Diesel News’ US Correspondent has been a longtime judge at the top truck show in the US, the Shell SuperRigs. He reports from this year’s event.
This year it was off to Albert Lea, Minnesota for the annual Shell SuperRigs, the top truck glamour show in North America. It is more than that, of course, because 12 of the trucks in the show are chosen for the SuperRigs Calendar.
It doesn’t matter how the trucks place in the show, except Best of Show is guaranteed a place. The photographer and art director go out to recce sites that make good photo locations, then the scan the lot, there were 90 trucks there this year, for the other 11 to fill the calendar and give the competitors their month in the limelight.
Meanwhile the judging line was busy for two and a half days as the four judges, chosen from the trucking media, scored the competitors for appearance, originality and workmanship, ranking them with Best of Show and two runners up, five places each in Tractor, Tractor-Trailer and Classic, with sub classes for Limited Mileage and Show trucks, Peoples’ Choice and Hardest Working Trucker. Other categories scored for special prizes were best Interior, Engine, Theme and Chrome. And one evening is given to picking the Best Lights.
And it’s not just the glory. There’s a lot of cash, Shell product and Shell ‘My Miles Matter’ loyalty points to be won.
Best of Show was Theresa DeSantis with her 1985 Peterbilt 359 and 2016 East trailer with the theme The Witches Inn, featuring a lot of spider webs, spiders, witches, bats and other familiars on the beautiful red and black paint. To top it off, a pair of black boots were atop the hood tilt handle in a reference to the Wizard of Oz. It was a new entry, not seen before at SuperRigs, but it was the star of the show.
I have been a judge and cannot remember when a woman-owned and driven truck has picked up Best of Show. For her efforts, DeSantis picked up $10,000 for top place award plus she pulled in best theme and best engine.
While DeSantis truck was judged the best working truck, the most attractive with outstanding attention to detail was Jake Lindamood’s beautiful black and blue show Peterbilt. But it didn’t score a point.
On the way to this year’s SuperRigs in Albert Lea, Minnesota., Lindamood stopped at a truckstop for a meal and while he was inside, some envious and demented driver pulled the fifth-wheel pin. Lindamood set out and the trailer slid off the fifth wheel and dropped onto the ground, luckily not destroying the landing gear but taking out the rear frame, light bar and one of the rear fenders.
What sort of lunatic does that? It is stupid and incredibly dangerous, because the trailer could have stayed on the fifth wheel onto a freeway, then separated and caused a horrendous accident.
Lindamood continued to the show, but the contest judges had to rule the truck out of the Show Truck category. After all, a show truck has to be perfect to show and be judged.
It was a bitter disappointment not just to Lindamood, but to many of the other contestants, because the truck is such a jewel. And despite having the most incredible chromed-up engine, under the rules it couldn’t even be judged for that or lights at night.
Bad luck Jake. Bring it back next year and take away the gold. And to the person who pulled the pin, rot in hell.
David Gramberg lost a leg several years ago in a motorcycle accident but he was there at 2019 SuperRigs polishing on his truck. A late arrival, he had not much time to make the judging line, especially as he’s also lost the use of his right arm. So in true SuperRigs spirit, his competitors helped clean and polish the truck to a third place in the prime mover division and the Most Hard Working Trucker award.
That’s a stellar example of the camaraderie of SuperRigs. In the 30 years I have been a judge I have seen many such selfless examples of competitors helping others to show the best they can.
And SuperRigs is all about showing the best you can. These are the most spectacular supertrucks on the highway. They are working trucks and they reflect a part of the industry that is giving its best to make America great.
All power to them.