Truck driver proves he is Carhartt Tough

John Irish, a truck driver from West Allis, WI, was chosen the second grand prize winner through a public vote in the Are You Carhartt Tough? contest.

The contest, run by Carhartt and uniform supplier Cintas Corp., required entries to submit an essay explaining why they displayed the qualities of Carhartt Toughness – strength, dependability, resilience, and ruggedness. Entries were accepted from Feb. 1, 2010, through Jan. 31, 2011, and the field was cut to 12 finalists for the public to vote on via the Internet.

“Not many endure this job for many years, because it’s so physically demanding, but I’m ten years into it and going strong,” said Irish. “My Carhartt jeans take a beating just like I do, but they’ve proven to be just as resilient as I am.”

For more on the contest and the two winners, check out this video:

Jonathan Backus, a lineman from Hampton, VA, and a cancer survivor, won the overall grand prize, a Duck Hunt Trip for Two designed by Ducks Unlimited. Irish will receive a trip for two to the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series this fall.

Irish delivers shingles to construction sites, carrying 100-lb. bundles up and down ladders all day. According to his essay, Irish estimates he lifts 51,000 lbs. per day.

In his essay, Irish writes:

“I will keep my story short and sweet. You can only be Carhartt tough enough if you have a job only a select few are willing to do. The job I perform on a daily basis involves me walking on roofs from one story up to four stories and of various inclines all the while catching bundles of shingles. The bundles, which are placed on a conveyor and sent to the person on the roof, can weigh upwards of 100 pounds and are placed on the roof in piles along the peak of the roof. I wear Carhartt jeans on a daily basis and they take a beating just like me. Keep this in mind as you choose who is tough enough. On average I take out four jobs per run and take out at least two runs. Each job is 75 bundles @ 85 pounds per bundle = 6375 pounds per job = 25,500 pounds per run = 51,000 pounds per day. THAT'S ALOT OF LIFTING!!! Not many have lasted doing this job and so far I've been doing it for over ten years. THAT'S TOUGH!! Then go home to a house full of girls. SUPER TOUGH!!”

To see all the essays submitted for the contest, visit

Congratulations John on excelling in your tough job and making truckers everywhere proud.