The Great West Truck Show in Las Vegas, Nevada has always been a pretty safe bet. Even the last few years, as the show has shrank in size, it has still been a good place to do business – and have fun while doing it. We have always considered this show to be in our “backyard” and have never missed one since 1994, when it was still in Anaheim, CA.
This year’s show, once again held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on June 9-11, was not very big, and was uncharacteristically “quiet” for much of the time. But, while walking around and talking to exhibitors, most had good things to say about the show – including us. It seems that the smaller a show is these days, the less distractions there are, too, which allows more business to get done.
Walking the show floor, we found plenty of friends and advertisers, including Darren Parker and Josh from Lincoln Chrome, Frank Pangburn and his crew from Truckin’ for Kids, Bruce and Pete from Pittsburgh Power, Webb from ALT Wheels, Shaun from PDI and Jim from Axle Surgeons, to name a few. We also made some new friends, like Matt Meza from Logolights and Art Alvarez of Black Bone Studio. Art was at the show to debut his new line of edgy trucking apparel called Big’N Rigged, and his exciting designs really drew the crowds to their booth. A few of the bigger names on display included Freightliner (the only OEM), Mobil-Delvac, Continental Tires, Progressive Commercial and Hankook Tires.
Over in the Ol’ Blue, USA Safety Center® Trooper Elmer Johnson and his team from the Nevada Highway Patrol were on-hand to answer questions about pertinent rules and regulations, as well as perform vehicle inspections and give logbook demonstrations. On Saturday morning, with help from Sgt. Pete Camm (Retired) of the California Highway Patrol and Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant with the Nebraska State Patrol, Trooper Johnson performed a required full Level 1 inspection on Ol’ Blue, RJ Taylor’s famous 1951 Kenworth (which passed the inspection with flying colors).
One popular attraction on display at the show was the world’s largest limousine. “The Midnight Rider” boasts 460 square feet of pure luxury and is reserved for those who expect the very best. Representative of the luxury days of railroad travel, the rig is classified as a “Tractor-Trailer Limousine” and is the only one of its kind. The “Power Unit” is a black Peterbilt 379 and the “Party Unit” is a custom 40-passenger trailer with three lounges, a full bar, large-screen TVs and more. To see more (or to make a reservation) visit www.themidnightrider.com.
But the rigs that most came to see were the ones competing in the Pride & Polish Truck Beauty Contest. About 30 trucks were on-hand to compete for not only trophies, but also a chance to earn a spot in the National Championships in August.
The trucks that earn a “Best of Show” award are now invited to the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas to compete for the National Championship prize against the other Best of Show winners from four Pride & Polish events held across the country. At this event, the Best of Show winners included Jerry Kissinger, Armando Burguan of Yamko, Isaac Aguilar of Sandvik Trucking (our February 2009 cover), and John Silva (our March 2010 cover).
Although there were some great trucks in attendance, like Scott Diller’s new A-Model (our May 2011 cover), Stephen Ashburn’s blue and orange flamed car hauler, Ryan Hooten’s western-themed hay truck (our February 2008 cover), Lil’ Rays set of matching Peterbilt combos (our April 2011 cover) and Vinnie Diorio’s current black and orange ride, the freshest rig in the room (and we mean fresh) was the latest build from Jeff Botelho.
Built for Ken & Rebecca Drake of Fortuna, CA by Botelho Custom Trucks, the 2003 Pete 379 had been rolled-over, and it was Jeff’s job to bring it back to life. With help from John Chamoro, the beautiful green truck now sports shaved door handles, 8” cab and sleeper extensions, “bullet” taillights from a 1959 Cadillac, two custom light bars, a painted dash and floor, a Botelho-designed visor, and 8” pipes from Lincoln Chrome. The front bumper, battery boxes and full rear fenders all came from Aranda, while the front fenders are from Jones Performance. In typical Jeff Botelho style, the truck arrived at the show late, but still took home a 1st Place trophy.
Of course, being in Las Vegas with many of our friends, we had to go out and enjoy the “nightlife” each and every night after the show closed (it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it). One night, we ventured out with 15 of our friends to The Palms Hotel and Casino in a super-stretched F750 Ford dually limo that could seat 20 – it was a lot of fun, to say the least (but I guess we didn’t follow our own advice about staying out of the casinos). Truck shows are fun, but the best part is hanging out with old friends and making new ones, too. We’d like to thank everyone who helped make our trip a blast (you know who you are). And the 2011 winners were…
WORKING BOBTAIL: 1st (tie) Ken Drake – 2003 Green Peterbilt 379 AND Chuck Prigge/Sandvik Trucking – 2005 Red & Brown Peterbilt 379; 2nd Armando Burguan/Yamko – 2009 Black Cherry Peterbilt 389; 3rd Theresa DeSantis – 1985 Red & Orange Peterbilt 359.
