, even though it won an award at last year’s show. This year it won first place in the Bobtail 1992-1999 category. “We added chrome to our motor, changed the stacks, lowered it, and we still want to add even more chrome to the motor, do some in-cab woodwork and work on the sleeper,” says Victor Garza.

“You never really finish it,” says Hopkins. “You constantly think about what else you can do to it, and there’s always new things coming out to put on it.”

“It’s getting tougher and tougher to win,” Thornhill says. “But I have a few ideas about things I want to do for next year.”

And there’s always the task of keeping it clean while it’s working.

David Goode of Goode Towing and Recovery in Killeen, Texas, has a yellow and purple 2004 Peterbilt 379 50-ton wrecker named Goliath, which won the Charity’s Choice award and Bridgestone/Firestone’s Most Technologically Advanced Cab award. It didn’t take quite as long as it could have to get his truck in tip-top condition because it is brand new, but it’s already had its share of dirty days. “With a wrecker call, there’s no telling what I’m going to get into,” says Goode. “You have to get down in the mud a lot, and if the truck’s wrecked, it will probably be leaking oil all over everything.”

“We haul a lot of garbage into landfills,” says Jake Eilen of Hampton, Minn. “And we haul gravel and paving materials, so it’s not a matter of if the trucks will get scratched, but how badly.” Eilen’s black 2003 Peterbilt 379 with orange flames took first in the Custom Paint, Non-Mural category.

“I love Harleys so much, and it matches my 2003 Harley Fat Boy, and I just got a new pickup, and it’s at the paint shop getting flames,” he says. Eilen says that even though there are some trucks out there that may be similar to his with the black truck and orange flames, “It’s not like anybody else’s because we do all the stainless ourselves in the shop.”

Another flame-adorned 2003 Peterbilt 379 won Best of Show Combo. Brad Caton, who drives for Jake Eilen’s father’s business, Eilen & Sons Trucking, and also hauls bulk gravel, coal and garbage, has the truck washed two or three times a week and polishes it every other week, if not every week. “Everyone sees how good it looks going down the road, and that reflects on the company,” he says. “It’s pretty funny when people say, ‘You don’t work that truck.’”

One of the judges, Pepper Stone, says that to be chosen as the best truck in the show, a truck has to be almost immaculate. “There can’t be any scratches, fading, rust or dents,” Stone says. “Even a small dent on something like a gas tank can keep you from being the top truck.”

George Elosegui of Mabank, Texas, who drives a 2002 Peterbilt 379 owned by Muirhead Trucking, has helped put more than 250,000 miles on the 2-year-old truck. “It’s on the road all the time, and that really makes it hard not to get nicks and scratches,” Elosegui says. But Elosegui still managed to take home a third-place trophy in the Combo 2000-Newer category.

But going through the trouble of always cleaning and adding details has its rewards that will outshine a trophy any day.

“Everybody’s concept is that wreckers are pieces of junk,” says Goode. “So I make my wreckers look good because it says to a lot of people that if I take care of my truck, I’ll take care of theirs.”


PRIDE & POLISH SPONSORS

The sponsors of Overdrive’s 2003 Pride & Polish are Peterbilt Motors Co., Chevron Delo, Bridgestone/Firestone, Freightliner Trucks and Pilot Travel Centers.

Bridgestone gave away a set of steer tires to the winner of its Most Technologically Advance Cab award, and other prizes. Peterbilt gave a year’s worth of free Truck Care Preventive Maintenance service. Chevron Chrome Corner winners received a trophy and a jacket. Freightliner provided breakfast and lunch, and Pilot provided fuel cards for participants. Money raised through the Charity’s Choice category will go to Trucker Buddy.


BORN-AGAIN CABS

Who says cab interiors have to be boring? Definitely not six teams of designers who turned ordinary cabs into colorful, thematic living spaces in a new competition at the Great American Trucking Show.

When it came to award time for the Freightliner Big Rig Redo, NASCAR ruled the day. Ryan, Becky and Seth Curle’s NASCAR-themed cab took two of the three trophies: Best Use of Budget and Best Use of Theme. James and Barbara Caldwell’s Harley-Davidson-themed rig claimed the trophy for Most Creative.

Six Freightliner owners were selected to receive a complete cab interior makeover in the contest. Each driver chose a theme, and students from the Art Institute of Dallas were given a week to come up with a design. The finalists and their design teams received a Freightliner cap, a pair of Cat boots and other prizes.

The other four drivers and their themes were: Phillip Butler, Route 66; Keith Garrett, Western/ Native American; Desmond Rafeek, Space; and Charles and Alexa Huggins, Log Cabin.


See a slideshow of participants and winners.

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