Category Archives: Chrome

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.


 

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.


 

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.


 

Pride in Your Ride

Personalize a New-To-You Rig

By John L. Hruska

Through the years, I have bought many new and used trucks. I always seem to want to personalize these trucks to fit not only our company, but the driver too. All it takes to show pride in your ride is some good looking chrome and creature comforts.

When I buy a used truck, sometimes the truck is in good overall condition, but maybe the interior is worn some along with the outside parts. Here are some ideas on how I look at refurbishing a used truck that’s in good working order but might need some TLC.

Let’s start with the interior. First, give it a really good deep cleaning, then assess what’s needed. The carpet or rubber flooring is typically worn, so I will pull out both seats and replace it with new pieces. If the seats are worn too, this is a good time to replace them as well because it’ll save you some labor later. New rug or floor mat and seats make a huge difference for the driver of the truck; more comfort, less road noise, and definitely a better look inside.

The next thing is something with the dash. I like to give the dash a little “bling” with some chrome or color that match the trucks color. You can get toggle switch covers, dash layovers, parking brake knobs, or even a gearshift knob handle with a chrome extension. If you do all (or even some) of these things, you start to get a cool look that all comes together with some color and chrome.

Next, get some air fresheners color matched to your interior in a scent that you like, and your interior starts feeling more like home and less like the generic used truck you just got off the lot. These small changes give your driver a good start to a pretty cool interior that you can be proud of. It’ll make the driver more productive and certainly helps him or her to feel more comfortable going down the highway.

2014 Kenworth W900L

Now for the exterior. After another really good deep cleaning, assess the outside and determine what you’d like. I typically will have a truck detailed or repainted and then I decide what’s going to make the truck pop and be a little different. First, I always trim all the wheels and all lug nuts with chrome covers and axle covers. Iowa 80 has great selection of these to choose from whatever is your preference or style.

Next is the mud flaps. New, matching flaps always look better and also shows the DOT that you care about what you’re doing. Make sure they’re nice and neat, not upside down and different lengths with scattered holes in them. Now you’re starting to pull the outside together. Maybe add some chrome flap weights, to bring out your new flaps with style.

I like to add some extra lights as well, but be careful – too much and the truck is junked up, not enough then it looks like a fleet truck. Try to find the balance of lights that you like, then use them in an equal series on each side and keep them symmetrical on front and back. Sometimes it helps to look at some other trucks and find what you like. I even take photos of trucks that I like so I can keep the ideas to do a truck later. LED lights are always a better alternative that incandescent lights, they have a longer life and usually a better warranty.

Next, add some more shine with a drop visor, if that’s your thing, or maybe some stainless half fenders. I always fill in behind the sleeper with at least one frame mounted aluminum step box. It is a great tool, very durable, and you’ll always have room for an extra gallon of oil or antifreeze. And I don’t have to worry about the drivers putting those items in the sleeper compartments to make a mess.

2014 Kenworth W900L

Ok, now you have a great start in making your newly purchased truck your own. Keep thinking of new ideas to keep your truck looking good and use accessories to set yourself apart from the crowd. Don’t forget! – The folks at Iowa 80 will always be there for you with phone support to help you find all those parts and accessories that you need to bring some pride and style to your truck.

Keep pride in your ride!!


hruska_149x149John’s father started in the trucking business in 1947, John then joined the business in 1981. He owns and operates Hruska Trucking and Diesel Transport along with his business partner and brother-in-law, Clark D Hofecker, in Windber, PA.


 

A Trucker’s Christmas Wish List

Great Gift Ideas for Professional Drivers

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

It’s that time of year again, time to start thinking about Christmas gifts for the trucker in your life. The list might include glitz for the truck or more practical gifts for the driver.

Blue Tiger Elite Bluetooth Headset | Iowa80.com
Blue Tiger Elite

Let’s start out being practical with some things that every driver should probably have if they don’t have already (or upgrade or replace what they’ve had for a while). A hands-free device is a necessity and we’ve found that it doesn’t hurt to have 2 synced to your phone. This is especially helpful for the driver that listens to books on tape. When one hands-free device is dead the other one is charged and ready to go.

