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!
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.
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.
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!”
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.