It’s about more than mere bling

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All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride.” –W. Edwards Deming

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Anyone who visits a show truck festival like Shell’s annual “Super Rigs” competition at some point questions the reasoning of the contestants. [Want to seem some of the sights from this year's event? Just click right here.]

I mean, take this year’s “Best of Show” winner, Jeremy Heiderscheit, who scored the $10,000 grand prize with his 2003 Peterbilt 379 and a 2009 East flatbed trailer. For many of the folks vying take home the big trophy, $10,000 barely covers the cost of the paint job on their trucks.

That’s before you get into paying for stuff like chrome, aluminum battery boxes, and interior work, much less the cost of getting everything “show ready.”

Yet when you talk to the contestants – those that win and those that don’t – you get a very clear idea of why most of the do all of this: pride in what they do for a living. And this, I stress, is a case where “pride” isn’t being served up as one of the seven deadly sins either.

Just read a profile of Heiderscheit written by one of my colleagues in the truck reporting business, Jami Jones, senior editor of Land Line magazine and you’ll understand.

Heiderscheit bought his “grand prize truck” brand new back in 2002 and has since put over 1.137 million miles its odometer. He also does most of his own work on the truck, too, recognizing that keeping it ship shape is what keeps the pay checks coming.

It’s for hard working truckers like these who take pride in their work that Shell started the “Super Rigs” competition 29 years ago. Another member of our truck reporting brethren, James Menzies, executive editor for Canada’s Truck News, talked to David Waterman, North American marketing manager for Shell, about why the company started its “Super Rigs” competition nearly three decades ago at this year’s event in Kenly, N.C.

I also got a chance to talk with contestant Bill Warner Jr. out of Circleville, WV, who brought a fully restored Ford Aeromax LTL 9000 to the Super Rigs event – a truck model he and his late father started their trucking careers with.

Warner told me it took five years to bring his Aeromax back to a “like new” condition – in fact, to me, it looked like it just rolled of the dealer’s lot – yet he doesn’t just go home and shut it up in a garage. “It’s a working truck, like all of my equipment,” Warner told me bluntly.

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[You can read more about Warner here, courtesy of yet another story by the one and only Jami Jones, who also serves as a judge for the annual Super Rigs competition.]

That’s really what it’s all about at the end of the day at these events. While the participating trucks shine their rigs to a high glossy sheen, for the most part, they then turn right around and put them back to work so they can earn a living.

What shines forth from all of this for me is that these are folks that take an awful lot of pride in what they do – and they spend extra money making sure other folks both inside and outside the trucking industry know it.

That kind of pride is a priceless virtue in this day and age.

What's Trucks at Work?

Trucks at Work: Sean Kilcarr comments on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry.

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