Fleet Owner Magazine
Tamera Sturgis: Independent Truck Driver

Tamera Sturgis: Independent Truck Driver

Sturgis likes to show women that driving a truck can be a fun and profitable career.

The Tamera Sturgis story, wherein a 20-something decides that the up-and-down life of a long-haul trucker is the one for her, really belongs on TV as a reality show.

Oh wait… it is.

Or was anyway—and may soon be again, with Sturgis in the starring role.

“There’s something in development, but it’s top secret right now,” Sturgis revealed. It would follow a successful run with husband Todd on A&E’s Shipping Wars, then landing a full-time gig with Cummins after spending decades traveling America.

The Sturgises have been driving as a tandem since 1994, when they booked their first co-piloting job from Los Angeles to New Jersey. They mostly worked for a small independent firm, loved being together on the road, and up until a few years ago had no idea their lives would become nationally known via the small screen.

Tamera met Todd when he was a stand-up comic in California. They dated and would eventually marry.

“But we were barely making it,” she recalled. “Todd found a second job counting freight on a loading dock. He talked to some people, came home and asked me what I thought about driving a truck together. I was a tomboy anyway and said it sounded great. We went to truck driving school; four weeks later, we were hired, trained and in a brand new truck going cross-country.”

Tamera and Todd spent years on the road, loving every moment. Well, almost every moment.

“Every day isn’t roses… it’s a hard lifestyle, but I have a great time,” Tamera said . “I came to realize it was an incredible career and incredible adventure. I love driving the big trucks, shifting and maneuvering.

“I started a Facebook page, Trucking Is Glamorous, to show the positive side of truck driving.”

Proving herself to mostly men along the way was a challenge she met head on.

“I’ve had people accuse me of lying when I said I was a truck driver,” she stated. “They thought I just accompanied my husband when we were on the road. When we arrived at a loading dock, I made sure I was the one to back it in. I couldn’t be the woman who drove in but had to let the man back it in. A lot of times when they opened a door, all the workers would stop and watch me back in. They said I was as good or better than any man.”

Todd said Tamera has managed to maintain her enthusiasm for trucking over the years driving together, which has energized him as well.

“Being on the road with Tamera is always an adventure,” he said. “She doesn’t seem to get tired. You know that time right after you deliver your load you hope to find a nice spot to rest? Tamera doesn’t look for a spot to rest; she finds some place to explore.”

After finding fame and a little fortune on Shipping Wars, the Sturgeses were hired by Cummins last year to drive the company’s truck and trailer to shows.

“That went so well that they’ve kept us busy driving their trucks and equipment to shows for grand openings and customer appreciation events, so we did that exclusively,” said Tamera.

She and Todd decided to get back to driving as well going forward.

Tamera said she likes to show women that driving a truck could be a fun and profitable career.

“The last I heard, the average truck driver only lasts nine months,” she said. “I feel like a pioneer for women especially, but also for any potential driver. This job is about attitude. Trucks are like motorhomes now. Once you get past the first year of driving, you can pretty much go wherever you want. Maybe I’m a freak, but I love the road life, the travel, and seeing new places.”

Tamera stays in shape by roller-skating whenever she can and takes her skates on the road. She’s competed in roller derby leagues all over, and it’s upgraded her confidence, strength and stamina.

Who’s the better driver—her or Todd? Tamera has a pat answer for that question. “I say me, and he says me too, so it’s unanimous!”

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