Pride & Polish: Fresh approach

Harvey and Karen Zander’s 2003 International 9900ix added more trophies to their collection when they won Best of Show Bobtail, among other awards, with wintry-themed Icy Blu 2.

One winner, Freshly Squeezed, is as hot and bright as a summer day; the other, Icy Blu 2,
is as chilly as a wintry night. These trucks with quite different feels had one thing in common: Both added fresh touches to win top prizes at the 2006 Overdrive Pride & Polish at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

Updated details, and in some cases total makeovers, were common among the 65 entries, a record for the GATS Pride & Polish.

Judges poured the prizes onto Freshly Squeezed, the Sunkist-colored 2000 Peterbilt 379 shown by Clint Dicks. As refreshing as a chilled glass of Florida orange juice, the combination owned by Clint’s father, Terry Dicks of Lake City, Fla., won Best of Show Combination, first place for Fleet-Owned Combination and another first for Custom Paint Non-Mural Combination.
“Orange you glad you won?” asked a trucker peering into the cab.

“I get that a lot,” Clint Dicks said with a laugh.

The sleek, modern look reflects his attention to detail and unique approach to show truck design. Dicks has been showing the truck for five years, but his less-is-more approach just recently began attracting judges’ attention.

“You don’t have to load it down with a lot of junk,” Dicks says. “It’s the little things that make the difference. Attention to the smallest detail pays off. So does an overall look that’s consistent and constantly evolving.”

No detail is too small to carry the Omaha Orange paint theme, down to the logo on the fan blades, the sheets on the bunk and the letters spelling “Freshly Squeezed” cut into the dash.

Interior bells and whistles include low-rider seats, a flame steering wheel by Rockwood Products, a glassy, painted aluminum floor, an extended gear shift and suicide doors adorned with orange leather cutouts.

“It’s like a rolling billboard for the trucking industry,” says Terry Dicks, owner of Terry Dicks Trucking. The elder Dicks owns 274 trucks, all painted orange and white.

Terry and his wife, Joyce, help Clint get the truck ready for competition. “I keep suggesting new ways to add to the theme, but Clint keeps telling me he wants to keep it simple,” Joyce says.

She did, however, arrange the orange-and-white gerbera daisies displayed on the trailer. Other Joyce touches include serving chilled orange juice and providing matching orange chairs for attendees who need a rest.

Adding new touches to a winning theme also worked well for Best of Show Bobtail winners Harvey and Karen Zander, who keep thinking of new wintry details for their 2003 International 9900ix, Icy Blu 2.

“You’d be amazed at how many attendees notice every change,” says Harvey, a former Overdrive Trucker of the Year who has taken many Pride & Polish trophies home to Minnesota.

The latest additions include more stainless on the engine, snowflakes painted on the fan blades, strings of icicles and a hand-painted, snowflake-themed canvas fifth-wheel cover. Karen also sewed new hose sleeves decorated with blue and white snowflakes.

“Be very attentive to detail,” Harvey advises other contestants. “Don’t be afraid to ask other show truck owners for advice and suggestions.”

The Cinderella story of Darlene Swift’s Freightliner began when her fiancé, Wayne Baker, in collaboration with her daughter Wendy Sue Swift, submitted an application on Swift’s behalf to the producers of CMT’s Trick My Truck series. Swift, from Taylor Ridge, Ill., was shocked to be selected for the show. She turned over her plain-Jane 2000 Freightliner Classic for three months while the Chrome Shop Mafia worked its magic.

The result: a gorgeous, horse-themed mural outside and Western luxury inside. Dubbed Free Spirit for Swift’s bubbly personality, the truck wowed show attendees and racked up several awards.

The interior, designed to resemble a day spa, features a foot massager, waterfall, candles, a 32-inch plasma-screen TV, hardwood floors and vibrating massage seats.

Swift continues to haul beef, and her border collie, Roper, still rides in the front seat, where he watches traffic and barks for her to turn on the wipers when it rains. Since her TV episode aired in February, though, Swift enjoys star status wherever she goes.

“I love trucking, and this truck makes every trip an adventure,” she says.

Her fiancé also won Pride & Polish honors with Peterdout, a 2002 Peterbilt 379 extended hood. “It takes a lot of elbow grease and lots of careful detail work to get her ready for the show,” Baker says.

