American Dream Comes True

Work clothing manufacturer Dickies gave owner-operator Octavio Vazquez a new Dodge Ram pickup for being its American Worker of the Year.

Owner-operator Octavio Vazquez is a classic American success story. Mexican by birth, he worked hard to build his business and become a naturalized American citizen in 2001.

This year Dickies, a maker of work clothing, named Vazquez its American Worker of the Year.

“It makes me feel great,” says Vazquez, 42. He is the first Latino American Worker of the Year and the first to be a naturalized citizen.

“Mr. Vazquez truly represents the American ideal that with hard work and determination, anyone can achieve the American dream,” says Bob Scott, senior vice president of marketing and merchandising for Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Co., which sponsors the award. “Dickies is thrilled to recognize someone who chose this country because of the infinite possibilities for those who want to work.”

Born in a small Mexican village, Vazquez moved to the United States in 1981.

“I went for the same reason as everybody else, the American dream. I wanted to have a better life,” Vazquez says.

Vazquez settled in Kansas, where he picked up a job hauling milk for Right Way Trucking in 1995. He soon tired of fleet driving and, with the purchase of a 1988 Peterbilt, became an owner-operator and started hauling cattle for Heath and Turpin Trucking.

“Most of the hauls are local, but sometimes we get to go to Virginia, North Dakota, Utah, California,” Vazquez says.

Vazquez’s leasers can’t stop saying good things about him.

“He’s always on time, he’s the first there, he stays late, and he’s always happy,” says Gary Turpin, owner of Heath and Turpin Trucking. “He’s a leader, not a follower. We rely on him.”

Vazquez’s wife Jill nominated him for the award, citing his hard work and uncomplaining spirit. “He has become a successful owner-operator by his own sheer determination and strong character,” Jill wrote in her nomination letter. “He’s out on the road all the time, pushing cows in the dust, heat and bitter cold. He has never once complained about how hard he has to work to provide for his family.”

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Along with the title, Vazquez and his wife were flown to the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., and appeared on the live awards ceremony broadcast from the Grand Ole Opry last September.

He was also given a 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 SXT Quad-Cab pickup truck.
Lance Orr

Truckload of Toys
It took just one determined driver and one phone call to get Barr-Nunn trucking involved in a Marine Corps-sponsored Toys for Tots campaign this Christmas.

“All that it took was one phone call to the owner, Mr. Sturgeon, who is a prior Marine himself,” says Barr-Nunn driver Warren Travers. “I was able to get one of our USMC-wrapped trailers to pick up all the toys from around town and deliver them.”

Travers has been a Barr-Nunn company driver for more than four years and is well known as Santa Claus among the Barr-Nunn family. He has worked diligently with the South Bend, Ind., Marine Corps Reserve Center and their Toys for Tots campaign for many years.

This Christmas Travers took his contribution a bit further, with the help of a 53-foot Barr-Nunn trailer. He collected and delivered more than 27,000 toys at Christmas.

“One of the best things of the day was the police escort through downtown South Bend where everyone was cheering us on,” Warren says.

Barr-Nunn is an Iowa-based, family-owned dry-van truckload carrier that operates approximately 700 units and 1,700 trailers.
Kristin Walters

Modernize Your Ride
What would you do if you had $50,000 to spend on your truck?

With the BP Lubricants Americas Castrol Tection Extra “Big Honkin’ Truck Makeover,” you might get the chance to find out. One grand prize winner will receive an internal, external and communication makeover valued at $50,000 for their vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds (Class 3-8).

First prize is a trip for two to the 2005 ACDelco National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Nationals in Las Vegas, valued at $1,000. Second prize is a portable DVD player and a selection of DVDs, valued at $500.

Participants may begin registering online March 15 at and can visit the Castrol contest booth to register to win at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., March 31 through April 2.

All submissions, whether via mail or internet, must include a vehicle photo and paragraph in 50 words or less describing why the registrant deserves to be the Grand Prize winner of the “Big Honkin’ Truck Makeover” contest. Online entries are due by July 15, 2005, and mail submissions must be postmarked by July 15, 2005.