Garmin Dash Cam 35
Garmin Dash Cam 35

A dash cam is something every driver could certainly use these days! They are handy for taking beautiful pictures as you travel but can also be a very useful tool in case of an accident, whether you are involved or not. The dash cam can provide the proof you need of your innocence or someone else’s bad behavior!

Rand McNally TND730
Rand McNally TND730

Another great gift to ask for would be a new GPS, but, if you are going to get one of these, make sure it’s one specifically built for a truck! The trucker GPS units have weights and heights built in as well as speed limits and hours of service laws. The units made for a car can get a driver into a bad situation in a hurry. Many of those instances have made the news!

Rubber Floor Mats
Rubber Floor Mats

If you are just getting started in this business maybe a few things to organize your truck like a seat organizer. That way you can keep most everything you use on a regular basis at your fingertips. Seat covers are a great way to spruce up your inside space and help protect the seat. It’s also nice that you can take them off and throw them in the wash. Floor mats are also nice to have. They help catch all the winter slop that you can’t knock off your boots and end up dragging into the cab. The outdoor mats that attach to your steps also can help get the muck off your shoes BEFORE climbing into your cab!

Dometic Waeco CRX50 Refrigerator
Dometic Waeco CRX50 Refrigerator

There are many different types of air fresheners available to choose from as well. It’s always nice to climb into a truck that smells good. If your truck doesn’t have a built in fridge, there are several models and sizes to choose from that plug right into the any 12-volt plug located throughout the cab and sleeper. Winter is nearing and you should always carry food on the truck in the event that roads are closed for an extended period of time. Having a refrigerator on board can be a true lifesaver!

Cannon Ball Express
Cannon Ball Express

Now for the fun stuff like a set of train horns! Many drivers want this grown up toy for their truck, maybe you do too? If you do, and are fortunate enough to receive this wonderful gift, PLEASE, be responsible with this particular item, the last thing you want to do is cause an accident. Train horns are fabulous but they are LOUD, I mean, that IS the point, right?

Bugler (AKA Swan) Hood Ornament
Bugler (AKA Swan) Hood Ornament

There are a wide variety of hood ornaments available to personalize your hood. You look at it every day so have some fun with it. Personally, the swan will always be my favorite (Kim) and I had a roosting chicken at the end of my long nose (Heather), but that’s why they make so many! Not everyone has the same taste and your truck, is all about what you like. There are also many varieties of gear shift knobs and steering wheels available to help add personality to the interior.

Gift Ideas List:
Train Horn
Dash Cam
Bluetooth Headset
Seat Organizer
Seat Cover
Floor Mats
EasyJake Jake Brake Switch
Gear Shift Knobs
Steering Wheel
Refrigerator
GPS
Hood Ornament
Interior Duster
Air Freshener
T-Shirts

Trucker's Gift Guide

When in doubt, just look to our suggestions provided here. We are sure you will be able to find SOMETHING you’ll want to add to your wish 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.


Trucker Wish List Gift Ideas for Professional Drivers | Trucker Tips Blog

Great Gifts for Truck Drivers

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Great Gifts for Truck Drivers- Christmas will be here before we know it and it’s never too early to start shopping for that perfect gift for those important people in your life. In fact, it’s a good idea to get started earlier rather than later so your budget can withstand the extra expense of the holiday.Christmas will be here before we know it and it’s never too early to start shopping for that perfect gift for those important people in your life. In fact, it’s a good idea to get started earlier rather than later so your budget can withstand the extra expense of the holiday.

If the one you love is a new driver the list of things that would make useful gifts is long.  It takes some time to get organized and figure out what you need when you are new in this business. For the old hands out here, new things are coming down the pike every day. If you look, you can still find something that will be a thoughtful and appreciated gift.

Let’s start with the new drivers, for years I carried an over the shoulder shower bag, now I have found that a duffle bag with wheels is greatly appreciated. I woke up one day, older, and said to myself, “hmmm, I suppose trucking hasn’t always been as kind to my body as I would have liked” and realized  that, just maybe, a shower bag on wheels might make my life a little easier, which it does. Try to find a bag with all the little cubbies to hold your shower necessities.  A fun pair of shower shoes might be another idea.  Everything can’t always be strictly practical, personalize whenever you can, for example if your loved one likes dogs, get something dog-inspired.

