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July 9, 2016

2016 Shell SuperRigs draws record turnout

Jake Lindamood won Best of Show with this heavy haul tractor.
Beautiful theme throuout and perfect execution for a truck
 that works hard. Lindamood took home $15,000 in prizes.
The Shell Rotella SuperRigs beauty contest and 2017 calendar shoot drew a record turnout this year with 89 eye-popping glamor trucks vying for the nearly $40,000 in total prize money.

For this event, truckers come from all over the United States and Canada for a chance to take top prizes and for a brief moment of immortality should they be chosen to appear in the Rotella SuperRigs calendar.

Best lights went to the blue dump outfit of Luke Leister,
who was also nominated to a Limited Mileage award.
Hundreds of blue lights wowed the crowd on Joplin’s streets.
Held mid-June at the Convention Center in Joplin Missouri, it was the second time the event was staged in this city. First time was shortly after the 2011 tornado did so much damage to Joplin and Shell’s SuperRigs injected much needed revenue into the city. 

This time it was more of a thank you, as truckers moved out of the parking lot Friday night and headed for the closed off streets of downtown Joplin for a parade and downtown where the top rigs could show off their lights.

One of the few cabover was this ’95 Freightliner FLB
 customized to look like an ’85 took second in Tractor Trailer
for Andre Bellemare down from Quebec for the show.

The city responded with a fireworks display for the thousands of residents who walked the warm evening streets to admire the trucks.

As in last few years, 2016 judges were Jami Jones for Land Line Magazine; Eric Harley; the host of Red Eye Radio; Cliff Abbott from The Trucker newspaper; and me, Steve Sturgess, representing a slew of magazines around the world.

The Hard Working prize went to Chad Berry. The award
is given by the other contestants, who certainly; know a thing
or two about hard work!
To look their best, many contestants take their rigs out of commission in the winter for a total refurb that often sees them at the early Mid America Trucking Show contest in March in Louisville. Then the trucks are parked or used little for the next couple of months until SuperRigs.

When they reappear for the judging, it is a tough task for the judges to decide whether the gorgeous tractors and tractor-trailers are true working trucks, as required by the judging rules, or just “trailer queens” that just do the show circuit. 
The dragon theme all over Uno Mas earned
Best Theme and mention in Working Truck -
 Limited Mileage to give Suzanne Rodriguez
two trophies to take home.

Now, judges are aided by Doug Morris who is the director of security operations for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and who comes with a career’s experience in enforcement. As an expert in looking at registration, DOT numbers and the rest he can attest to the working status of the trucks.

There’s also a mileage database that records odometer readings at the shows to check on the true mileages these rigs drive through the year. Shell wants the show to be for working trucks. Rotella lubricant’s brand is the number one for hard-working trucks and Shell wants to keep that association strong.

The most unusual truck on the parking lot
was this R-Model Mack. Built for a
customer by Justin Dickerson, the RD is a
 1991 with outstanding details all around.

So the trucks came – always some shut down for the week, getting on site early to start the task of cleaning to make them favorites or top candidates for the calendar. And the two goals are totally different. Only Best of Show is guaranteed a spot on the calendar.

2016 Best of Show winner Jake Lindamood’s heavy haul day-cab tractor and lowboy trailer was chosen for the calendar before he won the award.

After the awards ceremony, he said “We won Best of Show and got picked for the SuperRigs calendar which was super exciting. Winning Best of Show was huge and we are just beyond thrilled about it.” He was also no doubt thrilled to be taking home $15,000 in prize money.

Get complete 2016 Shell Rotella SuperRigs Results here.

Gorgeous trucks win thousands at SuperRigs

Impessably turned out tractor of Jay Blackbourn was perfectly
poised to pick up first runner up prized of $7,000. Note how
 the tires are all set at the same point of rotation!
The Shell Rotella SuperRigs beauty show has been going for 34 years and I am privileged to have been a judge for most of them.

Over time, the event has morphed from a small regional show as it moved around the country to become the must-attend premium show on the calendar.

