The Long Haul Survivor benefit custom rig was raffled off this past weekend during the May 3-4 Midwest Pride in Your Ride Truck Show. The big winner was Brittany Dunigan of Canton, Mich., said Mike Heiderscheit, part organizer of the raffle with his father-in-law, Eldon Jaeger. Both men, along with the small fleet Jaeger Trucking’s shop crew and a bevy of sponsoring organizations who donated equipment, conceived of and performed the build beginning in late 2012, debuting the truck at the 2013 Midwest Pride event. Following that, Jaeger toured shows around the country taking donations for raffle tickets with a goal of raising money to benefit the American Cancer Society’s research efforts.
“We had a great weekend,” said Heiderscheit, with “141 trucks signed in from California to Florida” to show at the Earlville, Iowa, Tri-State Raceway. “Friday evening [May 3] we started out with the Survivor Convoy — any cancer survivor in attendance rode in a semi in front of the grandstands in convoy style.” Forty-five trucks and survivors participated in the convoy. Semi pulls capped the evening off.
At noon Saturday a live auction “with all kinds of gift baskets, toys and truck components” on offer “alone raised about $41,000 for American Cancer Society,” Heiderscheit says. After the truck drags at the Raceway, the Long Haul Survivor drawing was held (pictured). Twenty-one-year-old Dunigan got the call that evening in Michigan and, Heiderscheit says, “her first comment was ‘are you telling me I won that Purple Peterbilt?’”
Dunigan says she made the donation that got her the winning ticket the day the 2014 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville opened. “I’m excited to go get it next weekend,” she adds, after which the L&D Farmers Trucking company driver plans simply to plate the truck and show it when she can. “It’s much too pretty” to put in service hauling gravel in Michigan doubles, what she’s doing primarily today.
Among events she hopes to make are a couple close to home, in more ways than one. “My Great Aunt has breast cancer,” Dunigan says. “This year, when they do the breast-cancer walk [in nearby Ann Arbor] I was thinking of taking it to that.” A second cousin, too, passed away recently as a result of lymphoma, and a planned second parade in his honor may happen later this month or in the summer.
On May 17 at 1 p.m. CDT “we are going to release the total dollar amount we raised [for the American Cancer Society through] the Midwest Pride in Your Ride Truck Show and the Long Haul Survivor Raffle,” said Heiderscheit, attendant to Dunigan’s trip to Worthington, Iowa, to take the keys to the Peterbilt.
Overdrive coverage of the effort has ranged from interviews with Heiderscheit and Jaeger about the genesis of the charitable effort, spurred on by the memory of Jaeger’s daughter (and Heiderscheit’s wife), Brenda, to coverage of the well-designed and built 2000 Peterbilt 379 itself. The following photo gallery of the truck is comprised of pictures taken when it occupied the booth of the American Truck Historical Society at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas last August.