Hubcap & Nut Cover Guide

Finding the correct hubcap, axle cover and lug nut covers for your semi truck can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are our tips for measuring the wheel to determine what you need before you buy.

When finding a hubcap for the front (steer) axle, first count the number of notches.  Notches are sometimes also referred to as pilots. We offer many universal fit front hubcaps that fit wheels with 4, 5, and 6 uneven notches. There is usually no need to measure the diameter of the opening, all semi trucks have a standard 8-23/32″ diameter center hole.

Next measure the lip height. Most aluminum wheels have a 1″ lip and most steel wheels have a 7/16″ lip, however it is always best to measure to be 100% certain before buying. We also offer a universal fit front hubcap that will fit both sizes.

Choosing a hubcap for the rear (drive) axle requires a bit more measuring to be sure you get the perfect fit. First, measure the diameter of the axle.

Next, measure the stud size. Common sizes and quantities are 8 of 5/8″, 8 of 3/4″, and 12 of 1/2″ studs. A Dana Spicer hub has eight 5/8″ studs. A Rockwell hub has eight 3/4″ studs, some may also have one flat bolt instead of a stud. If the wheel has eight 5/8″ studs it usually uses an 8″ hubcap. If the wheel has eight 3/4″ studs it usually uses an 8-1/4″ hubcap. If the wheel has twelve 1/2″ studs it usually uses a 7-1/2″ hubcap.

One more thing to consider is the stud length. If the wheel has extra long studs you will probably need a hubcap with a 1-1/2″ lip.

Now let’s find lug nut covers to complete the look. First, determine the size of the lug nut by using a socket that fits snugly. The size marked on the socket is the size of lug nut cover you will order. Some lug nuts have a flange or washer where it meets the wheel, others do not. Be sure to read the product description while shopping online, we offer covers for lug nuts with and without a flange. 33mm lug nuts usually have a flange and are commonly found on trucks 2006 and newer. 1-1/2″ lug nuts are often found on trucks older than 2004. If you do not have a metric socket set, you can make a educated guess as to your socket size using standard measurements. 33mm is smaller than 1-1/2″, it converts to 1.29″.

We offer both push on and thread on lug nut covers. Thread on nut covers require at least a 1/2″ of stud thread to secure properly. Use push on nut covers if the wheel has less than 1/2″ of stud thread protruding beyond the nut.

More options include axle covers (also called top hats), oil cap covers, aero coverswheel simulators, and wheel covers. Here at Iowa 80, we have an extensive variety to choose from, so let’s start shopping!

Your First Truck Show

By Larry Pruitt

Hello again.  Well you should have your truck in good shape by now, Righttttttt!  It’s time to find out what the judges think now.  CLICK HERE to read more posts from my blog series.

The first time is always the most difficult.  We have found that the best way to go about the show type cleaning is to start at the top of the truck and work your way down.  That way you won’t have to go back and redo something you have already cleaned.  One exception to this rule is tire shine.  Don’t put tire shine until your truck is in place for judging and before you do your cleaning on the fenders.  I guarantee, if you’re anything like me, you will find that stuff in places you never thought you could — that stuff goes everywhere!

Our 2007 Mack ‘Bustin’ Out!’

Your first show will have you working harder and redoing stuff more times than you could ever imagine.  I remember at our first show, we worked until late in the night for a couple of nights before the show.  I can remember sitting there at about midnight a couple of days before the show thinking, “If we don’t win something at this show I’m may have to rethink this deal over.  This may not be worth the effort.”  For the record let me tell you it was well worth it.

Our first show that we really tried to compete, was at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree in 2010.  We had the truck looking good, we left the house early on Wednesday morning and I think every bug in the state of Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa converged on us and committed suicide on the front of my truck.  Then to add insult to injury, I believe it also rained before we got there.

