David and Allyson Geer weren’t sure they would make it to this year’s Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck beauty show. David, whose truck placed well and made the coveted SuperRigs calendar in 2001, says his 5-year-old grandson is sick with leukemia, and the couple considered skipping the event.
Now his grandson, who loves the Geer’s maroon Peterbilt 379, has something to
celebrate. The Geers took home top honors for their combination, Marooned, at the 20th Anniversary Rotella SuperRigs contest in Ontario, Calif. The award follows winning Overdrive’s 2001 Pride and Polish contest at the Great American Trucking Show.
The Geers received high marks at SuperRigs for the truck’s dramatic tropical beach vista, a mural David Geer had redone in early 2002. The old mural was elementary school, David says. “This is graduate school.”
Truckers took home more than $20,000 in cash and prizes at the contest, held at the Ontario East TravelCenters of America. Trucks were scored on exterior appearance, design, detail and workmanship.
Contestants were also eligible for inclusion in the Shell Rotella SuperRigs 2003 calendar. The calendar features trucks in environments that complement their design. Trucks arrived early for the show in hopes of being picked.
Donnie and Diana Harper, whose Enduring Freedom finished second overall, made the calendar. “We’ve gotten millions of comments,” Donnie says of the truck’s patriotic theme. “It’s dangerous when we’re parked at fuel islands. Truckers will slam on their brakes to look at the truck.”
The Pete 379 commemorates Sept. 11 with images of the World Trade Center and a mural of Rudolph Giuliani and George W. Bush.
“We’d been designing this truck for a year when it happened,” Diana said. “We had to do something to commemorate the event.” So the couple mixed the 9-11 images with a wildcat theme they had planned. It shows predatory cats that, thanks to a holographic effect, appear to be slinking through the paint.
Donnie and Diana Harper’s Enduring Freedom finished second, but was voted best by other contestants.
The couple picked up the truck around Thanksgiving and already have nearly 100,000 miles on it – emblematic of the show’s core theme. SuperRigs is only open to working trucks.
Bill Pierce had his classic Pete shot for the calendar at a minor league ballpark in nearby San Bernadino, Calif. “I’m wound up like an eight-hour clock,” says Pierce, who was born in Cooperstown, N.Y., birthplace of baseball. “It was a perfect choice.”
Pierce, whose truck won first in the classic category, now lives in San Diego, where he hauls heavy equipment with his crimson daycab. Pierce took the 1.5-million-mile 1986 Peterbilt apart, and a friend helped him restore it and put it back together. He’s put nearly $60,000 into the single-drive-axle truck, which he’s had for five years.
Other contestants entered their trucks with hopes of winning but with an eye toward fun, as well. Glen Coonan entered his unusual truck, a 1979 International 4070B. An Aussie by birth, Coonan added a Kangaroo guard common on Australia’s road trains. Originally a green cabover sleeper with a single drive axle, the International now has two additional green sleepers strung together and three drive axles with singles. The truck looks alien and intimidating from the outside, but downright cozy inside. The leather-clad interior includes a homemade baby bed that doubles as a loveseat when Coonan’s 2-year-old son Sebastian isn’t on the road with him.
Coonan, who hauls for trade shows, says he found the sleepers in a junkyard and restored and painted them for a fraction of what he would have paid for a custom job. “I like to take things people don’t want any more and make them work,” he says. “Not bad for a backyard build?”
Bob Hay also entered one of his family’s daycabs, a 2000 Peterbilt. The truck, which belongs to the family’s quarry business, Bed Rock Inc., in Point Arena, Calif., placed in the combination category.
“It was pretty plain when we bought it,” he says. “It looked like a Safeway truck.” But now the dark red truck features a corporate mural and a matching dropdeck trailer, which Hay sandblasted and restored, complete with polished wooden floor boards. He uses a rubber conveyer belt to cover the boards when hauling heavy equipment.
Each entrant received a $50 value gift package of Shell products, including oil, extended-life coolant and a diesel fuel additive. Entrants also received prizes ranging from music CDs to satellite radio systems.
Bill Pierce’s Boss Hog took first place classic.
Shell SuperRigs Winners:
BEST OF SHOW
1st David and Allyson Geer; Oklahoma City, Okla.; 1998 Peterbilt 379; tractor-trailer
2nd Donnie and Diana Harper; Somerset, Ky.; 2002 Peterbilt 379; tractor
3rd William Sandvik; Valley Center, Calif.; 1992 Peterbilt 379; tractor-trailer
1stTod Job; Jefferson City, Mo.; 1996 Peterbilt 379
2nd Donald Goulet; Lakeland, Fla.; 2000 Kenworth W900L
3rd Bed Rock Inc.; Point Arena, Calif.; 2000 Peterbilt 379
4th Rick Walker; Denver; 1953 Peterbilt 411
5th Keith Bell; Arp, Texas; 2002 Peterbilt 379
1st Bill Pierce; Poway, Calif.; 1986 Peterbilt 359
2nd Trees Forever Pipe and Equipment; Brownwood, Texas; 1986 Peterbilt 359
3rd Ron Kelsey; Peoria, Ariz.; 1981 Peterbilt 329
4th Robert Keffer; Ventura, Calif.; 1983 Peterbilt 362 cabover
5th Earl Hogan; Columbus, Ga.; 1955 Peterbilt 332
1st Jerry, Tim and Allan Asbury; Dayton, Ohio; Kenworth W900L
2nd Darian Stephens; Hereford, Pa.; 1995 Freightliner Classic XL132
3rd Chuck Prigge; Valley Center, Calif.; 1996 Peterbilt 379
4th A.J. Leonhard; Byron, Ill.; 2000 Peterbilt 379
5th Jeff Hillyer; Minerva, Ohio; 2002 Kenworth W900L
See slideshows of each contestant from each day of the Shell SuperRigs contest!