The trucks have evolved, too, from nice working trucks with some stainless steel – and yes, back then we even had a cabover class – to the eye-popping, traffic-stopping paint, color, chrome and stainless steel of the top trucks today.

And while the few hundred dollars prize money of those early shows has escalated to the tens of thousands today, it does not even closely track the investment and love the owners put in the trucks that come to SuperRigs today.

Complete 2016 Shell Rotella SuperRigs Results

Best of Show
$10,000 from Shell Rotella and $5,000 from MAC Trailer
Place in the 2017 Rotella SuperRigs Calendar
This rare Peterbilt 379X by Charles Self picked up second
runner up and then picked up $4,000. The X model was at
 the end of the 379 limited run and this one’s genuine throughout.
Jake Lindamood, Irving, Texas
1988 Peterbilt 379

Best of Show 1st Runner Up
$4000 from Shell, $3,000 from MAC Trailer
Jay Blackbourn, Fennimore, Wisconsin
2015 Peterbilt 389

Best of Show 2nd Runner Up
$2000 from Shell, $2,000 from MAC Trailer
Charles Self, Neosho, Missouri 2004 Peterbilt 379X

Chosen by ballot at the event, the Peoples’ Choice award went
to Jay Hawthorne for his Pete 389 and Wabash;van trailer.
Consistent theme and traditional design had wide appeal.
Most Hardworking Trucker
Chad Berry, Medford, Wisconsin
2012 Peterbilt 386; 2017 MAC with Curtain

People's Choice
Jay Hawthorne, Grand Mound, Iowa
2015 Peterbilt 389 Pride Class; 2015 Wabash DVHDHPC

Working Truck - Limited Mileage
Luke Leister, Pierpont, Ohio
2015 Peterbilt 389; 2017 MAC End Dump

Henry Lopez, San Antonio, Texas
2015 Peterbilt 389; 2015 Armorlite

Suzanne Rodriquez. Salinas, California
1999 Peterbilt 379 Ext. Hood

Best Lights
Luke Leister, Pierpont, Ohio
2015 Peterbilt 389; 2017 MAC End Dump

There were some outstanding entries for Best Engine,
but the consistency of design saw the prize going
to Josh Reed. Hard to imagine it's working every day.
The interior treatment of Eric Holthaus’ 85 Pete
 carried the design theme from the outside to the interior.
 White areas are crackle finish and workmanship excellent.
Best Theme
Suzanne Rodriquez, Salinas, California
1999 Peterbilt 379 Ext. Hood

Best Engine
Josh Reed, Pioneer, Ohio
2015 W900L Kenworth; 2015 MAC Flatbed

Best Interior
Eric Holthaus, Seneca, Kansas
1985 Peterbilt 359

Show Truck
Billy Rethwisch, Tomah, Wisconsin
2016 Peterbilt 389; 2015 Mueller

Brian Davis, Owensville, Indiana
2015 Peterbilt 386; 2016 Wilson DH501

This impeccable heavy haul tractor regularly hauls
 180,000 pounds and gets off highway a lot. But it’s good
enough to win first place in Tractor Trailer for PaulPiretti.
Dustin Dickerson, Thorntown, Indiana
1991 Mac RD

1st Place Tractor/Trailer Division
Paul Piretti, Springfield, Missouri
2015 Peterbilt 389 Pride Class; 2015 Etnyre

2nd Place Tractor/Trailer Division
Andre Bellemare, Berthierville, Quebec
1995 Freelander Co8

3rd Place Tractor/Trailer Division
Darren Hutchison, Atkinson, Illinois
2007 T800 Kenworth; 2016 Wilson Livestock Trailer
Jarrod Russel took fourth place tractor trailer with this
 livestock hauling Pete and Wilson trailer, both bought
in 2015 but with hard working miles on them already.

4th Place Tractor/Trailer Division
Jarrod Russell, Jerseyville, Illinois
2015 Peterbilt 389; 2015 Wilson Cattle Trailer

5th Place Tractor/Trailer Division
Chad Berry, Medford, Wisconsin
2012 Peterbilt 386; 2017 MAC with Curtain

Best Chrome
Austin Roach, Jacksonville, Illinois
Kenworth W900A 79

1st Place Tractor Division
Joel Dawes, Waterford, Wisconsin
2014 T660 Kenworth
Unassuming Kenworth W900 A-model from 1979 sported 
immaculate and tasteful chrome and polished stainless steel
and gave Austin Roach the title as well as scoring second place.

