The biggest buzz around the 15th annual Great American Trucking Show (GATS) was the crowning of their “National Champion” trucks. After competing (and winning) at official Pride & Polish events across the country, the top trucks came to GATS in hopes of taking home one of the four huge National Champion trophies, made by Lincoln Chrome. Held at the Dallas Convention Center on August 22-24, the show also featured the regular truck beauty contest, as well as hundreds of vendor booths and displays.
Although some attendees said they thought the show was a little “down” this year, it seemed great to us – the crowds were always steady, the business was good, and we ran out of magazines pretty early on the last day. We also debuted are special 20th anniversary poster, which featured EVERY ONE of our past covers – all 248 of them! It was a big hit with our longtime readers.
Breaking free from our booth for a bit on Friday, we were able to attend an interesting press conference announcing an upcoming big rig truck racing series for 2015. The ChampTruck World Series will feature 2-axle Class 8 tractors, slightly but not highly modified, competing throughout North America on world-class ovals and road racing courses like Daytona, Laguna Seca, Michigan, Charlotte, Virginia, Portland, Texas, Sonoma and more.
The series is being organized by racing promoter and driver John Condren, truck racer Mike Ryan, and our good friend and European correspondent Fabien Calvet, who is also the president of the Truck Racing Organization in Europe. With these guys at the helm, this series will be top-notch, but still have a “grassroots” feel about it. For more details, visit their website at www.champ-truck.com. We can’t wait!
Keeping very busy in our booth, we hardly had time to go out and walk the show floor. We were, however, able to get in early one morning and take most of our pictures before the crowds arrived. With about 70 trucks on the floor, it wasn’t the largest truck show ever, but there was some quality iron out there, for sure – some old favorites, and a few new ones, too.
In the regular GATS truck beauty contest, one of the names called out quite often at the awards ceremony was Brian Davis of Davis Bros. in Owensville, IN. Their 2005 blue and black “Super Freak” Peterbilt took home a ton of awards, including Best of Show Limited Mileage Combo. Another big winner was Shawn Gibson of Broken Bow, OK. His “Wicked Obsession” Peterbilt 389 earned two first place trophies, as well as the Best of Show Limited Mileage Bobtail award.
The other big winners in the regular GATS classes included some newcomers, too. Jerry Mies of Colwich, KS brought out his teal and white “Lactose Limousine” – a 2013 Peterbilt 389 with a Walker milk tanker, and earned four first place trophies and the Best of Show Working Combo award. Everybody at the show was talking about this one! Another truck we had never seen before was Raymond Riojas’ 1983 Peterbilt 359 from Waco, TX. Painted yellow with brown stripes, “Old Yellow” took home the big Best of Show Working Bobtail trophy – and looked good doin’ it.
One of our new friends, Shane Boullion from Louisiana, earned himself the 1st place trophy in the Working Bobtail First Show class with his 2001 Dark Rose Grey Peterbilt 379. Some other trucks that were looking great but, for some reason, did not take many (or any) awards home included Bill Hall’s “Deja Blue” 2005 Peterbilt 379X with white stripes, Henry Hall’s black 2004 Peterbilt 379 with red tribal stripes, and Lil’ Rays (Ray Rodriquez) two trucks from California. Ray did get one 1st place trophy and a couple 2nd place awards, but considering the level of detail on his two trucks, we would have expected to see him get a few more trophies.
Four proud winners took home one of the big, beautiful National Championship trophies: Josh Skidmore (Working Bobtail Champion), Billy Rethwisch (Working Combo Champion), Todd Roccapriore & Jerad Wittwer (Limited Mileage Bobtail Champion), and Vinnie Diorio (Limited Mileage Combo Champion). There was also a People’s Choice Champion, voted on by people online, before the show. Austin Ashley of Ashley Transport in Raleigh, MS and his awesome purple and white “Double Take” Peterbilt (one of our favorite trucks at the show) was the proud winner of this prestigious award. Way to go, Austin!