Colin Stuart’s Peterbilt

The first stop after unloading everything was to the Truckomat.  That gets you a pretty good start on the cleaning process.  Dry the truck as fast as you can so you have as few WATERSPOTS as possible (see The Road to Becoming a Truck Show Competitor for more advice about avoiding the dreaded waterspots).  Now it’s time to get parked.  The folks at Iowa 80 park the show trucks in line, they wanted to put me next this really nice Peterbilt owned by Colin Stuart.  Colin is a very successful and experienced truck show competitor.  I can remember asking the Iowa 80 Super Trucks Beauty Contest people, “Can you park me somewhere else?  I don’t stand a chance sitting next to this truck with airbrushed horses on the side of the sleeper.”  Not only did his truck have a beautiful paint job, but I found out later that it also has a working fireplace in the sleeper.  They told me, “Don’t worry, you guys are in separate classes”, so I thought, “OK, I’m good with that.”  I introduced myself to Colin and told him this was my first real show and I didn’t really know what we were in for.

I want to publicly let people know how much people like Colin Stuart and Ron Brubaker helped us at that first show THANK YOU so much for your help and guidance.

Ron Brubaker’s 1993 Peterbilt 379 ‘One of a Kind’

 

So back to the cleaning.  We worked all Wednesday evening and then again Thursday morning all the way up until they called ‘rags down’ at 10 o’clock.  When the judges started to make their rounds, I was lucky enough to watch Colin talk with the judges.  Colin told me that when the judges come around, show and explain what you have done to your truck and why you did certain things.  Point out all the details that you’ve done.  For example on Bustin’ Out! we have puppy paws at different places on the truck near a handrail or door handle.  This is something the judges may not notice until you point it out to them.  Remember also, that when you show the truck you are as much a part of the truck as the truck itself.  We had polo shirts embroidered with the name of the truck made that we wear, we even had them made for the kids and grandkids too.

The judging took two or three hours to complete, so now the only thing to do now was wait for the awards.  We didn’t really expect much as this was our first show and all.  I believe if I remember correctly, we wound up getting 2nd in our class which made me perfectly satisfied.  I’m sitting there reveling in our accomplishment and then they got to the other awards for theme and polishing.  We wound up getting an award for our fireman theme and 1st for OEM sleeper detail.  To say the least, we were most definitely blown away by how much success we experienced on our first big show.  Tradition at Walcott is that all the winners get together for a group photo and I remember Colin asking me if I thought that all that work was worth it, I told him, “I believe it was!”

Larry, Colin, & Ron receiving trophies at the 2010 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

I can remember driving home the next day and I would start laughing out loud and Jeanette asked me what was so funny, and I said, “I can’t believe what just happened!  I never expected all of this.”  So then the conversation started about what are we going to change to get even better for the next show.  It was an incredible experience that we look back on often, and as I said before, “I believe the effort was well worth it.”


Larry Pruitt is an owner-operator with over 20 years of experience and has been involved in trucking for close to 40 years. He is a firefighter in North St. Louis County Missouri and resides with his wife, Jeanette, in Saint Clair, MO.


 

Summer Vacation

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Kids are out of school so you have to be even more aware when you are rolling through a little town on a 2 lane highway. Kids on bikes, kids running out from between parked cars and kids playing and not paying attention to what’s going on around them are all dangers that are heightened in the summer. Rest areas, truck stops and service plazas will be crawling with children at this time of year so it is especially important that we all attach extra “antenna” to be able to notice and avoid any accidents!

If you work for a company that allows you to take your kids on the road with you, it can be something they will remember for a lifetime. It’s a chance for them to see where you go and what you do so that later, when you make that call home, they really know where you are. It can be an opportunity for you to get to know them better as well, the chance to really spend some quality time together. Sometimes, as our kids mature, it can be a lot of fun to take them one at a time (if you have more than one child of course!) It gives you time with each of them and them time alone with you. My son has lasting memories of whale watching in Cape Ann, Massachusetts, and going on the Boston Tea Party ship when he was eight years old. Since I have driven a truck his entire life, he has been many places and loved regaling his class with the stories when he got back!

You have to plan to have that extra little body on the truck. Pack all the things they will need, these days there are all kinds of electronic gadgets that can occupy their time when it gets “boring”, like while sitting at a dock. There are also the old fashioned things like coloring books and regular books, miniature games that can be played while traveling, they have games now that were created specifically for travel. You can play the old favorite license plate game, or my car, your car.

Speaking of docks, you have to be aware that some shippers and receivers don’t allow children on the dock or even outside of the vehicle, try to have a plan you can follow if this were to happen. Make sure you have something inside to keep your child occupied and safe.