His truck won second place in Conventional Combination 2000-2003, and he was happy to collect the award in person. Last year, when Baker won first place, he got the news in the hospital, where he’d been rushed for emergency surgery the day of judging.

Swift and Baker help each other prepare for the show, and they look forward to the camaraderie of their fellow truckers. “It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun,” Baker says. “You get a chance to see all your buddies, and they get a chance to check out the new touches you’ve added.”

Operating a show truck draws positive attention to the industry, Baker says. “People look at your equipment and figure you take pride in your job and your work.”

Like other winners, Baker plans new touches for next year, but he adds, “I’m not changing anything more than details so subtle you wouldn’t know it unless I pointed it out.”

There’s nothing subtle about the changes made this year by Shelley and Robert Brinker. The couple completely transformed their popular 2000 Freightliner Classic XL, Dragon On, into a Pirates of the Caribbean theme.

The Brinkers wanted to pay tribute to their daughter, Amie McKnight, who died last year at age 34. Amie’s favorite movie star was Johnny Depp, and she loved Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, in which Depp starred.

To keep Amie’s spirit alive for their grandchildren, the Brinkers renamed their truck Legend of the Black Pearl and had it painted with murals depicting scenes from both Pirates films. The hood features a larger than life-size depiction of their daughter in pirate attire standing next to Depp in his Captain Jack Sparrow regalia.

Legend of the Black Pearl won first place in Conventional Bobtail 2000-2002 for its pirate theme, including a bird’s-eye-maple floor, painted cannons on the fan blades and faux wood-painted details on the Caterpillar 550 engine. As visitors explored the interior, The Curse of the Black Pearl played on the DVD player.

“This is all for Amie,” says Shelley, who serves in the Army at Camp Grayling in Michigan. “She’s never far from our thoughts, and we feel like she’s always with us.”

Tony Trinchini likewise says he can feel the presence of Henry Husband, his truck’s former owner, who died of cancer. “I feel like I did right by him,” Trinchini says.

When Trinchini’s previous Peterbilt was stolen from a lot near his Houston home, he despaired of ever finding the right replacement. Then he met Husband, who wanted to sell his beloved 2001 Peterbilt 379 because of his failing health.

Trinchini jumped at the chance, but the truck wouldn’t be ready for three months. While Trinchini waited, he accepted a gig to drive for the 2004 summer tour of former Beatle Paul McCartney, who Trinchini reports is a gem to work for.

When he finally took possession of StricklyCustom 2, Trinchini repainted it with a California surfing theme. Now it’s Chevy white and a dark metallic color the former California free spirit describes as “surfboard blue.” Trinchini even had an old surfboard painted to match the truck.

StricklyCustom 2 won first in Conventional Combination 2000-2002, second in Best Peterbilt in Show and second in Firestone’s Most Technologically Advanced Cab. The interior is next on Trinchini’s redo list, though it already has a washer/dryer, shower, toilet and kitchenette.

As others gathered around on beach furniture beneath a brightly colored umbrella, Trinchini said- as McCartney might have put it- he couldn’t have done it without a little help from his friends.

Likewise, Kim and Tommy Turner of Cynthiana, Ky., credit their friends for helping them with their 1995 Peterbilt 379, El Dorado.

The Turners, who are leased to Southern Pride and run team in 48 states and Canada, decided to expand upon the original teak brown and beige color scheme. “We like horses and cowboys, so we decided to just fly with that theme,” Tommy says.

The Turners continue to add chrome and leather, always looking for ways to keep it fresh. Last year, El Dorado took home Best of Show Combination; it continued its glory streak in 2006, with first place in Conventional Combination 1992-1995 and first place in Custom Aftermarket Sleeper.

The cab interior features a burl dash, tooled vinyl on the doors and seats and matching tooled vinyl curtains. Sterling silver conchos are mounted on the doors and in each diamond-tucked corner of the ceiling.

The cab floor is swirled aluminum that has a coppery look, thanks to a tinted clear coat covering. Tommy replaced the dashboard switches with 25.06-gauge shell casings. “I spent a long night drilling holes into them to put the screws in,” he says. He’s particularly proud of the plate above each switch that says, “Bang!”