2nd Place Tractor Division
Sid Calangelo, Carthage, Missouri
2015 Kenworth W900L

3rd Place Tractor Division
David Foster, Joplin, Missouri
2005 Kenworth W900L Studio

4th Place Tractor Division
Top spot in Classic was taken by Billy Baker with this 2000
Kenworth W900L. Fine attention to detail and creativity earned
  the award, making the trip from Ontario, Canada worthwhile.  
Kiegan Nelson, Onalaska, Wisconsin
2013 Peterbilt 389

5th Place Tractor Division
Sean M. McEndree Sr., Salado, Texas
2006 Peterbilt 379 Flat Top

1st Place Classic Division
Billy Baker, St. Catherine’s, Ontario
2000 Kenworth W900L

2nd Place Classic Division
Austin Roach, Jacksonville, Illinois
Green always shows well, but such was the competition
 that Joel Dawes ’88 Peterbilt 379 scored fifth. Still,
Classic was by far the busiest category.
Kenworth W900A 79

3rd Place Classic Division
Eric Holthaus, Seneca, Kansas
1985 Peterbilt 359

4th Place Classic Division
Jim Loggains, Carthage, Missouri
1994 Kenworth W900L

5th Place Classic Division
Joel Dawes, Waterford, Wisconsin
1988 Peterbilt 379

July 6, 2016

It’s Totally Magic

Here’s a device no maintenance shop, garage, marina or home should be without. It’s a new ultra-capacitor-based jump-start combo from Chicago-based KBi that doesn’t need plugging in to 110V outlet to charge. It will actually charge from the flaked-out battery in the vehicle or boat you’re trying to start. How’s that for a boot-strap device?

Because it has an ultra-capacitor for charge storage, the KrankingKart Mini doesn’t have to go through the chemical process associated with conventional batteries. It will charge in about 90 seconds and will provide 1500 amps of cranking power.

Sounds impossible? You must understand the difference between the chemical charge process of a lead-acid battery (or Lithium-ion for that matter) and the physical energy storage on a capacitor. All a capacitor requires is a voltage to charge the plates. So the run-down battery in the vehicle that won’t start likely still has a 12-volt nominal voltage at the terminals when it’s not cranking and can build the capacitor charge. The ultra-capacitor in the KrankingKart can then deliver that physically stored energy to kick over the engine and, providing there’s enough battery voltage to energize the engine electronics, you’ll get a start.

Ultra-capacitors are getting a wider play in vehicle starting systems these days. Many of the stop-start fuel-saving modes in passenger cars use an ultra-cap to provide the sudden energy boost to restart the engine when it shuts down at a traffic light, for example.

The supplier, KBi, is a really interesting company. Its claim to fame was originally as the manufacturer of ether cold-start systems for heavy trucks and locomotives. Back then it was appropriately named Kold-Ban International. But as engine electronics and other modern technologies have made it possible to start diesels at ever lower temperatures, the need for the ether boost has waned. So KBi has re-invented itself as a different kind of starter systems company, offering ultra-capacitor conversion systems for military and heavy-truck applications.

KBi already offers a truck maintenance shop starter cart that uses the same technology as the KrankingKart Mini but on a larger scale. This smaller unit is really targeted at the marine market, but it’s just as good for car and light truck jump starts.

Ultra-caps are ideal for engine start systems. They give a huge energy discharge over a short time. Conventional lead-acid batteries deliver a constant low-amperage discharge over time. So on a heavy truck, the number of group 34 batteries can be reduced for weight savings while still providing for “hotel” loads. In passenger cars, hybrid batteries of lead-acid and ultra-caps are staring to become common.

So, in this KrankingKart Mini you have the ultimate get you going package that weighs only 22 pounds, requires absolutely no maintenance, will cycle at least a million times and comes with its own 900-amp cables and battery clamps.