Extra food in the fridge, including some healthy snacks like fresh fruit and veggies is a good idea. This might be a good time to take them to some of your favorite places to eat while you are on the road. Not all the same places that you have at home are chain restaurants across America. Make it a point to treat them to different places with different types of foods. Hopefully they will enjoy it as much as you do. Change it up a bit for them so they can get a little taste of what our country has to offer.

Trucking with dad or mom or mom and dad can be a great history and geography lesson. Postcards are cheap and usually include text about the picture and some of the history associated with it. You can make a game out of picking one up every time you stop so your child can write a little something on the back and keep a journal of sorts of the entire trip. It’s also a great way to teach them English and spelling, turning the trip into an entire learning experience for both you and your child!

We should always be aware of our surroundings and you can take this time to teach your kids safe practices while they are on the road. It’s never too early to learn how to be safe in your circumstances!

When school starts back up and they are asked to share with their class what they did over their summer vacation, they will be able to bring in their postcard ‘diary’ or journal, along with (hopefully) a photo of you with them by your truck. They will get to tell the story of trucking across America. They will be the coolest kid in their class!

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.


 

Show Trucks: The Planning Process

By Larry Pruitt

When you make the decision to start showing your truck, the first thing to look at is the segment of trucking you’re involved in. You might be involved in dry van work and all you do is drop and hook and never leave the paved road. There are other segments like grain hauling when you load on farms and elevators and the dust gets to be an inch thick. Dust is not so bad by itself but when it rains you can have a real mess. Take a look at other decked out trucks in your segment and use your own experience to determine which accessories work for you and what will not.

I found myself having to change the decking on top of my frame behind the fifth wheel so I could detach the gooseneck on our lowboy trailer. We decided to use a rhino lining on top because the stainless would get scratched. Eventually we decided to put rhino lining all of the decking to make it balance out. When you decide how to accessorize your truck, you have to take into account the segment you are working in. You can’t put mud flaps that run an inch off the pavement and be hauling grain off of a farm road.

During the planning phase, keep in mind what end result you are trying to accomplish. You want to make the truck look balanced; for example, don’t put a ton of lights on the front end and nothing toward the rear. Take some extra time to plan the lighting. Try to keep the lights the same type throughout the project. We went with clear lens on Bustin’ Out! just to be different and try to set it apart from the others. Using the same type, lens color, and size of lights is good because it allows you to keep a stock of lights for replacements also. If you use a different style of light it may not be readily available at the local truck stop on the road.

Chrome and stainless accents give this show truck a classic, old school look.

The next part of the project to look at is, shiny or painted? I’ve seen a lot of trucks that had almost everything on it painted, such as mirrors, tanks, even the front bumper. I’ve seen trucks with just the body painted and everything else chrome, aluminum, and stainless steel. The painted route is easier to get ready for a show; sand it down, repaint and you are done. I’m too much of an old school guy I guess, I like the balance of paint and chrome. The bad thing about the shiny route is there is a lot of polishing and rubbing. We have had our share of black and purple hands at different shows but we feel that it’s worth it.

Painted accents give this show truck an edgy, modern look.

The last part of this process, as far as we are concerned, is the CLEANING. You may think that cleaning shouldn’t be in the planning process, but it is part of the process and a part of the maintenance of a show truck. Probably the most overlooked part as well. It’s very important to clean the parts everybody can see and even the parts they can’t see. Pressure wash the underside on a regular basis as well as the engine compartment. The frame takes the most abuse and is cleaned the least. For a small price, you can get your frame sanded, painted, and clear coated. It makes a big difference when the judges show up and is money well spent. I can’t stress enough the importance of staying on top of the washing of your ride. If you get lax on keeping it clean it will just be more of a chore to get it to level you want to maintain. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, make sure you get ALL of the WATERSPOTS!

The interior of the truck is just as important as the exterior. This doesn’t take a lot of time or effort after you get it real clean. Every couple of days run a duster over the dash and over the shelves in the sleeper. Keep the carpet clean, or if you have a rubber mat, take a wet rag to it when you dust the dash. Everybody knows that a clean truck runs and drives better when it’s clean.

Building a show truck can be done slowly and methodically. Set a budget amount each month on how much you want to spend. Slowly get the truck where you want within your means. Moving at a slow pace gives you an opportunity to change your plan as you go along. Next time, we will discuss getting ready for the judges at your first competitive show.


