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.
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.
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.