All-in-all, it was a great show. It was hot and sticky outside, but the convention center was nice and cool inside. With great trucks, nice people, good business, and fun times after hours with our friends, a truck show just doesn’t get much better than that. Our congratulations go out to all of the winners – especially the National Champions!
WORKING BOBTAIL (2000 & OLDER): 1st (tie) Michael Lemley, 2000 Red Peterbilt 379 AND Scott Rud, 2000 Silver & Red Peterbilt 379; 2nd Raymond Riojas/Hobbs Leasing, 1983 Yellow Peterbilt 359; 3rd Leniel Kimble, 1985 Taupe Peterbilt 359.
WORKING BOBTAIL (2001 & NEWER): 1st David Foster, 2005 Red & Silver Kenworth W900L; 2nd Tom Davis/Davis Bros., 2014 Black & Orange Peterbilt 389; 3rd Bubba Ray/Jack Odom, 2014 Copper Peterbilt 389.
WORKING BOBTAIL – FIRST SHOW (2010 & OLDER): 1st Shane Bouillion, 2001 Dark Rose Grey Peterbilt 379; 2nd Jerry Cruz/Erica Cruz, 2000 Black & Orange Peterbilt 379; 3rd Nick Hickman/Michael Pool, 2008 Pink & White Peterbilt 365.
WORKING BOBTAIL – FIRST SHOW (2011 & NEWER): 1st David Green/Werner, 2013 Blue Freightliner Cascadia; 2nd Benjamin Cadle, 2013 White & Green Freightliner Coronado; 3rd Larry “Moe” Smith/Harkness Litter Service, 2014 Orange & White Peterbilt 389.
WORKING BOBTAIL (COMPANY TRUCK): 1st David Kosar, Jr./Riteway, 2004 Blue Peterbilt 379; 2nd David Kosar, Sr./Riteway, 2008 White, Red & Gold Peterbilt 389.
WORKING BOBTAIL (PAINT): 1st Scott Rud, 2000 Silver & Red Peterbilt 379; 2nd David Foster, 2005 Red & Silver Kenworth W900L; 3rd David Kosar, Sr./Riteway, 2008 White, Red & Gold Peterbilt 389.
WORKING COMBO (2003 & OLDER): 1st Ray Rodriquez, 2000 Lavender & Purple Flamed Peterbilt 379 & 2006 Flatbed; 2nd Cody Pipkin, 2003 Blue Kenworth W900 & 2013 East Dump; 3rd Donnie Pipkin, 2002 Red Peterbilt 379 & 2013 MAC Dump.
WORKING COMBO (2004 & NEWER): 1st Jerry Mies, 2013 Teal & White Peterbilt 389 & 2007 Walker Milk Tanker; 2nd Jose Seguin, Jr./Bill Hall, Jr, 2005 Blue Peterbilt 379X & 2013 Vantage; 3rd Kyle Cousins, 2008 Black & Red Kenworth W900L & 2014 Great Dane Trailer.
WORKING COMBO (FIRST SHOW): 1st Victor Maiden/Stevens Transport, 2013 White Mack CHM613 & 2012 Southern Vac; 2nd Leonardo Martinez/AJ Lopez Trucking, 2004 Green Peterbilt 379 & Travis End Dump; 3rd Gilbert Velazquez/Go Tex Trucking, 2000 White Peterbilt 379 & 2013 Drop Deck Van.
WORKING COMBO – COMPANY TRUCK (2012 & OLDER): 1st Larry Brige/Integrated Wind, 1999 White Peterbilt 379 & 2014 Fontaine Revolution; 2nd Donald Senegal/Clark Freight Lines, 2012 Black Kenworth T660 & 1995 Utility Curtainside Trailer.
WORKING COMBO – COMPANY TRUCK (2013 & NEWER): 1st James Washington/Stevens Transport, 2014 Black Kenworth T680 & 2013 Utility Van; 2nd Tim Pietrzak/Werner, 2014 Light Blue Freightliner Evolution Cascadia & 2013 Wabash Van; 3rd James Lockhart/Ergon Trucking, 2013 Black & Purple Peterbilt 386 & 2008 Polar Tanker.