Larry Pruitt is an owner-operator with over 20 years of experience and has been involved in trucking for close to 40 years. He is a firefighter in North St. Louis County Missouri and resides with his wife, Jeanette, in Saint Clair, MO.


 

10 Shower Bag Essentials

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Shower bags are a very important part of a drivers daily life, especially when he/she spends a long time away from home.  We have learned through the years that a well thought out and stocked shower bag can make us feel the comforts of home no matter where we may happen to be showering.

If your bag happens to be an over the shoulder style, you might consider getting one that has wheels on it.  It doesn’t take long for weight to add up.  By the time you get your clothes, soap, shampoo, conditioner, personal hygiene items, brushes, comb, personal appliances, etc., having wheels could certainly be a welcome addition.

For drivers who are just entering the profession, it would be a good idea to have a cosmetic bag or caboodle case if you’re a woman, or a shaving kit if you’re a man.  You can use this every morning to take into the truck stop or rest area with you so you can brush your teeth, wash your face, comb your hair and help get yourself going in the morning or the afternoon depending on when your day gets started.  Your bag essentials are:  toothbrush, toothpaste, a small hand towel or washcloth, deodorant, comb or brush, moisturizer or lotion, razor, perfume or after shave and any special soap or necessity.  I also ALWAYS carry a spray disinfectant to kill any germs that may have been unintentionally overlooked and left behind! You can never be too careful these days, right?  It’s no different than carrying hand sanitizer.  There are a lot of ugly germs out there and we drivers lead a solitary life that is mostly protected, so taking those extra precautions make sense for our lifestyle.

Some drivers have habits like wearing shower shoes.  This could be a pair of cheap flip flops that are used only in the shower.  Some use a hand towel to lay down by the sink to lay your personal items on.  Bath mat towels or paper mats are always nice for when you get out of the shower.

Newly remodeled showers at the Iowa 80 Truckstop in Walcott, IA

We love when the truck stop provides a hair dryer, especially when it’s cold outside and you really shouldn’t be going outside with wet hair.  It’s not a bad idea to carry your own hair dryer for the times that the truck stop doesn’t provide them.

There are some days that just being able to stand under that warm or hot water is just what you need to get rejuvenated and ready to go out there and get on down the road!  The places that have good water pressure and private showers that are nicer than my bathroom at home, always make it to the top of my ‘favorite place to shower’ list.

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.


 

18 Reasons Why You Need 3-In-1 AirPower Lines on Your Rig

By: 

Tired of tangled, kinked, leaking air lines? Upgrade your rig from nylon coiled air lines to Tectran 3-in-1 AirPower Lines. We promise you won’t regret it! Here are 18 reasons why you should make the switch:

  • No tangling or snagging like you have with coiled air lines
  • Improved appearance on the truck

18 Reasons Why You Need 3-In-1 AirPower Lines on Your Rig | Trucker Tips Blog

  • Tectran AirPower Lines last years longer than nylon air lines
  • Flex Grip prevents inadvertent crimping of air lines at the glad-hand connection 18 Reasons Why You Need 3-In-1 AirPower Lines on Your Rig | Trucker Tips Blog
  • Spiral Wrap has beveled edge which protects lines from damage and abrasion
  • Spoon-cut spiral wrap eliminate sharp ends than can damage hoses and cable
  • Tectran LIFESwivel at the tractor connection eases installation and extends life
  • Coiled air lines break down quickly due to UV light deterioration
  • AirPower Lines remain more flexible in cold weather
  • Easier and faster hookup saves time and money
  • WeatherSeal sleeves on plugs provide superior corrosion protection18 Reasons Why You Need 3-In-1 AirPower Lines on Your Rig | Trucker Tips Blog
  • Greater strength and flexibility than coiled lines
  • APL Tec-Clamp makes installation fast and easy with No Tools Needed
  • Designed for operating pressures up to 225 psi
  • Available with red and blue hoses, as well as with black hoses
  • Tractor-side bend restrictors are non-corrosive, and prevent kinking in turns18 Reasons Why You Need 3-In-1 AirPower Lines on Your Rig | Trucker Tips Blog
  • Available in various lengths to meet the needs of your application
  • Best of all, it’s made in the USA!

