A sense of pride, professionalism and love for the job have been attracting hardworking truck drivers and owner-operators to Shell Rotella SuperRigs for the past four decades, and the 41st edition is no different.
Winning a prize would be great, but securing a spot in next year’s Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar is a big deal too. Compliments received during the show are a bonus. And even better, families build relationships and memories to last a lifetime.
Canadian and American big rigs loaded with chrome and lights have rolled into Gillette, Wyoming’s CAM-PLEX for the truck beauty show that runs until June 10.
Barry Kasdorf, who drives for Winnipeg-based Jade Transport, is among them. And the longhaul trucker knows a thing or two about keeping his equipment in top shape. He was selected for the 2010 calendar during the 2009 installment of SuperRigs.
Whenever Kasdorf’s done for the day, he spends an hour or so tidying up his truck for the day to come. Only then does he tuck into supper, grab a shower, and go to bed.
“You are an ambassador for the industry,” says Kasdorf, 61, who has been driving for Jade Transport for the past 21 years.
“When your truck is clean, you are happier and it’s better for your spirit.”
Jeremy Reich and his son Colt drove four hours to participate in their first SuperRigs. They’ve been to a few shows, but none of them were this big.
“I’ve always dreamt of being part of the event and my son wanted to show our black truck [2007 Peterbilt 379],” says the 46-year-old owner-operator, who bought his first truck when he was 18. In addition to this one, he also owns a 1994 Peterbilt 379, and a 1995 Model 362.
He agrees it’s a lot of work to keep the truck clean and tidy, but says the effort is worth it due to the compliments he receives.
Colt, who has been riding with dad Reich also loves going to shows and seeing trucks. “We’ve put on a lot of miles together,” Reich says with a smile.
Rookie SuperRigs participant Mark Aragon and his son Payton, 14, rolled in from Colorado with their green extended-hood 2016 Pete 379 that was turning heads.
Payton is the driving force behind the four-year project that has strengthened the father-son bond.
Aragon says his son always had a passion for trucks. The boy would take trucks given as presents for Christmas and birthdays, cut them in half, and glue them together to make longer rigs or change sleepers on them.
The owner operator is happy to fuel his son’s dreams. “I do it for my son’s passion. I love to see the smile on his face.”
For Iowa owner-operator Pat Lahr, his 2022 Pete 389 is home away from home. “I’m proud to get in and out of it. When people come and say something nice at a truck stop, that’s what we live for.”
Lahr, who has been trucking for 11 years, says only the best of the best show up for SuperRigs. “Everyone wants a calendar spot, and to get a spot would be an honor.”
Rob Harris — at the show with wife Gloria, son Robbie, and his grandson — has been driving for almost 50 years, and is participating simply because he enjoys it. He says his fleet has an image to uphold and is kept shining.
“It’s a bit of pride too,” he adds.
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