SWEAT BY THE GALLON
What does it take to prep a show truck? Wayne Baker, owner of Peterdout, estimates the materials used in 48 hours of virtually non-stop work before the show starts:

1 bottle of wax
3 bottles of detailer
2 dozen toothbrushes
1 bottle of glass cleaner
4 laundry loads of cleaning rags
3 five-gallon buckets of sweat

“I’m probably leaving a lot out,” Baker says.


AN OVERDRIVE ENCORE
Antique truck collector Jerry Howard of Fairborn, Ohio, jumped at the chance this year to buy a 1949 Peterbilt 350 owned by Gene Smith, known as “the West Coast Legend,” who ran the truck on the California coast from 1970 to 1998. Smith’s truck was featured on the October 1976 cover of Overdrive, and Howard is quick to show admirers copies of that and other old issues.

He completely redid the classic truck, stripped it down, painted it and made it road-worthy. His efforts paid off when he won first place in the Antique Working Truck category.

“This truck’s got a lot of history behind her,” Howard says. “It’s worth keeping her in good condition.” He owns over 35 antique trucks, some of them operating in his small fleet, and says this one is his favorite.

One of its most distinctive aspects is its big, boxy sleeper, which Smith had custom-made. “Back in those days, that was the look – aluminum. It didn’t match the truck,” Howard says. The driver had to crawl through a hole in the wall to get into the sleeper in its original form.

“I like to show her off when I can,” he says. “A lot of truckers remember seeing her on the cover of Overdrive.”


2006 PRIDE & POLISH WINNERS

Best of Show Bobtail
Harvey and Karen Zander, 2003 International 9900ix

Best of Show Combination
Clint Dicks, owned by Terry Dicks, 2000 Peterbilt 379

Interior Excluding Sleeper
1st: Michael Barry, owned by P&S Enterprises, 2005 Peterbilt 379 extended hood
2nd: Dale Lambrecht Jr., 1998 Peterbilt 379
3rd: Rusty Conn, 2003 Peterbilt 379

OEM Sleeper
1st: Harvey and Karen Zander, 2003 International 9900ix
2nd: Robert and Shelley Brinker, 2000 Freightliner Classic XL
3rd: Chuck Prigge, owned by Bill and Marie Sandvik, 1996 Peterbilt

Custom Aftermarket Sleeper
1st: Tommy and Kim Turner, 1995 Peterbilt 379
2nd: Darlene Swift, 2000 Freightliner Classic
3rd: Stanley Rochester, owned by Rock NG Freight Relocators, 2001 Freightliner Century

Custom Paint Non-Mural Bobtail
1st: Dale Lambrecht Jr., 1998 Peterbilt 379
2nd: John Schmitz and family, 2000 Peterbilt 379
3rd: Rusty Conn, 2003 Peterbilt 379

Custom Paint Mural Bobtail
1st: Darlene Swift, 2000 Freightliner Classic
2nd: Robert and Shelley Brinker, 2000 Freightliner Classic XL
3rd: Harvey and Karen Zander, 2003 International 9900ix

Custom Paint Non-Mural Combination
1st: Clint Dicks, owned by Terry Dicks, 2000 Peterbilt 379
2nd: Pat Eilen, owned by Pat Eilen Trucking, 2006 Peterbilt 379 extended hood
3rd: Dave Hinz, owned by Blue Leasing, 2004 Peterbilt 379

Custom Paint Mural Combination
1st: Joe Tartaglia, owned by Jeffrey Blom, 2003 Kenworth W900L
2nd: Terry Fabian, owned by Gulf Coast Transport, 2005 Peterbilt 379X

Engine
1st: Harvey and Karen Zander, 2003 International 9900ix
2nd: Chuck Prigge, owned by Bill and Marie Sandvik, 1996 Peterbilt
3rd: Robert and Shelley Brinker, 2000 Freightliner Classic XL

Antique Non-Working
1st: James Swick, 1948 Diamond T 306H
2nd: Jeff Fields, 1979 Peterbilt 352H

Antique Working
Jerry Howard, 1949 Peterbilt 350

Conventional Bobtail 1977-1983
Donald Martinek, owned by Martinek Grain & Fertilizer, 1979 Kenworth W900A

Conventional Bobtail 1986-1998
1st: Chuck Prigge, owned by Bill and Marie Sandvik, 1996 Peterbilt
2nd: Justin Thornhill, 1986 Peterbilt 359
3rd: Dale Lambrecht Jr., 1998 Peterbilt 379

