The glint of chrome and steel

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It’s hard to believe that the annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition is three decades old now – an event launched back during the first term of President Ronald Reagan, when Joan Jett & The Blackhearts belted out a number one song professing their love for rock and roll, and a mere two years before the infamous title of George Orwell’s classic nove ldepicting a world controlled by “Big Brother” came to pass.

[“Big Brother” is also a term many drivers and fleet managers alike use frequently today to describe the growing use of both electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs) or “black boxes” to record hours of service (HOS) information as well as event data recorders (EVRs) that keep tabs on engine speed, hard braking incidents, etc.]

Those were but some of thoughts rolling around in my mind as I headed south on U.S. 71 from Kansas City towards Joplin, MO, a couple of weeks ago to attend the 2012 SuperRigs event – passing through more than few towns sporting interesting names such as Carthage (named for an ancient city that gave the Romans fits), Nevada (appropriately home to a casino), Milo (hey, where’s Otis?) and Peculiar (where weird doth reign supreme). 

A few scant miles down I-44 from where it joins U.S. 71 sat the Joplin Speedco facility wherein Shell held its annual “super fest” for high-toned chrome and steel. [And you can view two photo galleries of some of the assembled truck “bling” at the event by clicking here and here.]

John O’Keefe out of Portland, CT, captured “Best of Show” honors with his 2007 Peterbilt 379 EXHD Legacy called “Low Life”(and pictured above) at the SuperRigs competition this year, bagging $10,000 and a host of other goodies while also taking first place in the Best Interior, Best Theme, Best Chrome, Best Lights and Best Engine categories.

Paul Rissler of California, MO, took “Best of Show” runner up honors – including $4,000 and other prizes – for his 1996 Peterbilt 379, while T.J. Timblin of West Bend, WI, got third place in the “Best of Show” category, earning $2,500and related goodies for his 2005 Kenworth W900L tractor.

The 2012 SuperRigs event also helped raise $100,000 for the All Roads Lead to Joplin disaster recovery group developed, which is raising funds to benefit the YMCA of to continue the rebuilding efforts in a community devastated by a huge tornado in May last year

It’s nice to see that, even in the midst of this annual celebration of custom trucks, the needs of Joplin’s people – still struggling in many ways to get back on their feet – weren’t far from everyone’s minds. 

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