One of the big treats that comes with attending the Mid America Trucking Show is the opportunity to view a lot of dazzling show trucks gathered from around the country.
This year is no exception, with the National Association of Show Trucks (NAST) hosting its annual championship here on the asphalt surrounding the big Expo center just outside of the city of Louisville, Kentucky.
The flurry of activity as the contestants is a sight to see as they buff, polish, and touch up paint every square inch of their rides as they vie for the bragging rights that come with owning a championship show truck.
[The video clip below details how much elbow grease comes into play getting these rigs ready for judging.]
A personal favorite of mine, of course, is the entrant from the Hitchcock family from Webberville, MI.
The family's trucking business – MBH Trucking – is dedicated to hauling gravel and other bulk commodities with some of the slickest trucks around.
The father, Matthew Brian Hitchcock (where the ‘MBH’ in the family’s trucking crest comes from) is a longtime show trucker, but now his sons are full into this as well. His eldest, Rick Hitchcock, brought a slick re-tooled 2005 Peterbilt to the show two years running, but came up empty in the championship round.
Now middle brother, Jordan Hitchcock, is trying his hand at it, rebuilding his dad’s 1996 Peterbilt 379 into a lean, mean riding machine (and I think he more than succeeded if you ask me).
Equipped with a 550 horsepower 3406E Caterpillar and 18-speed transmission, Jordan’s deep red 308-inch wheelbase Peterbilt glistens with obvious craftsmanship and pride.
But so do the other trucks gathered here to vie for NAST’s top prize.
Those competitors include: a 2007 379 extended hood “King Ranch” Peterbilt owned by Bobby Lindamond Demolition of Irving Texas; Hamilton, MI-based Rabbit River II Transport’s slick tractor and trailer combination; and a 1991 Mack redone a piece at a time by a Cottage Grove, WI-based owner-operator.
Not an easy bunch for sorting out winners and losers, as ALL their rigs rate about as high on the show truck quality meter as you can get. But then again that's the fun of it, as often times a mere point or two separates the best from the rest (I should know -- I served as a show truck judge one year -- it ain't easy!)
It is truly impressive stuff to look at, these hard-working freight hauling rigs redone into rolling works of art. That’s why it doesn’t surprise me that so much work goes into cleaning and touching up these big machines.