Overdrive announces Trucker Talent Search finalists who will compete live at GATS

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Updated Jul 7, 2018

Three drivers will compete live at the Great American Trucking Show in August in the fifth annual Overdrive-Red Eye Radio Trucker Talent Search.

James Nelson, Mandi Jo Pinheiro and B.J. Williams were selected by a panel of judges, who reviewed the more than 35 contest entries. Overdrive featured the top 10 contenders before the judges selected the three finalists.

The competition culminates with a live contest at GATS. The first-place winner receives a $1,000 cash prize, plus a recording session courtesy of AxleOutPro. The contest will be emceed by trucker and recording artist Tony Justice, who will also perform during the event.

James Nelson of Livingston, Tennessee
Company driver, Accelerated Inc.
Has been a trucking for 15 years

James NelsonSong title: “I lived It”
Why did you pick this song? This song is Blake Shelton’s recent single on the radio. It caught my attention with the melody and lyrics. It is a country song that will take you back to your younger days. Most of the new country songs on the radio these days are recycled pieces of junk so this song stands out to me. I write songs and enjoy hearing a good song like this make it to radio.
Do you write your own songs? I write songs, and I have been trying to delve into the music scene. I’ve been trying to write more and more.
Do you play any instruments? Guitar, 20 years.

Mandi Jo Pinheiro of Twin Falls, Idaho
Owner-operator, drives team, Charleston Transport LLC
Has been trucking for three years

Mandi Jo PinheiroSong title: “Hashtag Truckers”
Why did you pick this song? I wrote this song to motivate drivers who were feeling discouraged during the first of the Twitter storm that Tony Justice called for last fall, before the ELD mandate was enforced. The battle to keep the trucking industry from suffering blows from the government is long and lasting.
What kind of truck do you drive? 2005 charcoal color Peterbilt, named Charlie
How long have you been singing? All my life.
Do you write your own songs? Yes, and grew up with dad playing guitar.
Do you play any instruments? Guitar.

B.J. Williams of Lavergne, Tennessee
Company driver, Ryder Integrated Logistics
Has been trucking for 20 years

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B.J. WilliamsSong title: “Tennessee Blues Man”
Why did you pick this song? I am originally from Jackson, Mississippi, and grew up around blues clubs, etc.
How long have you been singing? Trying to sing for over 30 years.
Where do you get inspiration? I try to write songs with a positive meaning. The Tennessee blues is what I knew growing up. I wrote “Half the Man” for my momma.
Do you play any instruments? I play at the guitar and (at) the piano. I make my recordings myself.