SuperRigs returns to Joplin with focus on trucks, veterans

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November-2013-superrigsShell Rotella SuperRigs will celebrate its 34th year in Joplin, Mo., returning four years after the annual event pulled into town following a devastating tornado.

Aside from showcasing some of the most customized heavy trucks in the U.S. June 9-11, SuperRigs will bring an economic boon to the city as it continues to rebuild itself following a 2011 EF5 tornado that caused nearly $3 billion in damages.

The 2012 SuperRigs was held at Speedco off I-44 at Exit 11, which also served as a grand reopening celebration for the location damaged by the tornado.

“I know they’re still rebuilding because it was amazing what that tornado did to that community,” says Dave Waterman, Shell Rotella’s marketing manager.

This year’s event will also have a patriotic twist. Shell expects to team with Fastport, an agency that helps veterans find civilian jobs, to educate veteran attendees about the job opportunities that exist in trucking.

“What makes America the greatest country in the world is that we have the number one economy in the world and the number one military in the world,” says Patrick Murphy, acting secretary of the Army.

Ft. Leonard Wood, just outside of Joplin, serves as somewhat of an educational clearinghouse for veterans transitioning to civilian life.

Murphy says he hopes to use Rotella’s truck beauty contest to highlight Soldier For Life, which helps foster the spirit of entrepreneurship in veterans, and hold transition classes as part of SuperRigs. Waterman says Shell is also looking to bring in some of its technical staff to provide insight on diesel technicians for attendees who might not be interested in driving.
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