Pride & Polish: All That Glitters

It might seem odd that the winner of the Best of Show Bobtail award at the 2002 Overdrive Pride & Polish truck beauty contest is named Ole Rag by owners Norman and Rhonda Pike of Denham Springs, La.

“When we’d come home, and the truck was dirty, I’d say that I needed to go wash that old raggedy truck,” says Norman Pike, who with his wife is leased to Landstar Ranger. “The name just stuck, and now everyone says, ‘I wouldn’t mind driving that old raggedy truck.'”

But the Pikes think they’ll keep their truck and doubt that they will ever have another. “I can’t imagine starting over,” Rhonda Pike says. The two have been working for almost four years to get it like it is, with a little help from a friend. Richard Prince of DOC Fenders & Accessories works with Norman to dream up and design new additions to the Midnight Metallic Mist-colored 1998 Peterbilt 379. “We put things on piece by piece, and we’re forever doing something different,” she says. “It’s a never-ending story.”

The most recent chapter in that story has a happy ending. They walked away from the Pride & Polish competition at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas with seven awards: Best of Show Bobtail, First Conventional Bobtail 1998-1999, First Engine, First Peterbilt Council of Class, Chevron Chrome Corner Overall (tied with Russ and Debbie Brown), Chevron Chrome Corner Exterior, and Second Interior OEM Sleeper (tied with Frankie Story).

The Best of Show Combination award went to Neal and Barbara Holsomback, of Sugar Valley, Ga., and their 1988 Peterbilt 379 Plum Classy. The Holsombacks also won First Conventional Combination 1988-Newer and the Chevron Chrome Corner Engine award. Plum Classy is no stranger to winning awards, having graced the May 2000 cover of Overdrive with its Best of Show Combination award at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

The truck was in an accident in June, so the Holsombacks decided to make some changes. “We were going to paint the fenders and the top anyway, so we decided to go ahead and paint the whole thing,” says Neal Holsomback. Neal attributes a lot of the truck’s success to Victor Verret, who also owns a show truck, a 1994 Kenworth W900 named Blew By U. “Everything on that truck is the way it is because of him,” says Holsomback. “I would have run out of ideas by now.” Even when the Holsombacks and Verret entered the same competition, they helped each other out, but they’ve found a new way to compete. “If he wants to show his truck in a show, we both work on it, and if we want to show our truck, then he helps us show ours. He’s like a son to us, and there’s no reason to compete against each other,” Holsomback says.

Even though the competition tends to be friendly, none of the entrants slack off when preparing. Bill Culver, of Paris, Ark., says he spent about six hours washing and 18 hours polishing his trailer alone. He did a little here and a little there, but it still took him another week to get the tractor ready. “It’s definitely a labor of love, and you have to want to do it to succeed,” says Culver, who won First Specialty with his yellow and orange 1990 Peterbilt 379, Tonight We Ride. “You have to make time for the details, and I don’t think you can ever find a stopping point,” he says.

Culver says he tends to focus on his tires and wheels. “I’m pretty fanatical about black tires and clean wheels,” he says. “You can have the best looking, cleanest truck out there, but if your wheels are dirty, you’re not finished.”

The whole Schmitz family -John, Mary Jo, Rachelle, 19, Stephanie, 17, Mary Elizabeth, 8, and Katie, 4 – worked all week to ready their 2000 Peterbilt 379, Saddle Up. “The night before the judging, we stayed up all night cleaning and polishing,” Rachelle Schmitz says.

Norman Pike says he usually spends a day and a half with a pressure washer and degreaser just to clean underneath the truck. “But this time, the Peterbilt dealer let me hoist it up so I could stand up and clean instead of lying on my back, which made it a lot easier,” he says.

Bart Phillips, a first-time truck beauty show participant, says he learned a lot from the other participants. “There’s so much more that I could have done,” says Phillips, who drives his 1997 Freightliner FLD, named Bartman, for Allied Van Lines. “I didn’t even think about painting the letters on the tires, and I thought about buying a fifth wheel cover, but I didn’t do it. Now, I’m kicking myself.”

Owen Free Jr., a Smithway Motor Xpress driver, was also a first-time participant. He showed a fleet-owned vehicle, although he hopes to own it one day. “I pay for all the stuff I put on the truck,” he says. “But once the mileage gets to a certain point the company offers the driver the chance to buy it, so I see it as an investment,” says Free, who won First in Fleet-Owned Bobtail.

Judy and Jerry Reese of Statesville, N.C., own this year’s winner of Interior Aftermarket Sleeper, a 2001 Kenworth W900 named My Last Dream, which also won Third Conventional Combination 1988-Newer. The Reeses take a different approach to adding chrome and other fancies to their truck.

