Two to Tango

| July 09, 2005

Russ and Debbie Brown

It’s no accident that many of the Pride & Polish entrants are teams. Preparing a truck for show requires countless hours of tedious labor, so it’s good to have the extra hands, as well as someone to pass the time with. And some couples find that each person contributes in ways that complement the other’s talents.

Russ and Debbie Brown, who have won at Pride and Polish with three different trucks, work closely as a team when designing a new show-worthy rig. Typically, Russ is in charge of the outside and Debbie the inside. “She has good color coordination,” Russ says.

Debbie also has a good sense of what works and what is over the top. When they were designing their current rig, a 1999 Freightliner Classic with a Harley-Davidson theme, Russ marked the parts of the frame and body that he wanted to paint orange. Debbie came behind him at the shop and ripped off half the tape. “The shop people cheered,” chuckles Debbie. “He has great ideas, but he goes too far sometimes and needs to be toned back.”

The best-in-show partnership is ready to tackle the next project after the 2005 Pride and Polish at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. The truck, which will be the couple’s seventh tractor – and possibly their last – will be new and larger than their current ride, and that has Debbie already thinking of the possibilities.

Whatever she plans for the inside will fit his exterior concept, Russ says. “She’s the yin to my yang.”

When Rusty Wyrick and his partner Tina Lomax, of Mansfield, Ohio, entered their first show together, they agreed the truck needed cleaning after driving through a horrible rain. They just lacked a plan for dividing the work. “We both just started cleaning,” Tina says.

Over time they have gotten more organized. “We’ve developed our favorite areas to clean,” she says. “We’ve actually had people tell us we have a pretty good system.”

Rusty and Tina now wash and polish their truck, French Quarters, regularly after a day of driving, he says. “It’s also our way of unwinding at the end of the day,” Tina says. “It beats watching television.”

French Quarters, is a reincarnation of the familiar show truck Gone with the Wind. “We took it down to the frame and had it gutted and rewired,” Rusty says.

Tina hadn’t come into the picture when Rusty was designing the truck, but has since participated in new ideas for the interior. “We come up with new things for each show,” she says. For example, they’ve added more than 600 chrome button covers.

That sort of attention to detail is one trait they share. “If we were in The Odd Couple,” Tina says of the classic comedy, “we’d be Mr. and Mrs. Felix Unger because we’re both very picky about how the truck looks.”

For Harvey and Karen Zander, showing their truck as a team is another dimension of an industry involvement that extends far beyond cashing a settlement check.

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