SAN ANTONIO -- Since its inception 11 years ago, the Rush Service Center Technician Rodeo has grown steadily in its scale, scope and stature. Today, the event serves to honor the dedication and service of Rush technicians from around the country, as well as to reward the company's best and brightest.
Since 2010, the event has been held in San Antonio, Texas, each December, and now includes educational seminars and classroom lectures on the latest tech trends from a host of Rush suppliers as well as an exhibit hall showcasing new products and services.
This year's event began with 1,100 participants taking 1,800 supplier-provided written tests, resulting in 165 finalists, the best technicians from Rush dealerships, competing at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio. Finalists also enjoy a week of social events, food and drink, as Rush Service Centers to honor the technicians that keep its customers on the road all year long.
This year, Rush technicians competed in six categories, including collision, heavy-duty, medium-duty, parts and specialty, as well as a rising star category designed to involve, recognize and encourage the youngest generation of technicians working at Rush dealerships.
At a standing-room only reception Monday night at the historic Buckhorn Saloon in San Antonio, Marcus Demel, director of operations and program development for Rush, read off the names of the Rush technicians who had made the final cut and will compete to be named Rush's Top Tech of 2016 Tuesday.
Rush's 2016 Tech Rodeo finalists are:
- Randy Brehm, Rush Truck Center – San Antonio
- Alejandro Gonzalez, Rush Truck Center – Atlanta
- Ronald Hall, Rush Truck Center – Dallas Light- and Medium-Duty
- John O’Brien, Rush Truck Center – Orlando South
- Aaron Van Straten, Custom Vehicle Solutions
- Steven Brain, Rush Truck Center – Dallas Medium-Duty
- Matthew Pogue, Rush Truck Center – San Antonio
- Rick Nonamaker, Rush Truck Center – Waco
- Chris Williams, Rush Truck Center – Denver
- Eric Custead, Rush Truck Center – Hickory
- Lucas Manlief, Rush Truck Center – Indianapolis
- Dustin Ebert, Rush Truck Center – Phoenix
- Travis Graham, Rush Truck Center – Orlando
Heavy-Duty, Alternative Fuels
- Joe Ulakovic, Rush Truck Center – Dallas
- Will Young, Rush Truck Center – Oklahoma City
- Matthew Chilson, Rush Truck Center – Houston
- Christopher Jordan, Rush Truck Center – Carol Stream
- Nicholas Misch, Rush Truck Center – San Antonio
- Brian Noska, Rush Truck Center – Sealy
- Paul Serr, Rush Truck Center – Denver
- Jason Swann, Rush Truck Center – Dallas
Heavy-Duty, Navistar Engine
- Michael Denero, Rush Truck Center – Charlotte
- Derik Frazier, Rush Truck Center – Cincinnati
- Brandon Sloan, Rush Truck Center – Salt Lake City
Heavy-Duty, Paccar MX
- Glenn Boothe, Rush Truck Center – Nashville
- Mark Craver, Rush Truck Center – Mobile
- Erick Lincoln, Rush Truck Center – Albuquerque
The Rush Tech Rodeo semi-finalists will compete in final rounds Tuesday at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Category winners and the 2016 Grand Champion will be announced Tuesday evening at a banquet at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Antonio.