“We market products and services for companies, and they pay us and give us the equipment,” Jerry Reese says. “And during the year we’ll also turn our trailer into a rolling billboard.” They designed their Double Eagle sleeper after a sample they saw at a truck show, making only a few changes. “We got a little bigger shower because I’m a big guy, and I need plenty of room to move,” he says.

Another impressive interior belonged to Russ and Debbie Brown, who own a purple and white 1999 Kenworth W900 named Razors Edge. It was on an Overdrive cover after winning the 1999 Pride & Polish at Mid-America.

The Browns won First Interior OEM Sleeper and the Chevron Chrome Corner Interior awards in addition to Second Conventional Bobtail 1998-1999, Third Engine and a tie with the Pikes for the Chevron Chrome Corner Overall award. “The interior is one part of the truck I’m particularly proud of,” Debbie Brown says. “I’ve had men go and get their wives to come look at my lace curtains.” She says her daughters Tracey and Tifany have helped a lot with the interior decoration, but part of her success is being lucky enough to find a certain piece that ties it all together. “I searched forever for a quilt that matched exactly, and I had almost given up, but we went to one store – I won’t tell which store because that’s my secret – and I finally found one that matched perfectly,” she says.

One truck at the show, a 2002 Peterbilt 378 named American Pride, has an American Flag paint scheme. Twelve more trucks are painted exactly like it in the 13-truck fleet of ABC Wrecker in Fort Worth, Texas. “We actually started the flag theme in 1995,” says Kelby Hubbard. “And we’re in the process of tracking down a 1972 Kenworth W900 to add into the fleet. The company sold it a while back, and we want to buy it back and restore it just for truck shows.”

Another Pride & Polish truck that has been restored is Sam Watson’s Rainbow, a 1974 Kenworth W900. “When we got it in 1989, it was road worthy, but barely,” says Eddie Watson, Sam’s 24-year-old son who helps him show the truck. As for its retro color scheme, “Rainbow was a second truck that was painted to match another truck, but 10 years ago, the Freightliner burned to the ground, and we just decided to leave it the same,” says Eddie Watson, who is working on getting his commercial driver license. “We’ve trophied about 100 times, and we have five Best of Shows this year.” Rainbow drove away with Participant’s Choice, First Antique Working Truck, First Interior Excluding Sleeper and a tie for Second in the Engine category.

Competing against the best of the best requires investing the time and money to stand out, to do a little bit more than you did at the last show. No doubt many of the 2002 participants have started laying plans for next September, when Pride & Polish returns to the Dallas Convention Center. As first-time contender Phillips says, “You bet I’ll be doing a lot more for my next show.”


Norman and Rhonda Pike, with their 1998 Peterbilt 379 Ole Rag, walked away with seven awards, including Best of Show Bobtail and 1st Engine.


To see a slideshow of this year’s Pride & Polish participants click here.

BEST OF SHOW BOBTAIL
Norman & Rhonda Pike
1998 Peterbilt 379
Ole Rag

BEST OF SHOW COMBINATION
Neal & Barb Holsomback
1988 Peterbilt 379
Plum Classy

ENGINE
1st Norman & Rhonda Pike
1998 Peterbilt 379
Ole Rag

2nd Sam Watson
1974 Kenworth W900
Rainbow

2nd Justin & Tim Thornhill
1986 Peterbilt 359
Brutus

3rd Russ & Debbie Brown
1999 Kenworth W900
Razors Edge

CONVENTIONAL COMBINATION 1988-NEWER
1st Neal & Barb Holsomback
1988 Peterbilt 379
Plum Classy

2nd Steve Vidrine
2001 Peterbilt 379
Tiger Fan

3rd Judy & Jerry Reese
2001 Kenworth W900
My Last Dream

FLEET-OWNED COMBINATION
1st James Thomas
2001 Freightliner Century
Men’s Wearhouse

2nd Chris Cribb
1996 Kenwoth T600
Stylin & Profilin

2nd Billy Hopkins
2000 Peterbilt 379
Rocking H

CONVENTIONAL BOBTAIL 2000-NEWER
1st Stanley Fudge
2002 International 9900i

2nd Darrell Caldwell
2002 Freightliner Century
Just In Time

3rd Landry Dunsing
2000 Kenworth W900
Big Boy’s Toy

CONVENTIONAL BOBTAIL 1998-1999
1st Norman & Rhonda Pike
1998 Peterbilt 379
Ole Rag

2nd Russ & Debbie Brown
1999 Kenworth W900
Razors Edge

3rd Gary Willbanks
1999 Freightliner Classic XL
Memoir Take Two

CONVENTIONAL BOBTAIL 1996-1997
1st Victor Garza
1997 Peterbilt 379
Caspers Cust.Cruiser