18 Reasons Why You Need 3-In-1 AirPower Lines on Your Rig | Trucker Tips Blog

Walcott Truckers Jamboree Concerts Announced

Iowa 80 Truckstop is pleased to announce its slate of performers who will take the stage to entertain attendees at this year’s Walcott Truckers Jamboree.

 

Mary Sarah will perform Thursday, July 13 and Collin Raye will perform Friday, July 14

“We are very excited about this year’s line up,” says Heather DeBaillie, Marketing Manager.
On July 13th attendees will enjoy a performance by rising star Mary Sarah from the 2016 season of The Voice (Team Blake). “We are thrilled to be able to have Mary Sarah perform this year. She has such an amazing voice and a great range of songs from old favorites to her own new material. Mary Sarah has performed and recorded songs with Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, The Oak Ridge Boys and more. Local Favorite Dani Lynn Howe and Band will open for Mary Sarah. It is going to be a fun-filled night for sure,” says DeBaillie.
Friday, July 14th will feature trucker turned singer, Tony Justice. “He is the real deal and his music and high energy show will be one you won’t forget,” DeBaillie boasts. Tony will be opening for Collin Raye. Collin Raye is best known for his hits Little Rock, One Boy-One Girl, That’s My Story, My Kind of Girl and Love, Me to name a few. DeBaillie says, “We gearing up for another great event full of great music!”
The 2017 Walcott Truckers Jamboree will also feature a Super Truck Beauty Contest, Antique Truck Display; Iowa pork chop cookout; over 175 exhibits, Trucker Olympics; carnival games; two fireworks displays, a 100th birthday party for Iowa 80 Trucking Museum’s 1917 Velie (built in Moline, IL) and lots of fun for the whole family! Admission and parking are FREE! Shuttles will be provided from the parking area to the event grounds.
The 38th Annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree, will be held July 13-15, 2017 at Iowa 80 Truckstop, I-80 Exit 284, Walcott, Iowa. More bands are still being added to the concert line up. The most up to date information can be found at www.truckersjamboree.com.

Step-By-Step Big Rig Wheel Polishing Guide

BY:    

     “PRO SERIES”

POLISHING PRODUCTS

 

Zephyr has been helping truckers make metal mirrors for over 27 years now. From the beginner just starting out on their own rig, to the pro who does it every day as a career. For us here at Zephyr there is nothing more satisfying than seeing all of your metal transformations take shape with our Pro Series Products. We hang our hat on being able to provide you with the highest quality metal finishing products available today. The amount of pride in the trucking industry is second to none. Especially the pride in your rides. There is nothing like a freshly polished big rig pushing down the line. So, if you don’t find yourself near a polish shop and you don’t want the parking lot polisher touching your ride, we hope you can fall back on these easy steps to achieve a perfect shine every time.

FROM THIS                                                                     TO THIS

                       

Safety first. For this particular process we will be using airway buffing wheels which will require the use of safety flanges. These innovative flanges are molded from high-density composite nylon that are lightweight, yet strong as aluminum. These flanges need to be attached to each side of the buffing wheel and are mandatory when using airway buffing wheels. Next, is your personal protective gear which is just as important as flanges. This includes ear protection, hand protection, eye protection, and most of all respiratory protection. These items are all available at your local Zephyr distributor or at www.zephyrpro40.com  they are definitely a must when machine polishing.

Now, on to the “tools of the trade”!! For these wheels we will be using a 3 step process; cut, color, and finish. We will be using some of the most popular products from Zephyr. These products are available at www.iowa80.com

The supplies you will be using today:

Primary Cutting  – 3200rpm        For the first step we will be using the 8” yellow mill treated buffing wheel and tripoli compound. First off, rake the new buffing wheel and fray the edges. This breaks the buffing wheel in and allows it to more easily accept the compound. Remember, the buffer spins counter clockwise. So, be careful when applying the compound. Hold the bar of rouge on the buffing wheel working it from edge to edge for about 3 seconds. First, break the wheel down into sections. Start with the face of the wheel and work your way out to the edge. Left to right, bottom to top with nice even passes. You don’t want to apply too much pressure, let the grinder spin freely. Take your time and make sure you make even passes. Overlapping each previous pass. Move up slowly and push your black line of compound steadily forward.  When you notice the black line start to fade you will need to rake all of the old burnt-on compound off of the pad and then reapply more compound, then repeat. This is the most important step in the polishing process. If this is done correctly, then you will have really laid the ground work for a beautiful mirror finish. The rest is downhill.

