This shiny orange and white Pete 379 is owned by Spencer “Hollywood” Starrett and leased to Starrett Rock, Sand and Gravel. Spencer’s father, Dennis, owns Starrett Rock, a local company in which he and his son work together to deliver and supply their community with rock for all types of needs. With Dennis’ love for trucks and Spencer’s passion to rebuild them and trick them out, they have put together the perfect working show truck – which they affectionately call “Hillbilly Deluxe” in homage to their small-town Missouri roots.
Dennis’ love for trucks began when he was a child. In 1991, Dennis began to pursue his dream and purchased his first truck. From there, his career of being an owner-operator began. Throughout the years, Dennis has owned several trucks, and if you would ask him, the only true truck in his eyes is a Peterbilt. Each member of the family has been involved in the trucking business in some shape or form. When Spencer was a kid, Dennis gave him a welding unit and a helmet so he could start helping out with the repair and maintenance of their trucks and trailers. Throughout the years, Dennis (53) and Spencer (27) have done the majority of the upkeep and repairs on the equipment for the business. Spencer’s sister Nicole married William Parsons who also had “truck fever” – since then, he has helped in many ways with the family business, as well.
In the fall of 2010, Dennis and Spencer decided to take a vacation and road trip to the “Guilty by Association Truck Show” (GBATS) held in Joplin, Missouri. Before getting to the show, they stopped at a friend’s salvage yard to look at a wrecked 1996 Peterbilt 379. After arriving back at home from the road trip, they talked to the head of the house (mom) and told her about the so-called “jewel” that they found in the junkyard. Needless to say, mom was not that impressed, but she eventually did agree to purchase the 1996 Peterbilt they found that day at the salvage yard. This is the point where Spencer really began to use the skills he had accumulated from both school (he studied for two years at an auto body repair school and one year in college) and hands-on training and experience. But, by far, the best education Spencer ever received is his time and hard work rebuilding the working show truck you see here.
The project took about a year to complete. The final paint was finished just days prior to its maiden voyage to the 2011 show in Joplin, MO. They had a great time that year, showing the truck as a bobtail, but vowed to be bigger and better the following year. And they were not kidding! After the show, more details were performed during the year, and then, about three months before the 2012 show, they purchased a 2009 MAC end dump trailer and fixed it up to match the truck. But this is no “show” trailer – it is used every day to haul farm commodities and assist Dennis with his rock delivery business. After the final polish job was performed on the truck and trailer, it was off to the truck show.
The 2012 Guilty by Association Truck Show in Joplin, MO was held on September 28-29. The show is organized and set up by the Martin family at 4 State Trucks, the home of the Chrome Shop Mafia. This is a huge event that helps raise money for Special Olympics and other local charities. In 2012 alone, over $25,000 was raised. Over 250 trucks competed in the 2012 event, so the Starrett’s Peterbilt and MAC trailer was competing against many formidable trucks in its class. But, after all was said and done, “Hillbilly Deluxe” out-shined them all and got the most votes to be selected for the People’s Choice award in the combo division. With this award, Dennis and Spencer Starrett received a large trophy to show off for all of their hard work and time. They also received a $500 check that was presented, in their name, to the Soul’s Harbor Shelter. What an honor!
In just minutes of accumulating the awards and cheers, Dennis said to his son Spencer, “In my eyes, dreams really do come true.” What a wonderful honor for two of Schuyler County Missouri’s finest truckers to be a part of. Congratulations to Spencer and Dennis – your “Hillbilly Deluxe” rig showed them city-slickers how it’s done! We will see you again in Joplin later this year, for sure.