Euler on stage accepting his award for Grand Champion of the Rush Technician Rodeo. Photo: Rush Truck Centers

Euler on stage accepting his award for Grand Champion of the Rush Technician Rodeo. Photo: Rush Truck Centers

At Rush Truck Centers’ 12th annual Technician Rodeo in San Antonio, Justin Euler, from Rush Truck Center, St. Peters, Mo, was named this year’s Grand Champion. Euler has been a technician with Rush for six years.

The first rodeo, which was attended by a total of 40 people, began in 2002 as a way for Rush, which was one of the fastest growing truck dealership networks in the country at the time, to reward, retain, and recruit badly needed diesel engine technicians.

Today, Rush is firmly entrenched as one of the country’s largest truck dealer networks and its annual Technician Rodeo has grown to be a splashy, star-studded event with almost 700 people in attendance, including NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer.

Rush technicians compete regionally for the opportunity to travel to San Antonio, TX, every December to compete for $225,000 in cash and prizes in a wide array of categories that cover every OEM and supplier and maintenance categories that Rush technicians deal with nationwide.

Ahead of announcing this year’s winners, Rush Trucks Center Chairman and CEO Rusty Rush praised his technicians, telling them, “It’s the work you do that makes us successful. And I’m not just talking about Monday through Friday, either. It’s Monday through Sunday, 24/7, and that’s what it takes for us to be successful and keep our customers on the road!”

This year’s Grand Champion attended the ceremony with his wife, Erin, and the couple’s 8-week old son, Jackson. His win represents the first time one of Rush’s smaller dealership locations has come away with with the Grand Champion honors.

Euler said after his win that he was “awestruck” by the “big surprise.” After the first round, I wasn’t sure how I did,” he said, looking back on the competition. “The second day, I thought I blew it. So I was really shocked when I heard my name.”

Euler started working on a farm when he was 14 years old and gradually become interested in becoming a technician. When he turned 16, he began working as a “tire buster” and eventually attended Denver Automotive Diesel College. He worked in the Denver area before moving to Missouri.

Asked to summarize his win and what it will mean for him going forward, Euler said, “It makes you more focused. But I’ll also try to put it behind me when I get back to the shop, so I can focus on customers. Meeting with suppliers is really helpful, to learn about what’s new and stay on top of the industry. The supplier expo at the Tech Rodeo gets bigger and better every year.”

Euler also said he would encourage young people considering a career as a diesel technician to select the right technical school for their goals and do their research to find the best program for them. “Stay educated on technology,” he added. “Because that is changing every day. If you keep up with technology, and with emissions, you will be good to go.”

Euler will leave San Antonio with over $18,000 in cash and prizes. “I need to let it soak in before deciding what to do with the earnings,” he said. “You never plan for it. I didn’t go in expecting to win, so I will probably be in shock for another month!”