The first six out of 36 qualifiers for the Stars & Stripes truck show series, sponsored by Freightliner and Chevron, were named yesterday at Newport's Truckerfest at The Alamo Travel Center in Reno/Sparks, Nev.
The owners and/or drivers of these six rigs will get a chance to compete for $160,000 in cash prizes at the Stars & Stripes championship, hosted by Newport and the National Assn. of Show Trucks, next March at the Mid-America Trucking Show.
The awards were handed out Sunday at Midday as Truckerfest 2000 wrapped up. An eager crowd awaited the results, as class winners were handed out. The competition seemed stiffer than ever this year; in fact, the awards were delayed somewhat as several tiebreakers were judged.
Best of Show Bobtail was a first-time contestant at Truckerfest last year. It was Dale and Paula Murray's purple Kenworth, and they accepted the award in matching purple shirts. Best of Show Combo was Prochnow Farms' Ron and Sky Deardorff, a white rig nicknamed "The White House" - it even has a red hotline phone on the dash.
The tension built as the Stars & Stripes qualifiers were saved for last. They are as follows:
· Bobtail First Place: Jim and Sue Muchler, for their 1999 white Peterbilt owned by 77 Express. The Muchlers have put their own money into this company truck, which features a fireman theme, with a fireman's prayer on the back of the bunk. The rig was set up on red carpet and surrounded by a firehose, a child's pedal fire truck and other themed items.
· Bobtail Second Place: Brad Van Dyke's green Peterbilt
· Bobtail Third Place: Brian Pamberger's yellow lowrider 1980 Peterbilt 359
· Combo First Place: Marvin and Barb Knight's "Almost Paradise," a 1999 Kenworth with tropical and undersea murals on both tractor and trailer. They displayed it surrounded by potted palms and other tropical themed items, and even gave away plastic leis to show attendees. The Knights run 77 Express and also own the Bobtail first place qualifier driven by the Muchlers.
· Combo Second Place: Harry Hardin's "Smiley," a black 1985 Peterbilt custom-built from the ground up in honor of Hardin's son, who was killed by gunfire.
· Combo Third Place: Dean Pliaconis' 2000 white Kenworth W900
All the qualifiers received trophies and special Stars & Stripes qualifier letterman-type jackets. Third place qualifiers received $500 each, second place $1,000, and first place $2,000.
NAST's Bob Guy took the opportunity to thank the staff at The Alamo and Newport for putting on Truckerfest. "I've been to a lot of truck shows, but no one puts on a better party than these folks here," he said.
The next Stars & Stripes qualifying truck show will take place September 7-9 at the Iowa 80 Truckstop, I-80 Exit 284, Walcott, Iowa. For more information, visit
Caption: First place bobtail and first place combo Stars & Stripes qualifiers are both owned by 77 Express.