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.”
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.
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.