The first phase of judging will be conducted by a panel of qualified judges who will determine the three finalists. Judging will be based on the following criteria: 50 percent originality and creativity, 25 percent relevance of your application to theme, 25 percent photographic appeal.

The second phase of judging will begin with the posting of the three finalists at the Castrol Tection Extra booth at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Aug. 25-26. They will be voted upon in a public judging session, and the winners will be announced on Aug. 27, 2005, the final day of the show. Visit this site for more information and full contest rules.

The winning truck, including before and after photos, will be featured on this site in December.
Kristin Walters

A Special Pit Stop
The worlds of fast cars and hard-working trucks will collide this summer when the 2005 World’s Richest Old Car Race will stop at the Iowa 80 Trucking Hall of Fame Museum as part of its cross-country competition.

Known as the Great Race, the road rally is a time/speed/ endurance competition for vintage automobiles, all made at least 45 years ago. The race will get the green flag in Washington, D.C.; the first stop for the 4,200 mile journey. The cars will roll for 15 days, from June 25 to July 9, stopping every night at such places as Harrisonburg, Va.; Ashland, Ky.; Louisville, Ky.; Urbana, Ill.; Gurnee, Ill.; Davenport, Iowa; West Des Moines, Iowa; Grand Island, Neb.; Denver; Rock Springs, Wyo.; Twin Falls, Idaho; Walla Walla, Wash.; Puyallup, Wash.; and finishing in Tacoma, Wash.

The race will make a half-hour pit stop in Walcott at the Iowa 80 museum on July 1, halfway through its journey.

While at the Iowa 80, drivers will be provided with complimentary gas, snacks and beverages, as well as a free tour of the Trucking Hall of Fame Museum. Heather DeBaillie, marketing manager for the Iowa 80 group, says she thinks the stop will be a success.

“We have hosted fuel stops at various places along the route before, but we haven’t made a big splash like we think we can make this year,” DeBaillie says. “The audience of old car buffs the race will bring to the museum is just perfect. It’s sure to be a positive experience for everyone involved.”

The Great Race has been using America’s freeways for 23 years, and Iowa 80 has always been a part of the tradition, beginning with its 1938 Kenworth, which came in third place. “We ran [that] Kenworth in the Great Race for over 10 years, so we know many of the racers and Great Race staff,” says Delia Moon Meier, senior vice president of the Iowa 80 Truck Stop. Great Racers have driven nearly 6 million miles since the race began, making stops at some of the country’s best-known locations, including the White House, the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, Indianapolis and Daytona Motor Speedways, and a Parade down Broadway in New York City.
Kathryn Tuggle

Answer: What is a Truckstop?
Trucking icon Iowa 80 truckstop found its way to the small screen in the form of a trivia question on the hit television game show, Jeopardy.

Heather Debaillie, marketing manager for Iowa 80 Group, says the question was a complete surprise to everyone associated with Iowa 80.

“We got several phone calls and e-mails from people who were watching the program,” Debaillie says. “The fun part was that we had no idea the question was going to air.”

The Iowa 80 truckstop in Walcott, Iowa, is world-renowned for its size and the variety of its facilities. The Jeopardy clue, under the category of “Road Tripping,” read, “Just west of Davenport, the Iowa 80, one of these refuges for big rigs, features a dentist and barber shop.” The contestant answered correctly, “What is a truckstop?”

Manager of the Iowa 80, Jim Morris, traveled all over the United States when he was in the military and received several calls from friends across the nation after the show aired. Soon, local radio stations and the local newspaper began to report Iowa 80’s newfound game-show fame. The truckstop contacted its local television affiliate to get a tape of the show.

“I think being featured on Jeopardy says a lot about our operation,” Debaillie says. “It’s not just truck drivers that know us, but the public at large. Every time we run into people we haven’t seen in a while, the Jeopardy question is the first thing they mention. I think it was a very positive thing for Iowa 80.”
Kathryn Tuggle