Secondary Cutting  – 3200rpm  Now, you should have a very shiny surface with a light haze and what looks like hash marks. This is perfectly normal considering this was just the first step. Now, grab your green buffing wheel and green moss compound. Rake your wheel just like before and apply compound to the wheel. Again, start from the inside and work your way to the edge. The moss green rouge is a higher-end jewelers rouge which will provide you with that high luster, show quality shine. This should leave you with an almost perfect finish. During the coloring stage you will really see this mirror take shape. In between steps grab a microfiber towel and apply some of our Pro 50 Eliminator to the wheels. This will dissolve any leftover compound from around the holes. Leave the Pro 50 film on after the secondary stage, this will allow you to see exactly where your polishing line is as well as cleaning all of the green rouge off before moving on to the finishing step.

Pro 50 Wipe down                                           Secondary Cut

             

Final Finish – 1600-1800rpm  Last, grab your white untreated airway or flannel buffing wheel as well as the Blue Moon bar rouge. Again, start from the inside and work out to the edges. This will break down any buffing lines left and blend it all together leaving a flawless finish. If all three steps are done like this, the result should be a metal mirror. It takes a little getting used to, no doubt, but once you have a few wheels under your belt you will be ready to attack bigger jobs like fuel tanks and more! With Zephyr’s easy to use products, the beginner can achieve a professional finish.

Wipe Down aka “seal in that shine” – We are not quite finished yet. Now that we have successfully polished the wheel lets highlight that super shine and seal and protect it. That was a lot of work and gratifying as well, so you want to maximize your shine. Grab a microfiber towel and a bottle of the trucking industries #1 selling metal polish, Zephyr Pro 40. Fold the towel into quarters, that way your fingers don’t poke through and scratch the surface. Apply about a half-dollar size amount of Pro 40 on the towel and wipe the wheel down. Go with the grain and apply nice and even all over the wheel. Let it dry and use a fresh microfiber towel to remove it. This will repel water and road grime that you may catch along the way. Use the Pro 40 metal polish for maintenance thereafter.

Thanks for checking out Iowa80.com and if you have any more polishing questions ask the friendly folks at Iowa 80 or go to www.zephyrpro40.com  and @zephyrpolishes on Instagram and Facebook. Special thanks to Kevin Clapp, owner of Texas Premier Polishing out of Lubbock, TX, for his input and the pictures of his quality work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Be Safe & Shine On!

The Road to Becoming a Truck Show Competitor

A True Story

By Larry Pruitt

There are as many truck show competitors as there are different stories about how they got there. Here is a little bit of how we got involved in truck show competitions.  Some competitors follow in the footsteps of family members, but most are first generation competitors such as Jeanette and me.

I believe it was back in 2009 we attended our first Walcott Truckers Jamboree. We had just purchased the 2007 Mack truck the winter before, but we also have a couple of antique trucks and we used the 2007 Mack to haul our 1959 Mack to the show. The antiques at Walcott are just an exhibition, not a competition. Well, that year we were running late and didn’t get there until Thursday morning, the day of the judging for the Super Trucks.
That morning I went out to the truck stop to unload my ’59 Mack. I let Jeanette sleep in at the hotel and planned to meet her back at the hotel for breakfast after I unloaded the ’59 at the truck stop. I was visiting with a friend of mine while he was registering for the Super Truck Beauty Contest. He said that I should enter my ’07 Mack into the competition. My response to him was “Are you out of your freakin’ mind? My truck isn’t good enough to compete,” and we all laughed.
As I stood there, I overheard the ladies at the registration tent explaining about the different goodies that competitors received just for entering. Imagine that, free stuff just for entering! They got 10% off at the chrome shop just for entering and I thought, “I could use that discount” as I had a whole list of stuff I wanted to purchase for my new truck while we were up there. The goody that sealed the deal was for me was the two free pork chop dinners. If you aren’t aware, the pork chops at Iowa 80 are world famous! So signed up and I told my friend, “Yeah count me in.”

