Other participants sat to the side, waiting their turn and exclaiming over the hair and makeup of the others. Making the scene even more chaotic were the photographers. A camera and sound crew from a company hoping to make a documentary about truckers for PBS were among quite a number of onlookers and media who found the scene fascinating.
It was the annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree trucker makeovers, done yesterday during the festivities at the Iowa 80 truckstop in Walcott, Iowa.
Bette, editor-at-large for Newport's RoadStar and a well-known trucking photographer, was "in a former life," as she puts it, a fashion coordinator, doing makeup for pageants and the like. She's been doing these makeovers now for quite a few years for lady truckers - and occasionally for men, as well - and the before and after shots are featured in the magazine.
Elaine Liekhus was the first to fall under Bette's magic makeup brush. Elaine, who has been driving for 11 years with her husband as owner-operators, had just makeup done, so she got her makeover while the others were getting their hair done. Elaine says she's seen the makeovers in the magazine every year, but this was the first time she was in the right place at the right time to actually participate. "She can really pick the colors," she said of Bette's makeup job. "I always seem to pick something too orange, or too pink. This is just right."
Lynette Myers, an owner-operator with her own truck, "Precious Dreams," was next. Myers' truck was entered in the Super Truck Beauty Contest - a beautiful feminine vision in purples and pinks with angels and dolls and highly unusual pink-and-black button tuck sleeper interior.
Teresa Hockaday, a team with her owner-operator husband and competitors in the truck beauty contest with their aqua rig, was eager to get Bette's makeup treatment. "I feel weird without any makeup on," she said.
Alice Austin, a tall, leggy blonde who's been running flatbed for eight months and loving it, got 6 to 8 inches of her long hair cut off. She was willing to do it, she said, because she wanted to be in RoadStar. The result was modern-looking and no doubt easier to care for on the road.
As she did their makeup, Bette gave the women tips on how to apply it themselves, and what lesser routines to adopt on busy days on the road. She used natural-looking colors, nothing "over the top." And they got to take the makeup home with them for free.
Later in the day, they got the chance to show off their new looks as part of the Harley Davidson fashion show, decked out in leather vests, coats and caps.
Sarah Beth Freeman, a 53-year-old driver for Celadon with 10 years accident-free, who also had her and her fiance's truck in the truck beauty show, summed it up well. The makeover was fun and relaxing, she said, and after working for 24 hours getting the truck ready for the show, she said, "I earned it!"
Look for before-and-after photos in the September issue of RoadStar magazine.