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July 26, 2012

Shell SuperRigs: Super Show and Top Charity Event

Each event SuperRigs outdoes the previous year’s event with new faces and new trucks, or old faces with new and improved trucks. And Todd and Beth Roccapriore's entry in the name of driver John O’Keefe was just such a truck, an all-new themed dump truck that was totally different from the Peterbilt they swept the boards with two years ago at the SuperRigs in Lexington, VA.

As always with the Shell Rotella SuperRigs, truckers from all over the United States and Canada win nearly $30,000 in prize money plus packages from Shell and Speedco. This year support for the 'All Roads Lead to Joplin' rebuilding project made it a charity event, as well as a chance to show off some absolutely outstanding iron and vie for a chance to be included in the 2013 SuperRigs calendar.

The Joplin Event had more than 70 registrants for five place prizes in Antique, Tractor and Tractor-Trailer classes. Additionally, winners in the 'Best of' categories were scored on interior, engine, chrome, theme and a new category ‘Show Truck.’

A favorite class is Best Lights, which included a parade from the truck-stop complex by the Speedco to downtown Joplin, where the trucks lined both sides of the main street. As darkness descended, engines were fired up to spin up those 350 to 500 amp alternators and the light show began. For this part of the event, many of the townspeople turned out to view the gorgeous trucks and the spectacular light show, all topped off with an exceptional firework display.

The SuperRigs contest is only part of the reason these truckers turn out to participate in the event. Most are there for a crack at being in the calendar with the only certain slot going to the Best of Show winner, in this case, the Roccapriores and driver John O’Keefe. The other 11 calendar positions are selected by the photo crew. The truly fortunate entries are those that win in the show and also get picked for the calendar shoot.

Judges for the SuperRigs contest are a regular group: magazine editors Jamie Jones, Dorothy Cox and yours truly Steve Sturgess, and night-time radio personality Eric Harley. It's a tough but rewarding task. And out of a potential 2,400 points in six judging categories, it is always amazing to see the category winners and runners up separated by as little as a single point. Often the entire class with five prize winners can be separated by just 10 or 20 points.

The trucks
And the quality of the entries is outstanding. This year's Best of Show winner, “Low Life,” is a black and copper model 379 Legacy Peterbilt, one of the last 100 of the legendary Peterbilts built in 2007 near the end of the model run. The working truck – judges go to great lengths to ensure no “trailer queens” get into the contest – is themed from bumper to mud flaps with a multi-hole motif for most components. Even the wheels were changed from the oval hand holds to round Alcoa holes to carry it through. It was done so well that in addition to the Best of Show, driver O’Keefe had to keep coming back to the podium for prizes in Best Theme, of course but also for Best Interior, Best Chrome, Best Engine and Best Lights.

First runner up was a perfectly executed minimalist theme of ’96 Peterbilt 379 belonging to Paul Risser. This truck is brilliant white with lime green accents, the requisite deep sun visor and fully enclosing fenders of this style. Second runner up was a crowd pleaser with T J Timblin getting the award for the immaculate heavy hauler outfit with tri-axle Kenworth W900L and unbelievably polished Doonan step-deck trailer.

Timblin, incidentally, showed in 2011 in a wheelchair as he had lost a leg in a loading accident. This year, to the crowd’s pleasure, he scooted up to the podium on two legs, so well has he done with rehab.

In the different classes, often the themes carried it for the winners. Best tractor was the green flames on black 2010 Peterbilt 389 ground of Pat Eilen. Eilen has a small fleet of the most immaculate dump trucks and they get in and out of the muck all the time. Similarly, Beth Roccapriore owns a soil remediation business and husband Todd’s trucks see their share of off-road work.

Top prize in tractor-trailer went to Wayne Voght with a most distinctive paint job on 2007 Legacy Pete 379, created by spreading cling film on the just shot paint, pulling it off to reveal a crinkled surface that then has to be shot with coat after coat of clear to build up the perfect paint surface. In Antique, the old orange 1969 Pete 358A of Travis Headley was too good to loose. Paint was great, preparation perfect and millions of miles on the odometer.

Something new
Something new this year was a category for Show Trucks, big rigs that owners create just for the love of it, the Street Rods of heavy trucking. It was won by Larry and Kim Dyck, all the way from Manitoba, Canada. Their theme was automotive with race-car inspired touches. The grill and bumper cutout of the 2007 Pete 379 were filled with the tube grilles from three Ford F150 pickups, the side scoops for the induction air were from Subaru WRX, there was an abundance of carbon fiber on the fenders and the instrument panel. Altogether a well conceived and executed show vehicle.   

The 2012 Shell Rotella SuperRigs could not have ended on a higher note. In his acceptance remarks in winning the top award for Best of Show, Todd Roccapriore said he was donating the prize check of $10,000 to the All Roads Lead to Joplin rebuilding efforts.

As the 30thanniversary event, Shell Channel Marketing Manager David Waterman said he wanted to do something special for the town that a year earlier had been devastated by the worst Tornado ever to hit Missouri. He announced at the Mid America Trucking Show in March that Shell Rotella would be donating a part of the revenue from each truck engine oil change at the 51 Speedco locations until the SuperRigs event, held mid May at the newly rebuilt Speedco location outside Joplin, Mo. In all this totaled $92,000 and Waterman presented the check to the Joplin Family YMCAf or an even $100,000.

During the awards ceremony a pair of Indianapolistickets was re-auctioned twice to generate several hundred more dollars for the prize fund, making this the top SuperRigs ever.

Shell Rotella SuperRigs 2012

Best of Show
John O’Keefe, 2007 Peterbilt 379 EXHD Legacy
First Runner-upPaul Rissler, 1996 Peterbilt 379
Second Runner-up – T.J. Timblin, 2005 Kenworth 900L

Classic Division
1.                   Travis Headley, 1969 Peterbilt 358A
2.                   Troy Huddleston, 1991 Freightliner Classic
3.                   Jerry Kissinger, 1991 Mack Superliner
4.                   Albert Tocci, 1995 Mack LTL
5.                   Brent Greer, 1996 Peterbilt 379

Tractor Division
1.                   Pat Eilen, 2010 Peterbilt 389
2.                   Larry Pruitt, 2007 Mack CHN-613
3.                   Randy and Jona Rebillard, 2002 Peterbilt 379
4.                   Travis Buhr, 2001 Peterbilt 379
5.                   Caleb Eilers, 2000 Peterbilt 379

Tractor-Trailer Division
1.                   Wayne Vogt, 2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy
2.                   Paul Marcotte, 1999 Peterbilt 379
3.                   Monty Stout, 2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy
4.                   Josh Ihlenfeld, 2005 Kenworth 900
5.                   Chris and Denise Jones, 2007 Kenworth W900L

Specialty Categories
Best Interior – John O’Keefe, 2007 Peterbilt 379 EXHD Legacy
Best Theme – John O’Keefe, 2007 Peterbilt 379 EXHD Legacy
Best Chrome – John O’Keefe, 2007 Peterbilt 379 EXHD Legacy
Best Lights – John O’Keefe, 2007 Peterbilt 379 EXHD Legacy
Best Engine – John O’Keefe, 2007 Peterbilt 379 EXHD Legacy
Show Truck – Larry and Kim Dyck, 2007 Peterbilt 379
Virtual People’s Choice – Shane Price, 2012 Peterbilt 389 (online competition)
People’s Choice – Shane Price, 2012 Peterbilt 389
Hardworking Truck – Ronald Millsap, 2002 Peterbilt 379

1 comment:

  1. I must say charity events should be organized at regular intervals because it helps the people in need and also increases the interest of people in it.

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