2nd Bob & Nancy Kapitan
1997 Volvo
Kats R Jammin

3rd Carl Andrioff
1997 Freightliner FLD
Rocket Ship

CONVENTIONAL BOBTAIL 1984-1991
1st Justin & Tim Thornhill
1986 Peterbilt 359
Brutus

FLEET-OWNED BOBTAIL
1st Owen Free Jr.
2001 Peterbilt 379
Pride of Texas

2nd Gary Wright
2001 Peterbilt 379
Barney

SPECIALTY CLASS
1st Bill Culver
1990 Peterbilt 379
Tonight We Ride

2nd Gary Mitchell
2003 Peterbilt 379
Ole Gray

SPECIALTY CLASS TOW TRUCK
1st Kelby Hubbard
2002 Peterbilt 378
American Pride

2nd Kenneth Mullins
1992 Freightliner FLD
Big Dog

ANTIQUE WORKING
1st Sam Watson
1974 Kenworth W900
Rainbow

2nd Rick Walker
1953 Peterbilt 350
MisBehaving

3rd Doug Day
1955 Peterbilt 351
Lucy

INTERIOR EXCLUDING SLEEPER
1st Sam Watson
1974 Kenworth W900
Rainbow

2nd Justin & Tim Thornhill
1986 Peterbilt 359
Brutus

2nd Gary Wright
2001 Peterbilt 379
Barney

3rd Bill Culver
1990 Peterbilt 379
Tonight We Ride

INTERIOR OEM SLEEPER
1st Russ & Debbie Brown
1999 Kenworth W900
Razors Edge

2nd Norman & Rhonda Pike
1998 Peterbilt 379
Ole Rag

2nd Frankie Story
2000 Kenworth W900
Same Ol Story

3rd Mike Ladd
1987 Peterbilt 359
Rosie

INTERIOR CUSTOM AFTERMARKET SLEEPER
1st Judy & Jerry Reese
2001 Kenworth W900
My Last Dream

2nd Mitchel Herring
2000 Peterbilt 379
Family Affair

3rd Doug Day
1955 Peterbilt 351
Lucy

CUSTOM PAINT MURAL BOBTAIL
1st Mike Ladd
1987 Peterbilt 359
Rosie

2nd Mitchell Herring
2000 Peterbilt 379
Family Affair

2nd Adrian Rocamentes
1998 Peterbilt 379
Back Draft

CUSTOM PAINT NON-MURAL
1st Keith Bell
2002 Peterbilt 379
Texas Nights

2nd Schmitz Family
2000 Peterbilt 379
Saddle Up

2nd Frankie Story
2000 Kenworth W900
Same Ol Story

PARTICIPANT’S CHOICE
Sam Watson
1974 Kenworth
W900 Rainbow

CHARITY’S CHOICE
Bart Phillips
1997 Freightliner FLD
Bartman

DUPONT-IMRON MOST DESERVING
Mitchel Herring
2000 Peterbilt 379
Family Affair

CHEVRON CHROME CORNER OVERALL
Norman & Rhonda Pike
1998 Peterbilt 379
Ole Rag

Russ & Debbie Brown
1999 Kenworth W900
Razors Edge

CHEVRON CHROME CORNER INTERIOR
Russ & Debbie Brown
1999 Kenworth W900
Razors Edge

CHEVRON CHROME CORNER ENGINE
Neal & Barb Holsomback
1988 Peterbilt 379
Plum Classy

CHEVRON CHROME CORNER EXTERIOR
Norman & Rhonda Pike
1998 Peterbilt 379
Ole Rag

PETERBILT COUNCIL OF CLASS
1st Norman & Rhonda Pike
1998 Peterbilt 379
Ole Rag

2nd Mike Ladd
1987 Peterbilt 359
Rosie

3rd Mitchel Herring
2000 Peterbilt 379
Family Affair


Katie and Mary Elizabeth Schmitz helped the Schmitz family’s 2000 Peterbilt 379 shine in the Pride & Polish contest at the Great American Trucking Show.

The sponsors of Overdrive‘s 2002 Pride & Polish are Peterbilt, Chevron, Bostrom, Bridgestone/Firestone, American Chrome Co., Pilot Travel Centers and Dupont.

Bostrom gave away a Bostrom seat by drawing to Norman and Rhonda Pike. Best of Show Combination winners Neal and Barbara Holsomback won a set of steer tires from Bridgestone/ Firestone. Chevron Chrome Corner winners received a case of oil and a jacket. Peterbilt winners won a truck care kit. Dupont gave two jackets with its award and a jacket to the winner of the Best of Show Bobtail.


To see a slideshow of this year’s Pride & Polish participants click here.

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