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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.


 

Count Your Blessings

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Count Your Blessings- This has been an amazing year for both of us! We are both blessed and thankful for each and every one of those blessings.

This has been an amazing year for both of us! We are both blessed and thankful for each and every one of those blessings. We would like to thank Heather DeBaillie and the Iowa 80 family for giving us the opportunity to write this blog for Iowa 80 Group. We are proud to be a part of the Iowa 80 family!

The Mid America Truck Show kicks off the truck show season in March and we were blessed to be able to attend the show together. Getting to share in seeing some new things in the industry, meeting up with old friends and having a good time, taking pictures of the beautiful trucks, and spending time together with trucks and truckers.

I am blessed and so grateful that this year I became an owner-operator again. Leasing my truck and trailer on with D & G Transportation was like going home, in fact I was going back to my last home as an owner-operator. Now, being back for nearly a year, I know it was the right decision and I look forward to many more years here.

Judging at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree in July was a highlight of our year and we already can’t wait for next year’s event! We get better at it each year and are so grateful to be able to use our experience in this way. We both KNOW how it feels to BE judged, and neither of forgets that, for even a second, when we are judging. We are happy to report that this year we did the pre-trip on the golf cart and judging lights was accomplished without a breakdown.

One load this summer took me to New York, and while the visit with Roger and Heather was too short, it was better than no visit at all. Any time it works out to spend even a little time with friends is a blessing. You never know what tomorrow may or may not bring. This is one lesson we would dearly LOVE to impart upon each and every one of you, that the people in our lives are what makes our lives worthwhile! If it works out in you travels to see old friends, make the most of it!

We are thankful for little Emma Jean, baby daughter of our friend and driver Brian & Lynda Higbee, who celebrated her 1st birthday this year on April 18th. She wasn’t supposed to even be named, according to her doctors. Her parents were told not to bother because she wasn’t going to make it. Kim got to go and take her 1st birthday pictures! She’s a little miracle girl and we are thankful for her and her family.

2015 has been a great year and we are looking forward to 2016 with great excitement! We want to thank all of you who follow our blog, and ask you to leave us comments. We welcome any ideas about subjects that you would like to see us write about.

Thank you God for the new people you have brought into our lives this year and for all the blessings you give us every day. We join our friends out there reading this in thanking you too, for whatever blessings that have been brought into their lives this year.

We hope that your blessings are many and that you were able to make it home to your families for the holidays, to be with the ones you love and work so hard to support by being gone. Most of all, thank you for helping keep our nation moving.

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.


 

Shop Across America

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Our dear friend and mentor Bette Garber used to say we get to ‘shop across America’ because we actually do, and when she rode with Kim, she did too, and she LOVED IT. Trucking across America means that we, literally, get to shop across America.  It gives us access to trucks stops like Iowa 80 in Walcott, IA, Joplin 44 Petro in Joplin, MO, Oak Grove 70 Petro in Oak Grove, MO, Kenly 95 Petro in Kenly, NC, which are all under the Iowa 80 Group umbrella.  They each have amazing gift shops that allow you to buy unique gifts for the ones you love back at home.

Shop Across America- Our dear friend and mentor Bette Garber used to say we get to ‘shop across America’ because we actually do, and when she rode with Kim, she did too, and she LOVED IT. It’s hard being gone all the time, really, it’s the most difficult aspect of our lifestyle. But being able to bring home something really special helps your loved ones realize just how much you think of them while you are away. The folks at Iowa 80 have a real knack for finding heartfelt gift items that can say that for you. These items can become a daily reminder of how much you love that special someone when you are not there in person. Neither of us EVER passes up an opportunity to shop at one of these gift shops, and we ALWAYS find something special, many times, it’s more than one thing.

If you have the time take a stroll through the gift shop and look specifically for whatever it is your loved one might collect.  Cute little figurines, a spoon from every state you visit is another popular collectable.  There are some wonderful things to choose from scarves, jewelry, furry boots or moccasins, candles, metal signs, yard art, leather goods like belts or purses, there are just SO MANY beautiful things there, you’re bound to find that perfect gift.

Even if you don’t have a lot of time it’s easy enough for something special to catch your eye.  During the holiday season some truck stops even offer gift wrapping for drivers, so that when you get home your gifts are ready to put under the tree. You can just join in and let the festivities begin with your family.

I’ve had friends make special requests for me to look for something specific in my travels.  It’s awesome when you can make that find and your friend can give a special gift as well.  I, for one, enjoy the hunt for little things that will become a treasure to the ones I love.  I remember finding a little purple rock that says “You Rock” and my sister loved it! Or when I came across that little angel made in New Mexico out of the dark iridescent colors that was perfect for my sisters truck “Dark Angel” and she loved it too!

The wonderful thing about our lifestyle, the ‘flipside’ you might say, is that we, unlike the average citizen, are not limited to the local big box stores and malls. We have the option to “shop across America” in our pursuit of just the right Christmas gift. Over the years our ‘homes away from home’, the truck stops that dot our landscape, have developed into pretty unique shops as well as offering our basic needs, so take the time to check them out, you won’t be disappointed!

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.


 

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.