Conventional Bobtail 2000-2002
1st: Robert and Shelley Brinker, 2000 Freightliner Classic XL
2nd: Darlene Swift, 2000 Freightliner Classic
3rd: John Schmitz and Family, 2000 Peterbilt 379

Conventional Bobtail 2003-2004
1st: Harvey and Karen Zander, 2003 International 9900ix
2nd: Rusty Conn, 2003 Peterbilt 379
3rd: Daryl and Rhonda Rodman, 2003 Kenworth W900L

Conventional Bobtail 2005-Newer
1st: Michael Barry, owned by P&S Enterprises, 2005 Peterbilt 379 extended hood
2nd: Robert and Karen Peterson, 2005 International 9900ix
3rd: David Foster, 2005 Kenworth W900L

Conventional Combination 1992-1995
1st: Tommy and Kim Turner, 1995 Peterbilt 379
2nd: Greg Farrar, 1995 Peterbilt 379
3rd: Ted Dykes, 1992 Peterbilt 379

Conventional Combination 1996-1999
1st: William Mecroules, owned by WTM Trucking, 1997 Peterbilt 379
2nd: Calvin and Ellen Long, 1998 Peterbilt 379
3rd: Tommy Roach, 1999 Peterbilt 379

Conventional Combination 2000-2003
1st: Tony Trinchini, 2001 Peterbilt 379
2nd: Wayne Baker, 2002 Peterbilt 379
3rd: Joe Tartaglia, owned by Jeffrey Blom, 2003 Kenworth W900L

Conventional Combination 2004-Newer
1st: Pat Eilen, owned by Pat Eilen Trucking, 2006 Peterbilt 379 extended hood
2nd: Phil Wiebe, owned by Peter Wiebe, 2006 Peterbilt 379X
3rd: Peter Wiebe, owned by TriCorp Transportation, 2006 Peterbilt 379

Fleet-owned Bobtail
1st: Ronnie Johnson, owned by Witte Bros. Exchange, 2007 Peterbilt 379
2nd: Rick and Shannon Crenshaw, owned by JD Delivery Service, 2000 Peterbilt 379
3rd: David Landers, owned by Tricont Trucking, 2004 Peterbilt 379

Fleet-owned Combination
1st: Clint Dicks, owned by Terry Dicks, 2000

Peterbilt 379
2nd: Dave Hinz, owned by Blue Leasing, 2004

Peterbilt 379
3rd: Greg Muirhead, owned by Muirhead Trucking, 2007 Kenworth W900

Limited Mileage Bobtail
1st: Adrian Rocamontes, 1998 Peterbilt 379
2nd: Chris Marshall, 2007 Peterbilt 379
3rd: Dallas McCord, owned by McCord Transport, 2007 Peterbilt 379

Limited Mileage Combination
1st: Greg Muirhead, owned by Muirhead Trucking, 2007 Peterbilt 379
2nd: Mary Deater, owned by Melton Truck Lines, 2006 Freightliner Century Class

Best of Show Limited Mileage Bobtail
Adrian Rocamontes, 1998 Peterbilt 379

Best of Show Limited Mileage Combination
Greg Muirhead, owned by Muirhead Trucking, 2007 Peterbilt 379

Charity’s Choice
Julian Perez, 2002 Freightliner FLD 120

Participants’ Choice
Michael Barry, owned by P&S Enterprises, 2005 Peterbilt 379 extended hood

Firestone Most Technologically Advanced Cab
1st: Darlene Swift, 2000 Freightliner Classic
2nd: Tommy and Kim Turner, 1995 Peterbilt 379
3rd: Tony Trinchini, 2001 Peterbilt 379

Best Peterbilt in Show
1st: Greg Muirhead, owned by Muirhead Trucking, 2007 Peterbilt 379
2nd: Tony Trinchini, 2001 Peterbilt 379
3rd: Clint Dicks, owned by Terry Dicks, 2000 Peterbilt 379

Best Freightliner in Show
1st: Darlene Swift, 2000 Freightliner Classic
2nd: Robert and Shelley Brinker, 2000 Freightliner Classic XL
3rd: Glenn Horack, owned by Success Leasing, 2005 Freightliner Classic


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