Great Gifts for Truck Drivers- Christmas will be here before we know it and it’s never too early to start shopping for that perfect gift for those important people in your life. In fact, it’s a good idea to get started earlier rather than later so your budget can withstand the extra expense of the holiday.If you get a chance, wander the aisles at a chrome shop like Iowa 80 to see all the latest must haves on a truck. There are many ideas there for drivers! If you can’t make it to one of their store locations you can call toll free for a catalog or you can go to IOWA80.com and look online.

An extendable back scratcher is a nice idea and an extendable fly swatter is always welcome.  An over the seat organizer helps keep things in easy reach and put away so they aren’t cluttering up the dash.  Office supplies like a cute calculator, fun paper clips, scissors, dash duster, a nice ink pen, can take away some of the boring in your work space. A good sized thermos or thermal coffee mug could be great gifts for your driver as could a pair of polarized sunglasses or warm gloves. A shaving kit bag for a man or a make-up bag for a woman as well as a warm, comfy blanket throw for either gender would all make good gifts.

There are lots of things you can buy in pink or purple now, tool boxes with pink handled tools, your every day coffee cup… you can even find things with a bit of bling on them for us ladies! You don’t have to give up being a girl to drive a truck.

For a driver who has all the necessary stuff, finding something personalized is extra special.  A t-shirt from a favorite OEM or apparel company is always a favorite. Then there are the staples that may need to be replaced, anything from work gloves to a bluetooth headset. A favorite is always something to make the truck smell good, being closed up inside for so many hours without being able to have fresh air circulate creates a real need for it, so air fresheners, in many different scents, would be a nice gift. Especially if it could last longer than a day!

Gifts given to us from the ones we love mean a lot when you are gone from home, and if you are just getting into this crazy business, I think they might mean even more. Merry Christmas!

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.


All Roads Lead to Walcott

All Roads Lead to Walcott | Trucker Tips
By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

All Roads Lead to Walcott- Every year, the weekend immediately following the 4th of July, Iowa 80 holds their annual “Walcott Truckers Jamboree” which was started by the Moon family 36 years ago as a way to thank the drivers who support them all year long.

Every year, the weekend immediately following the 4th of July, Iowa 80 holds their annual “Walcott Truckers Jamboree” which was started by the Moon family 36 years ago as a way to thank the drivers who support them all year long.

Twenty-five years ago, July 12-13 1990, was the first time I (Kim) ever attended. At that event, I made friends whose friendships I have enjoyed through the years; not to mention that show gave me the ‘bug’ to attend and compete in subsequent truck shows all over the country!

Walcott is also the place where many of us met our dear friend Bette. For those of you who weren’t fortunate enough to have known her, Bette was a renown trucking photojournalist. She could either be found driving her little golf cart “Rooster Cruiser” around the show grounds or perched high up on the scissor lift getting those great shots of the entire show. It was considered a great honor to be asked, by Bette, to take your truck ‘up on the hill’ on Saturday morning for a photo shoot. If that happened, you knew you had truly made it in the show truck world. She looked forward to coming to Iowa every July. Pictures of her work hang on the walls in the chrome shop and in Iowa 80 Group’s corporate office building.

The Jamboree grows every year;  adding events, concerts, fireworks, displays, and vendors. This show truly has something for everyone. It is a fun family event for the drivers who come and bring their wives and kids, the Moon Family has even extended the event from the original two days to three due to its popularity. There are friends that gather at the Jamboree annually, like a family reunion, and that’s just how it feels!

All Roads Lead to Walcott- Every year, the weekend immediately following the 4th of July, Iowa 80 holds their annual “Walcott Truckers Jamboree” which was started by the Moon family 36 years ago as a way to thank the drivers who support them all year long.
Super Trucks Beauty Contest, Walcott Truckers Jamboree 2015

A very popular part of the Jamboree is the Super Truck Beauty Contest; which is always well represented. There are many judged classes for drivers to enter their trucks in. The contest always attracts lots of beautiful trucks. Having so many in one place is truly a sight to behold.

All Roads Lead to Walcott- Every year, the weekend immediately following the 4th of July, Iowa 80 holds their annual “Walcott Truckers Jamboree” which was started by the Moon family 36 years ago as a way to thank the drivers who support them all year long.
Antique trucks on display

There are also antique trucks whose owners form little communities on the event grounds. They get together year after year celebrating their common passion. All of the trucks that are entered in the contest or display in the Antique area, receive either a trophy or a plaque.  Iowa 80 believes that every driver that enters is a winner, the effort every driver puts into getting their equipment ready to show is acknowledged and appreciated.

