Flashbacks and fast tracks

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Let’s do a fade away to dream-sequence-style background and pretend we’re walking around the floor of GATS 2012 with first-time show attendee Wendy Parker. She’s mesmerized by the chrome and shiny things, and George has just told her for the thirty-seven-thousandth time to quit touching things. A really nice-looking guy in a black cowboy hat walks up and says, “Hey George, I’m Tony Justice. Do you happen to know where the Randall-Reilly booth is?” George gives him directions, and when the good-looking guy in the black cowboy hat gets out of earshot, he turns to Wendy and says, “Who the heck is that?”

Oh what a difference a few years makes. Fast-forward to a few weeks ago in Joplin, Mo., and two die-hard rock-n-rollers were down front, singing along and dancing to down-home country music being played onstage by the good-looking guy in a black cowboy hat. We not only know who he is, we’ve grown to be close friends with he and his wife, Misty, and have thoroughly enjoyed watching their success grow. We even forgive Tony for forcing us to like country music that doesn’t involve Waylon, Willie or Johnny. Consider us converted, die-hard Tony Justice fans.

Wendy gets “game face” on with Tony Justice before his Joplin show.Wendy gets “game face” on with Tony Justice before his Joplin show.

It was a real treat to open my news feed yesterday and see the celebration held this past weekend in Nashville, to commemorate 50,000 worth of Tony’s “Apple Pie Moonshine” and “On the Road” record sales. To see people we love and care about in pictures with grins Draino wouldn’t wipe off is definitely the best way to start the day. Congratulations, y’all. You worked hard and deserve every minute of those you-know-what eating smiles, enjoy it!

We met another couple our first year in Dallas – heck we met a gabillion people that year – but these folks stood out, and we have since had the pleasure of becoming great friends and watching them grow and succeed as well.

Diesel Life had a tiny booth, back along the wall, and Ashley was out front, selling her heart out with one t-shirt design on maybe three different colors of shirts. She was surrounded with slick, flashy booths, but the design and logo on her little plain-jane t-shirt stood out enough to make us stop, and once we met her and talked to her for a few minutes, we both knew she had something special, not only in her apparel line, but as a human being in general.

The Parkers with Ashley Awesome (left) of Diesel Life.The Parkers with Ashley Awesome (left) of Diesel Life.

Fast-forward four years, Chris and Ashley have grown what started as boxes in their living room to a full-fledged apparel business, with markets in the trucking, diesel racing and farming industries. The skull and pump logo is easily recognizable and the “Diesel Life” aficionado can represent their niche in style. They’ve created jobs in their community, and they’re succeeding because they’ve spent most of the last four years on the road, working their butts off. Again, it’s great to see people we love succeed, especially when we know how hard they’ve worked for it.

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We’re blessed to be surrounded with people who lift us up and inspire us to succeed. It’s important to support each other — there’s so much tearing down sometimes in the trucking industry that we forget to mention the people who are working hard and doing good things, because we’re so busy defending the industry against jerkwads who get press.

Do you have a success story, or want to mention someone who just works their butt off and doesn’t get much recognition for it? Share it – let people know it. I love to do stories about happy people in the industry. Leave a comment and I’ll get in touch. Let’s spread some good news.