WORKING COMBO (2000 & OLDER): 1st Jerry Kissinger – 1991 Burnt Orange Mack Superliner & 2006 Great Dane Reefer; 2nd Ryan Hooten – 1995 Black Cherry Peterbilt 379 & 1994 Double Flats; 3rd (tie) Ray Rodriquez Jr./Lil’ Rays – 1988 Silver & Purple Peterbilt 379 & 2003 Fontaine Flatbed AND Ray Rodriquez Jr./Lil’ Rays – 2000 Silver & Purple Peterbilt 379 & 2006 Transcraft Flatbed.
WORKING COMBO (2005 & NEWER): 1st Cory Radtke/Vinnie Diorio – 2007 Black & Orange Peterbilt 379 & 2007 Mac Tarpside; 2nd Charlie Sarver/Tradewinds – 2005 Red Peterbilt 379 & 2008 Wilson Curtain Van; 3rd Tony Lewis/GSF – 2010 White International ProStar & 2010 Utility.
WORKING COMBO (FIRST SHOW): 1st Ron Perry – 1999 Red & White Peterbilt 379 & 2011 Western Flatbed; 2nd Tommy Larsen/Ryan’s Feed – 2008 White & Red Peterbilt 379 & 2012 Western Drop Deck; 3rd Bobby Turley/Tradewinds – 1997 Red Freightliner COE & 2012 East Curtain Van.
WORKING COMBO (SPECIALIZED): 1st Juan Henriquez/Yamko – 2010 Black Cherry Peterbilt 388 & 2002 Hyundai Container; 2nd Stephen Ashburn – 2005 Blue & Orange Peterbilt 379 & 2006 Boydstun Car Carrier.
INTERIOR (CAB ONLY): 1st Armando Burguan/Yamko – 2009 Black Cherry Peterbilt 389; 2nd Stephen Ashburn – 2005 Blue & Orange Peterbilt 379 & 2006 Boydstun Car Carrier; 3rd Juan Henriquez/Yamko – 2010 Black Cherry Peterbilt 388 & 2002 Hyundai Container.
INTERIOR (OEM SLEEPER): 1st Ryan Hooten – 1995 Black Cherry Peterbilt 379 & 1994 Double Flats; 2nd Cory Radtke/Vinnie Diorio – 2007 Black & Orange Peterbilt 379 & 2007 Mac Tarpside; 3rd Tuffy Yeary/KRY – 2001 Blue Kenworth W900L.
INTERIOR (AFTERMARKET SLEEPER): 1st Jerry Kissinger – 1991 Burnt Orange Mack Superliner & 2006 Great Dane Reefer.
BEST INTERIOR (LIMITED MILEAGE): Isaac Aguilar/Sandvik Trucking – 1992 Burgundy Peterbilt 379.
ENGINE (WORKING TRUCK): 1st Juan Henriquez/Yamko – 2010 Black Cherry Peterbilt 388 & 2002 Hyundai Container; 2nd Jerry Kissinger – 1991 Burnt Orange Mack Superliner & 2006 Great Dane Reefer; 3rd Armando Burguan/Yamko – 2009 Black Cherry Peterbilt 389.
PAINT (WORKING BOBTAIL): 1st Armando Burguan/Yamko – 2009 Black Cherry Peterbilt 389; 2nd Theresa DeSantis – 1985 Red & Orange Peterbilt 359; 3rd Tuffy Yeary/KRY – 2001 Blue Kenworth W900L.
PAINT (WORKING COMBO): 1st (tie) Juan Henriquez/Yamko – 2010 Black Cherry Peterbilt 388 & 2002 Hyundai Container AND Cory Radtke/Vinnie Diorio – 2007 Black & Orange Peterbilt 379 & 2007 Mac Tarpside; 2nd Ray Rodriquez Jr./Lil’ Rays – 1988 Silver & Purple Peterbilt 379 & 2003 Fontaine Flatbed; 3rd Stephen Ashburn – 2005 Blue & Orange Peterbilt 379 & 2006 Boydstun Car Carrier.
BEST ANTIQUE: Kenny Yeary/KRY – 1978 Red & Brown KW W900L.
BEST PAINT (LIMITED MILEAGE COMBO): John Silva – 2000 Red Peterbilt 379 & 1975 Utility Double Flatbeds.
BEST OF SHOW (LIMITED MILEAGE BOBTAIL): Isaac Aguilar/Sandvik Trucking – 1992 Burgundy Peterbilt 379.
BEST OF SHOW (LIMITED MILEAGE COMBO): John Silva – 2000 Red Peterbilt 379 & 1975 Utility Double Flatbeds.
BEST OF SHOW (WORKING BOBTAIL): Armando Burguan/Yamko Truck Lines – 2009 Black Cherry Peterbilt 389.
BEST OF SHOW (WORKING COMBO): Jerry Kissinger – 1991 Burnt Orange Mack Superliner & 2006 Great Dane Reefer.