SAN ANTONIO -- Rush Enterprises is hosting 106 technicians from its dealerships around the U.S. for its eighth annual Tech Skills Rodeo, again held in the company’s hometown of San Antonio.
Testing in 13 categories started on Sunday and will conclude Tuesday, with the grand winners announced at a banquet that evening.
About 600 technicians who volunteered to participate this year began the competition several months ago. Winners in local Rush-sponsored skills contests became the 106 finalists who made the trip here, said Mike Besson, vice president of dealership operations and customer care, who helped found the event in 2006 and directs it each year.
About nine out of 10 finalists brought spouses, and all were flown in and put up at the Grand Hyatt Hotel astride a canal that’s part of the city’s Riverwalk complex. Rush pays all expenses for them and many of the additional 440 guests and participants.
Dealer and supplier personnel act as judges at multiple problem-solving stations, where competitors troubleshoot trucks and components that have been bugged with specific woes. Peterbilt, International, Hino and Isuzu trucks are among the equipment at the stations.
New testing areas this year are natural gas, body repair, painting, Allison transmissions and IC-brand school buses.
“While sharing our goal of continuous improvement and development, our suppliers donate thousands of dollars to this program and spend countless hours preparing for this event,” Besson said in a welcoming statement to the technicians.
“I know that they get satisfaction from assisting in your personal and career development. That is what makes them great partners, like family, to the Rush team.”
Evening dinners and entertainment take up off-duty time. Tuesday will see an appearance by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, whose Number 14 car is partly sponsored by Rush Truck Centers. Stewart, who has won a dozen titles in three racing leagues, is also co-owner of Stewart-Hass Racing.