This year was Heather and my second year as OEM interior judges.  Since not many people know more about this particular class than the two of us, we got invited back! We thoroughly enjoy seeing just what this generation of drivers is doing to jazz up their trucks on the inside and are VERY familiar with what equipment comes with a truck from the factory and what doesn’t. This is the largest class in the show to judge because we need to see both bobtail and combination, but we take it very seriously and do our best to be as fair as possible. We also know how much heart and soul goes into building and showing these rides! It is our honor to do this and we love being able to.

All Roads Lead to Walcott- Every year, the weekend immediately following the 4th of July, Iowa 80 holds their annual “Walcott Truckers Jamboree” which was started by the Moon family 36 years ago as a way to thank the drivers who support them all year long.
Lights at Night, Walcott Truckers Jamboree 2015

Lights at Night is also our pleasure to be able to be a part of judging, along with Paul Ableson and Roger Hogeland and this class is so much FUN! It’s truly beautiful to see but must be done quickly and we all need to agree on the winners. We do this by first selecting those trucks in each class that have the best overall flow.  Then we go over each truck chosen to see more detail and determine which has the most pleasing appeal; which has the best theme front to back and top to bottom; which are the most eye catching; and the best representation for the industry. It is not an easy task, by any means, but necessary; and all are truly winners. It really weighs heavily on us since we know first hand how it feels to be judged. I have always felt it should be a requirement that judges should be retired show truck people, at least some of them, and the Iowa 80 folks agree.

Over the years we have had many fun ways to pass the time, water gun fights standout for me, the second year for those, tanker Dave Marcotte brought ‘ammunition’ in his “Liquid Chicken” tanker. Getting soaked on a hot summer day was so much fun after all of the work involved in getting our trucks ready for competition against some of the best looking trucks on the road.

We have had trucker games over the years that included musical bales, water balloon toss, tire roll, strong pull, tire flip, even pet contests for best tricks and pet beauty contests since so many of us carry our fur babies with us on the road.

If you are a first timer to the Walcott Truckers Jamboree, as I (Heather) was last year, you will find a hospitality that is unrivaled! They throw a drivers’ appreciation event in Iowa like I’ve not seen in my almost 40 years in our industry. Kim has been fortunate to run the I-80 lane so she could come to Walcott weekly, I, on the other hand, lived in Southern California and ran upstate New York, so my lane was more I-40,44,70, etc.,  so it wasn’t until last year that we were able to schedule our first entire visit.

I was very impressed with the entire event, it was the 50th Anniversary of the Iowa 80 Truckstop last year and the Jamboree itself turned 35 so it was a really big year for them, but the Jamboree is a really big event every year. I was able to meet the entire Moon family, and I must tell you, they mean it, THEY APPRECIATE YOU!

The Jamboree began as an appreciation to their customers and that is what it still is. It is the number one purpose for the event, they want to give back to those people who helped them become the World’s Largest Truckstop.

I had such a good time last year that we scheduled the event for this year even before we left the property! Roger and I were lucky enough to be a part of CAT Scale’s Super Truck Limited Edition Collector cards (Series 3 & 5), So we have always been a part of the Iowa 80 family, but now, after going to the Jamboree, we truly FEEL like a part of the family!

All Roads Lead to Walcott- Every year, the weekend immediately following the 4th of July, Iowa 80 holds their annual “Walcott Truckers Jamboree” which was started by the Moon family 36 years ago as a way to thank the drivers who support them all year long.
Audrey Cloutier, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. 2016 Kenworth & Wabash trailer “Pinkie”. Took 1st Place for Custom Graphics and 3rd Place for Interior OEM Combo Tractor/Trailer

This year was, again, a blast, even with the rain on Saturday! We made new friends and saw old ones. I got to meet Tamie, Kim’s best friend from high school and we met Audrey Cloutier from Quebec, Canada who runs solo between there and California in her pink W900 Kenworth and matching refer trailer. This event is such fun you truly need to make plans to be there next year, believe me, you won’t be disappointed!  Mark your calendar for July 14-16, 2016.