The judging started at 10 o’clock and it was already 8 o’clock, so I went across the way and got my truck washed at the Truckomat and halfway dried it off. I parked it in line with the trucks that were immaculate and just about perfect. I jumped into my pickup and went to the hotel to get Jeanette. You should have seen the look on her face when I told her, “Dear, hurry up and finish your breakfast we are in the Super Truck Beauty Contest and judging starts in 30 minutes.” On the way back to the truck stop I had to explain to her what had transpired earlier. I don’t know how many times she asked me, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” and I told her, “Of course not, but we’ll figure it out as we go.”

Judging at the 2009 Walcott Truckers Jamboree. Notice this clean Pete has no water spots!

We wiped some of the water spots off of the truck before the judges got to us, but the other 100,000 water spots stayed put. The judges came around, but they didn’t hang around very much. Knowing what I know now, I probably would have moved on also. To this day, water spots drive Jeanette crazy. The amount of beautiful trucks was awe inspiring and the attention to detail these competitors have for their rigs was mind boggling. Just for the record, I think we were the only entry with water spots.

 

My red Mack on display at the 2009 Walcott Trucker’s Jamboree

We visited with some of the other drivers and started some very good friendships that wonderful weekend. I asked them a lot of questions, and here are a couple of their suggestions.  Pick a theme and stick with it – We picked a fire theme and tied it in with the Mack bulldog.  Pay attention to the details – Be sure to fix all the rock chips, get all of the wax and bugs off, and line the lettering on the tires up to the top so you can read the brand of the tire. Oh yeah, most importantly… NO WATER SPOTS!  Needless to say, we didn’t receive any awards that year, but we vowed that the next Jamboree we would make a good showing.

 


Larry Pruitt is an owner-operator with over 20 years of experience and has been involved in trucking for close to 40 years. He is a firefighter in North St. Louis County Missouri and resides with his wife, Jeanette, in Saint Clair, MO.


 

Truck Show Season is Upon Us

By Larry Pruitt

The 2017 truck show season is here.  The first big one is held at the Mid-America Trucking Show, MATS, in Louisville at the end of March.  The truck show season runs in the Midwest until around the end of September.  If you’ve never checked out one of these competitions before, I strongly encourage everyone that has the opportunity to give it a look.  Some shows use the same scoring criteria year after year and so the competitors know what the judges are looking for and try to give the judges what they want.  Some are judged by the spectators and drivers decide who wins.  Truck shows range from National Championship Shows all the way down to local area shows and everything in between.  No matter what scale of show it is, usually a good time is had by all.

PKY Truck Beauty Championship contestants at the 2016 Mid-America Trucking Show

When you see the amount of time, money, and most importantly passion put into these true works of art, you will see the great amount of imagination and attention to detail.  One of the judges at the Superrigs competition told me several years ago that they can tell that some trucks are definitely an extension of the drivers distinct personality.

In my humble opinion,  the shows that spotlight “working trucks” are the better shows because these trucks work anywhere from 50,000 to 150,000 miles a year and still look as if they came off the showroom floor when it’s time to get judged.

Although some people spend a great deal of money, some of the best trucks at these events use more imagination than cash.  I believe some competitors could possibly chrome a truck completely, but that would lack imagination.  Most drivers try to find a balance between paint and chrome and stainless steel and overall cleanliness of their rides.

My Mack “Bustin’ Out!” show truck in 2015 at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree

I know firsthand the amount of time and planning that it takes to put a show truck together.  My wife, Jeanette, and I started showing back in 2009.  We made a lot of mistakes along the way, but learned a lot, and by the time 2012 came around we were having a great deal of success.  The success that we experienced was due in large part to our fellow competitors that answered a lot of stupid questions that I had, and they took the time to show us how to show a truck.  These are salt-of-the-earth people that we are proud to say have become very good friends.  We have not been showing the last year or so but we still travel to certain shows just to be able to visit with the folks that are a part of these competitions.

In future posts, we will discuss what it takes to become a competitor yourself, discuss things that work, and some things that absolutely didn’t work. So until then, think about different ways that you could make your ride stand out as you go about your business out there on the road.


Larry Pruitt is an owner-operator with over 20 years of experience and has been involved in trucking for close to 40 years. He is a firefighter in North St. Louis County Missouri and resides with his wife, Jeanette, in Saint Clair, MO.