WORKING COMBO (PAINT): 1st Jerry Mies, 2013 Teal & White Peterbilt 389 & 2007 Walker Milk Tanker; 2nd Ray Rodriquez, 2000 Lavender & Purple Flamed Peterbilt 379 & 2006 Flatbed; 3rd Ron “Smitty” Smith/Harkness Litter Service, 1999 Purple Peterbilt 379 & 2012 Trinity.
INTERIOR (WORKING TRUCK): 1st Jerry Mies, 2013 Teal & White Peterbilt 389 & 2007 Walker Milk Tanker; 2nd Kyle Cousins, 2008 Black & Red Kenworth W900L & 2014 Great Dane; 3rd David Kosar, Jr./Riteway, 2004 Blue Peterbilt 379.
ENGINE (WORKING TRUCK): 1st Jerry Mies, 2013 Teal & White Peterbilt 389 & 2007 Walker Milk Tanker; 2nd (tie) David Kosar, Jr./Riteway, 2004 Blue Peterbilt 379 AND Ray Rodriquez, 2000 Lavender & Purple Flamed Peterbilt 379 & 2006 Flatbed; 3rd David Kosar, Sr./Riteway, 2008 White, Red & Gold Peterbilt 389.
ANTIQUE: 1st David Schnautz/Clark Freight Lines, 1985 Blue Kenworth K100E; 2nd Wade Wardlaw, 1975 White & Copper Peterbilt 359; 3rd David Schnautz/Clark Freight Lines, 1981 Blue & Silver Kenworth W900A.
LIMITED MILEAGE (INTERIOR): Brian Davis/Davis Bros., 2005 Blue & Black Peterbilt 379 & 2012 Wilson Trailer.
LIMITED MILEAGE (ENGINE): (tie) Shawn Gibson, 2013 Black & Blue Peterbilt 389 AND Brian Davis/Davis Bros., 2005 Blue & Black Peterbilt 379 & 2012 Wilson Trailer.
LIMITED MILEAGE BOBTAIL (PAINT): Shawn Gibson, 2013 Black & Blue Peterbilt 389.
LIMITED MILEAGE COMBO (PAINT): Brian Davis/Davis Bros., 2005 Blue & Black Peterbilt 379 & 2012 Wilson Trailer.
BEST OF SHOW – LIMITED MILEAGE BOBTAIL: Shawn Gibson, 2013 Black & Blue Peterbilt 389 – “Wicked Obsession”
BEST OF SHOW – LIMITED MILEAGE COMBO: Brian Davis/Davis Bros., 2005 Blue & Black Peterbilt 379 & 2012 Wilson – “Super Freak”
BEST OF SHOW – WORKING BOBTAIL: Raymond Riojas/Hobbs Leasing, Inc, 1983 Yellow Peterbilt 359 – “Old Yellow”
BEST OF SHOW – WORKING COMBO: Jerry Mies, 2013 Teal & White Peterbilt 389 & 2007 Walker Milk Tanker – “Lactose Limousine”
NATIONAL 2013 CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES WINNERS
2013 LIMITED MILEAGE BOBTAIL CHAMPION: Todd Roccapriore & Jerad Wittwer/PDI, 2001 Blue & Black Peterbilt 379 – “Family Buziness”
2013 LIMITED MILEAGE COMBO CHAMPION: Vinnie Diorio, 2013 Orange & Purple Peterbilt 389 & 2009 MAC Curtainside – “Trendsettin”
2013 WORKING BOBTAIL CHAMPION: Josh Skidmore, Todd & Jim Henry/Skidmore Trans. Services, 2007 White & Yellow Peterbilt 379.
2013 WORKING COMBO CHAMPION: Billy Rethwisch, Jr./Rethwisch Transportation, 2012 Orange & White Peterbilt 389 & 2008 Polar Tanker.
2013 PEOPLE’S CHOICE CHAMPION (VIA ONLINE VOTING): Austin Ashley/Ashley Transport, 2007 Purple & White Peterbilt 379 – “Double Take”