Stay Safe out There & 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 It Off:

Tips for Getting Your Truck Show Ready

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Getting Your Truck Show Ready | Trucker Tips

Mid-America Trucking Show or MATS is the unofficial, yet very official kickoff to the truck show season. Yes, it IS a thing! If you want to take your truck and/or trailer to a show just pick a weekend, you should be able to find one someplace.

Iowa 80, of course, has the world famous Walcott Truckers Jamboree the weekend following the 4th of July every year, which includes the truck beauty contest, and it is one of the most exciting, fun filled events of the entire season, so all of you should definitely try to attend this year’s event. We are both planning on being there again, and the entire staff at Iowa 80 do everything they can to make it an event to remember since it is their gift to us, the drivers. The Moon family does this to thank us.

Tips for Getting Your Truck Show Ready- Getting your truck ready to be judged is a huge undertaking, but the rewards for driving a truck that sparkles and shines after a show are just as big!
2016 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

Getting your truck ready to be judged is a huge undertaking, but the rewards for driving a truck that sparkles and shines after a show are just as big! It’s like getting a new truck over and over again, only better, because showroom shine isn’t clean enough to win a competition these days. It’s got to be much cleaner than that to be serious. To get it show truck shiny requires serious work, every nook and cranny has to be touched, but because you are touching all these places, you are much more likely to find a potential problem BEFORE it becomes a problem, so all that hard work does have its rewards. Another advantage is more often than not when you are pulled in to a DOT checkpoint they will be awestruck by your equipment rather than looking for something to pick apart.

There are so many new products for cleaning and shining everything these days that it really is up to each individual and the look he/she wants to achieve. Do you want your tires finished with a shiny, wet look or a dry, clean finish? Paint pens have been used to letter tires for many years and can be purchased at lots of places and in lots of colors and brands. They work well, but tires need to be clean and free of dust, then lightly wiped with a small amount of paint thinner where the lettering will be applied. This will remove any oils and allow the paint to adhere to the rubber. When dry, apply a very light coat of spray-on clear acrylic sealer. After this entire process is complete, you can carefully stage your tires and use whatever tire protectant you choose and your lettering will look perfect.

Waxes and polishes are too numerous to count, again, personal preference will win out. Use whichever products you like best for a base, but on judging morning, a quick detail product works great so you can spray and wipe down the entire unit. If you have the chance beforehand to get all of your aluminum buffed out to a pristine finish, it helps greatly, but you still need a quick detail product so you’ll be able to wipe down everything, aluminum included, because water spots will be there from a wash or dew or something. It’s really a must have.

If you are entered in an interior class, the same applies, clean as if it were brand new. The more miles on the truck, the more points it gets, the dirtier it is, the more points you lose, so clean it up. Make sure you don’t overlook those hard to reach places, clean things you don’t generally think about, pull out your seat belt and wipe it down, it gets dusty. The seat bases get dirty too in everyday use, whether or not you have a skirt to cover them, make sure they are spotless. The pedals and the boot for your shifter; those two places gather a LOT of dirt and muck yet were most often overlooked when we were judging interiors, and those places are right out in the open! Don’t worry so much about scratches or wear, be concerned with DIRT, cleanliness, or lack thereof. Another thing to be aware of when entering an interior class is the smell inside your truck. You want it to smell inviting, not irritating. Add some air freshener or aftershave, a freshly baked item, something pleasant and not overpowering, just enough that’s hardly noticeable, that would be a winning move!

Under the hood a good degreaser and power wash is a must. If you want to add little things to your engine to dress it up you could start with a few nut covers and some colored wire loom on hoses that match your truck. Looming is sold in a variety of colors and sizes and can be complemented with ties of the same or contrasting colors. This is an inexpensive way to get started dressing up your engine if you don’t get too carried away. If you can afford it, then, go ahead, get carried away! You can also take your paint pens and paint your belts to match the loom and tires if you get really into it.

During the show, be sure to start up the truck from time to time, many a show truck have needed a jump at the end of a show because they’ve forgotten to do that. Take part in the light show whenever you can, they are SPECTACULAR!
Go out there and enjoy the compliments you get when you leave the show! The real fun of having a show worthy truck is driving it every day all across America, day and night!

Stay Safe out there and Keep It Shiny!


hogeland_grimm_149x149 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.