Working Beauties

Even though his truck had won a coveted place in the 2002 Rotella SuperRigs calendar and took home the top prize at the 2001 Overdrive Pride and Polish, David Geer wasn’t satisfied with the mural on his 1998 Peterbilt.

“It was elementary,” he said. “This is graduate school.” The combination, nicknamed “Marooned,” won best of show at the 20th Anniversary Rotella SuperRigs contest in Ontario, Calif., in June. David and his wife Allyson received high marks for their truck’s dramatic tropical beach vista, a mural David had repainted in early 2002.

Like all of the other entrants, Marooned is a working truck. Mileage plays a crucial role in the judging. Truckers shared more than $20,000 in cash and prizes at the contest, which was held at the Ontario East TravelCenters of America. They competed in three major categories: tractor, tractor/trailer combination and classic. Trucks were scored on exterior appearance, design, detail and workmanship. Contestants were also eligible for Shell’s Rotella SuperRigs calendar, a popular pinup of big, beautiful trucks.

Glen Coonan entered his unusual truck, a 1979 International 4070B. Coonan added an Australian-style kangaroo guard to the front of his truck.

“I’m from Australia and we use them down there for kangaroos,” he said. “When I was hauling up in the Northwest there were so many deer and elk running around I built it to protect my truck. It’s been used, unfortunately. I don’t like hitting anything.”

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, said 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 said. “Not bad for a backyard build?”

His truck didn’t place, but Coonan and his crew spent the entire show looking at pretty trucks and enjoying SuperRigs. So did more than 100 other truckers who entered the show. In addition to receiving prizes and a package of oil and other goodies from Shell, entrants were entertained by country music star Mindy McCready, known for her hit “Guys Do It All the Time,” in a private concert at the truckstop.

Marooned, a 1998 Peterbilt owned by David and Allyson Geer, took top honors in the truck show.

Barb and Bill Raska, from Spencer, Iowa, began planning their trip to SuperRigs six months ago. They found a load that delivered one mile away from the truckstop. Their crimson truck features large drive tire fenders and a simple design. Barb polished the underneath while Bill cleaned the road from the grill. They polished for two days.

While the outside of the truck is nice, the inside dash all chrome and silver-plated dials, big toggle switches and buttons. “You see all the wood grain dashes out there,” Bill said. “I just wanted something different.”

The inside even features a custom afghan (crocheted by Barb) that matches the trucks silver and crimson interior.

Jerry, Allan and Tim Asbury brought their truck from Dayton, Ohio, to compete. The 2000 Kenworth, which has 160,000 miles on it, won first place in the tractor category and also took home the top prize in the lights category, the first time SuperRigs has had a lights category.

The elegant blue truck features recessed neon lighting. The truck’s purple lights are great for shows but don’t always impress state troopers, Jerry said. “We love the purple lights, but the Arizona State Patrol doesn’t like them. We found that out at 2 a.m. in the morning. (The trooper) said, ‘You’ve obviously got your act together, but that color is illegal as hell.'”

The Asburys, who own a 35-truck air freight fleet, say they didn’t know if they’d win but they wanted to get out of the office. “This is the first time we’ve showed it this year,” Allan said. “We use it to get away from the shop.”

Ed Gifford, who pulled his rig into the show, joked that it would be the ugliest truck in the show. So he pulled out his guitar and practiced in the TA parking lot. Gifford, who’s from Spring, Tex., said he started playing guitar since he was a kid, but only recently started practicing again. His Tennessee Titan-themed rig did not place but Gifford said he had fun anyway.

Every entrant received a $50 value gift package of Shell products, including oil, extended life coolant and a diesel fuel additive. Entrants also received prize, which ranged from music CDs to satellite radio systems.

Truckers can order the 2003 Rotella SuperRigs Calendar online at starting in October.

SuperRigs winners pose for a photo that will grace the back cover of the SuperRigs calendar, which will be available in October.

Category Winners

Best of Show: David & Allyson Geer, Oklahoma City, Okla., 1998 Peterbilt 379, tractor trailer, first place; Donnie and Diana Harper, Somerset, Ky., 2002 Peterbilt 379, tractor, second place; William Sandvik, Valley Center, Calif., 1992 Peterbilt 379, tractor trailer, third place.

Tractor Trailer: Tod Job, Jefferson City, Mo., 1996 Peterbilt 379, first place; Donald Goulet, Lakeland, Fla., 2000 Kenworth W900L, second place; Bed Rock, Inc., Point Arena, Calif., 2000 Peterbilt 379, third place; Rick Walker, Denver, 1953 Peterbilt 411, fourth place; Keith Bell, Arp, Texas, 2002 Peterbilt 379, fifth place.

Classic: Bill Pierce, Poway, Calif., 1986 Peterbilt 359, first place; Trees Forever Pipe and Equipment, Brownwood, Texas, 1986 Peterbilt 359, second place; Ron Kelsey, Peoria, Ariz., 1981 Peterbilt 329, third place; Robert Keffer, Ventura, Calif., 1983 Peterbilt Cabover 362, fourth place; Earl Hogan, Columbus, Ga., 1955 Peterbilt 332, fifth place.

Tractor: Jerry and Allan Asbury, Dayton, Ohio, Kenworth W900L, first place; Darian Stephens, Hereford, Pa., 1995 Freightliner Classic XL132, second place; Chuck Prigge, Valley Center, Calif., 1996 Peterbilt 379, third place; A.J. Leonhard, Byron, Ill., 2000 Peterbilt 379, fourth place; Jeff Hillyer, Minerva, Ohio, 2002 Kenworth W900L, fifth place.

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