Member Profile: Junior Elmore

Those who know Junior Elmore describe him as a veteran trucker, a tireless activist and defender of truckers’ rights. If there’s a red hot trucking issue on the table, or a problem that needs fixing, long-time OOIDA member Junior Elmore is quick to pick up the gauntlet. Junior says there are too many truckers who don’t have time to go to bat for themselves or go to court to fight for their rights. “I found out I was good at getting things done for the little guy,” he says. “So I’ve taken it on myself to help.” Junior’s trucking career began after serving with the U.S. Navy in the ’50s. At 21 he became an owner-operator and began driving for Frontier Refinery. After that, he hauled missile fuel for a few years for Asbury Transportation. “I liked driving trucks,” he says, “but I saw an opportunity to get into the service end of trucking and grabbed it.” Junior opened a service station in Wyoming where he repaired and serviced trucks for years with stints of driving in between. He hauled mail for the government and piggyback freight for Union Pacific until UP changed management. Junior accused them of withholding settlements and sued for his back pay. He says he not only received his $30,000, but an additional $5,000 for harassment. In 1972, Junior took on the Wyoming Highway Patrol over alleged unfair dispatch practices for tow truck drivers on behalf of the Wyoming Professional Towing Association. He hired a lawyer and won a $2,000 settlement. “That was a big thing then,” he explained. “Now, I rarely use a lawyer. I’ve become pretty good at talking to judges.” From 1986 to 1994, Junior lobbied in the Wyoming Legislature on behalf of truckers and tow truck drivers. He was there so many times asking for changes in legislation that Wyoming lawmakers still call him Rep. Elmore. In between sessions, Junior hauled freight and operated his trucking and towing business from his home in Cheyenne. His wife Genene does the bookkeeping. Junior says one of his most monumental victories came because of a ticket. In 1992, he was ticketed for passing a Colorado Port of Entry because he refused to stop in the emergency lane where trucks were backed onto the highway. He says he wasn’t about to let Colorado get away with ticketing truckers for being safe, so back to court he went. The judge on the bench was aware of the port’s problems and reduced his fine, but Junior wasn’t through with Colorado. He wrote a letter to OOIDA and that letter appeared in an issue of Land Line. Colorado member Robert Johnston read the letter, called Junior Elmore and the two truckers drew up a battle plan. They recruited OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Rick Craig to testify that the port presented a safety issue for truckers. “We discussed safety issues at the ports at a number of meetings,” said Craig. “Then Junior and Robert Johnston took up the battle.” “I credit Rep. Mark Larson with pushing legislation through,” Junior says. “He secured about $4 million in transportation funds to fix the ports. You should see them now. The truck at the back of the line hits a plate in the road for three seconds and the closed sign lights up and they can bypass. They have PrePass too.” Scale backup wasn’t the only problem at the ports. Junior also campaigned to have the restrooms fixed. “We battled all these problems for eight years,” Elmore explained. “Finally it all came together. I credit the regional supervisor, Jerry Pierce, with some of it. He understood that truckers are people too and deserve clean restrooms.” “I’ll never quit trucking,” says Junior. “I haven’t made enough money yet to quit and besides, I love it.” Health problems, however, have recently forced Junior to scale back on time behind the wheel. He still runs his business from his home in Cheyenne and he still writes Congress and calls legislators about the issues that affect truckers. Junior feels that he’s accomplished enough as a working man and is satisfied that he can still “get off his butt” and go to battle for fair treatment of truckers.

–Donna Carlson