Pride Inside

David Geer, standing by his 1998 Peterbilt, Marooned, chokes back tears. He talks about his grandson Dominick Geer, who has leukemia and lives in Florida. Geer takes him the trophies he wins and copies of magazine articles about his truck.

“He’s doing OK,” says Geer, of Fruitdale, Texas. “I love you, Dominick, and I hope you’re well soon. Papa loves you.”

After Overdrive magazine’s first Pride & Polish show to be held indoors at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Geer has an armload of glistening trophies to take to Dominick.

Geer won Best of Show, Combination; first place, Combination 1995-1998; second place, Interior Custom Aftermarket Sleeper; and first place, AT&T’s Most Technologically Advanced Truck.

The contestants, who entered 10 combinations and 19 bobtails, say they enjoyed being inside the air-conditioned building, where they escaped occasional rain and late-summer heat. They also had no problems keeping their trucks clean.

Truck show veteran Darian Stephens of Hereford, Pa., spent the past winter adding chrome and stainless steel and repainting his truck. The hard work and expense paid off for Stephens, who won Best of Show Bobtail, for his orchid metallic 1995 Freightliner, Keystone J.R.

“I thought Justin Thornhill would win, so it had to be close,” Stephens says. “I’ve never won Best of Show in Dallas, so it feels good to win.”

Stephens also took home trophies for first place, Bobtail 1995-1997, and second place in engine. Stephens added 7-inch, straight exhaust pipes and WTI full fenders. He also added a chrome oil pan, water pump and oil cooler to his engine and chrome support brackets, steering and radiator tanks. The truck now sports a stainless steel and diamond deck plate on a hinge and stainless steel air tanks. He repainted his truck with a checkered theme and painted part of his engine purple.

Chevron’s Chrome Corner award for engine and undercarriage and overall truck beauty went to Stephens.

“The engine is what I take most pride in,” he says. “There’s not many who go to this extreme with their engine, so I’m pleased when I win. I worked hard on my chrome and engine this winter. This is cool.”

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There was a tie between Curtis Stoltz of Myerstown, Pa., and Rhonda and Norman Pike of Denham Springs, La., for the Participant’s Choice award. The contestants say they are proud to share.

Stoltz shows a purple 2001 Peterbilt, Sammy’s Limo, named after his cocker spaniel, Sammy. He usually brings Sammy to truck shows but not this time, unsure he’d be welcome inside the Dallas Convention Center.

“I’m enjoying the Participant’s Choice award,” Stoltz says. “It’s very valuable to me because it tells me my peers appreciate my truck. It’s a hard decision for them to make.”

Other awards Stoltz won were second place, AT&T’s Most Technologically Advanced Truck; second place, Bobtail 2000-2001; third place, Engine; third place, Interior OEM Sleeper; and second place, Peterbilt’s Council of Class.

“Winning the Peterbilt award is good because it’s hard to win that one,” he says. “I’ve improved and won more trophies this year, but I still have a way to go. You don’t become a professional truck driver overnight, so I can’t become best at this overnight either.”

Rhonda and Norman Pike show their bronze and midnight metallic mist 1998 Peterbilt, Ole Rag. This was their second year to show at GATS, but the first year they took home only one trophy.

“I’m happy, tickled and surprised,” she says. “We never dreamed of this. That the others think so much of our truck means a lot.”

The Pikes also won first place Bobtail 1998-1999; third place, Interior Excluding Sleeper; and first place in Peterbilt’s Council of Class.

“Winning the Peterbilt award is something to brag about,” she says. “We’ve improved our truck over the past three years and plan to be back again.”

This was the third year for Mike Ladd of Muskogee, Okla., to show at GATS. The first and second year he took home a few trophies, but this year his total was five: first place, Bobtail 1986-1988; first place, Interior OEM Sleeper; third place in Peterbilt’s Council of Class; and the External and Internal awards for Chevron’s Chrome Corner.

“It feels really good to be winning more trophies,” he says. “You get discouraged, but when you win, it makes it all worthwhile. I’m always just as happy for the others that win as for myself. There are good people out here showing trucks.”

Darian Stephens won Best of Show Bobtail, first place Bobtail 1995-1997, second place Engine and Chevron Chrome Corner’s Engine and Overall awards.

Island dreams

David Geer drives Marooned, a maroon 1998 Peterbilt 379 with a 1998 Utility reefer. Geer took the original sleeper off the tractor and added a new sleeper made by Indiana
Custom Trucks of LaGrange, Ind.

Geer was sitting on the beach, thinking about his truck, when “marooned” popped into his head. He painted the truck maroon and added a mural of a deserted island and a palm tree.

“It’s mine, and I love it,” he says. “People have actually told me where they were when they saw my truck because they take pictures to remember. It leaves a lasting impression.”

Inside his sleeper are a full-size bed, sink, hot and cold water, flat-screen color television, DVD player, CD player with surround sound, microwave, refrigerator-freezer, hardwood floors, neon lights and a digital alarm clock. On the rear of the sleeper is a window with a neon palm tree and the name of the truck. Inside his cab are hardwood floors, stainless steel map holders, a stainless steel header and a short gear shifter.

Curtis Stoltz snagged six awards, including a tie for Participant’s Choice, with his purple 2001 Peterbilt 379, Sammy’s Limo.

Sponsors for Pride & Polish were AT&T, Caterpillar, Chevron, Peterbilt, Bridgestone/Firestone and WBAP radio.

All first place winners and Best of Show winners won cash prizes, and the Best of Show Combination winner won a set of steer tires from Bridgestone/Firestone. AT&T gave a 300-minute prepaid calling card to its third place winner, a 500-minute calling card to its second place winner and a 1,000-minute calling card to its first place winner.

The third place winner in Peterbilt’s Council of Class won two free oil changes. The second place winner won four free oil changes. The first place winner won six free oil changes.

Each winner in Chevron’s Chrome Corner contest won a cash prize, a case of oil, a Chevron model tractor-trailer and a Chevron jacket.