Shell’s annual SuperRigs calendar contest attracts America’s finest trucks and typically, 2011 showcased the skill and passion of US truckers not only vying for prizes in the various categories but also a highly coveted spot on the next US SuperRigs calendar. Our North American correspondent STEVE STURGESS wouldn’t miss it for quids, mainly because he’s one of the judges.
Shell’s calendar shoot and beauty show are still the biggest glamour event for trucks in North America and while this year’s 29th Shell Rotella SuperRigs contest saw just 60 sensationally prepared trucks lining up for honours in Kenly, North Carolina, the quality of the rigs was as high as ever.
The contest for America’s most glamorous rigs moves to a different venue each year but no matter where it’s held, truckers and their families come from all over to compete or to just stare and be amazed at the craftsmanship and attention to detail that make these the most spectacular rigs in American trucking: And all the more spectacular for the fact that the great majority are working trucks, earning a living day in and day out, and some with well over a million miles on the clock.
In most cases, the two and a half days event is paradise for Peterbilt fans with the iconic Paccar brand dominating exhibits. But Petes certainly don’t have a mortgage on the contest, with corporate cohort Kenworth also grabbing a healthy slice of the action along with a smattering of Freightliner and Mack.
As always though, there’s plenty of nail biting because except for the truck that wins ‘Best of Show’, a spot on the calendar is not necessarily guaranteed even if the rig is a winner in its class or category.
So in addition to the three top places there are also 15 class places and six category winners, but then only 11 available slots on the calendar. Altogether a lot of reasons for the owners of the nation’s top glamour trucks to pull out all the stops, as this selection of photos shows.
- Best of Show trophy and a $10,000 cheque went to Jeremy Heidersheit with his 2003 Peterbilt and immaculate soft-sided trailer.
- Proving that Petes don’t win everything, Scott Diller’s Kenworth W900 won its way into the SuperRigs calendar shoot. On the inside, the hot-rod theme displayed amazing craftsmanship.
- High achiever in the tractor-trailer class, for obvious reasons.
- Green mean machine was stunningly finished but it’s not a full-time working truck so it didn’t score highly with the judges
- Top scores in the Classic class were won by this ’96 Peterbilt 379 model. The story goes it was once a used and abused logging truck and believe it or not, it now spends its days in the muck and filth of the landfill business.
- Another highly awarded Kenworth. This one was also a star attraction in the ‘night lights’ show.
- Winner in the Top Tractor category, this ’06 Peterbilt 379 was something of a return to the old days with a small flat-top sleeper and creative striping.
- Earning a ‘First Runner-Up’ trophy and a fat cheque was this immaculate 2007 Peterbilt and soft-sided trailer combination.
- Top honors in the tractor-trailer class went to T. J. Timblin’s ’05 Kenworth W900L pulling a step-frame trailer. Despite losing a leg in a loading accident, young T.J. still drives just about every day.
- Farmers Oil fuel tanker rig was judged ‘Peoples Choice’ by fellow competitors and show visitors alike. Easy to see why!
- This Pete didn’t win a place in any particular class event but it was still judged good enough to win a spot in the SuperRigs calendar.
- There’s still bite in the old dog. Best Engine presentation went to a V8 Mack Super-Liner, along with Best Interior and a runner-up trophy for Best of Show.
- In the 29 year history of the Shell SuperRigs event, this 1989 LTL is the first Ford to win a place in the calendar.
- Southern pride. The stripes are straight from Starsky and Hutch and the detail was good enough to win a coveted place on the calendar.
- A trick paint scheme and ‘extra’ shiny wheels on the tridem of this Kenworth W900L grabbed the judges’ attention and a spot on the SuperRigs 2012 calendar.
- Patriot! The mural on this 2001 Freightliner needs no explanation.
- Looks are deceiving because despite the immaculate appearance of truck and trailer, this outfit is a true workhorse, spending its days spreading fertiliser in fields.
- Three million miles and a fastidious owner have been amazingly kind to this 1987 Peterbilt.
- Black beauty. Even at SuperRigs there’s still a place for the minimal look.