Features
OOIDA members sweep top spots at NATS
What’s better than a convention center full of great looking trucks, proud drivers and an appreciative public? When all the top trophy winners are OOIDA members.

— by Suzanne Stempinski, special correspondent

There was plenty of excitement at the 32nd annual North American Trucking Show, held for the first time in Baltimore April 29 to May 1.

The show truck event, the latest in the Stars & Stripes Truck Beauty Contest Series, was sponsored by Peterbilt Motors Co., Chevron DELO, Newport’s RoadStar Magazine, OOIDA, Rockwood Products, Alcoa Wheel Products, Bridgestone/Firestone Tire Co., PPG Industries, Howes Lubricator Products, Valley Chrome Plating, Road Works Manufacturing Inc., Truk-Rodz by Jones Performance, White Diamond Metal Polish, K&L Chrome Shop and Rig Skirts.

Best of Show Bobtail winner Rick Rollman had a lot to celebrate. The Rollman family has been hauling freight for the same customers (chocolate, animal containers, spring water and wood products) for more than 45 years. Rick, a fourth-generation trucker, began driving truck at age 6, behind the wheel of a B61 Mack with blocks on the pedals so he could reach them. By age 13, he spent his summers running “team” to Texas.

Today, Rick has an immaculate 2002 Peterbilt 379. With a paint scheme of white, purple and black and blindingly bright chrome, stainless and aluminum, Rollman’s truck looks almost too good to run down the road. But run it does, already racking up 230,000 miles running the East Coast and Midwest.

His victory at NATS was made especially sweet because his parents were there to share in his celebration. His dad hasn’t left their shop in Lititz, PA, (six miles from Lancaster) for any kind of vacation in 45 years. He has worked seven days a week, living the philosophy of taking care of the customers first. Rick’s mom is recovering from a brain tumor, diagnosed just a few months ago.

Dad finally decided to take a break and check out the truck show where Rick was competing. His parents arrived in time to see him win and to help him carry an armload of trophies away from the awards ceremony. Their pride and his delight in being able to share his success made this a truly special event. He left the show and went right back trucking — because Rick, like his dad, believes in taking care of the customers first.

OOIDA member Chris Outland is one of five drivers for Blittersdorf Towing & Recovery out of Toughkenamon, PA (a mile from the Delaware line). It is rare that the heavy-duty tow truck he drives gets pulled off the road for anything other than regularly scheduled maintenance. With a fleet of 10 trucks and five drivers, each driver is versatile; in and out of every truck as needed.

Even though the Blittersdorf team strives to keep their trucks looking their best at all times, getting this heavy hauler ready to show was still a big job — it required plenty of advance planning and just plain good luck not to be called out on an emergency. 

The winner of the People’s Choice Award, this truck features (among other things) a permanently mounted fish tank in a compartment behind the cab. Why put one there? Well, Michael Blittersdorf was inspired by something he had seen on the Spike Channel and decided to give it a try. So, live fish run down the road on a regular basis, hooking on to big rigs and other vehicles in distress. So far, they’ve had no problems with the tank — its special Plexiglas cover protects the fish and provides sufficient airflow as they make their recoveries.

Some of the happiest people at NATS were Randy and Jona Rebillard. Hailing from Gimli, Manitoba, Canada, they were awarded two trophies — but that’s not why they come to truck shows.

“Going to a truck show gives you the kick to do stuff you know you need to do to your truck,” Randy explains. “It’s also a great chance to have a ‘truck show family’ reunion. We don’t get to see most of these people often, and we’re always making new friends, too.”

Jona, who works as a nurse and spends her vacation at truck shows with Randy, says, “Randy and I even give each other truck-related birthday gifts. Last year, he gave me a fifth wheel cover painted with a steam engine, and I gave him a rear tractor bumper. This year, we’re still working out what the gifts will be — but they’ll still be about the truck.”

Their elegant dark blue Peterbilt 379, called “Tired Iron,” turns heads everywhere it goes.

“I wanted to order it with twin sticks, but the factory wouldn’t allow it,” Randy said. “I just really like the old-fashioned look.”And it sure looks good.

Photos by Suzanne Stempinski.

And the trophies were awarded to...

BOBTAIL - 2002 & NEWER
1st Rick Rollman - 2002 white and purple Peterbilt 379
2nd Donald and Susan Pardue - 2002 blue Peterbilt 379 - “Bad to the Bone”
3rd Randy and Jona Rebillard - 2002 blue Peterbilt 379 - “Tired Iron”

BOBTAIL - 2001 & OLDER
1st Ron and Jan Huey - 2000 metallic silver International 9400
2nd Carl and Doris Johnson - 1996 blue and white Freightliner Classic - “Northern Fantasy”

BOBTAIL - DAYCAB
1st Bob Mitchell/Hillwick Trucking - 2004 lime green Peterbilt 379
2nd Tony Boston/Trapp Enterprises - 2001 silver Peterbilt 379
3rd Allen Judy Surridge - 2001 silver and gray Kenworth W900L

BOBTAIL - COMPANY TRUCK
1st Fred Mayne/Specified Commodity Carriers - 2004 rose Kenworth W900L
2nd Robert Harnish/S&H Express - 1999 blue Freightliner Classic
3rd Paul Lane/Granite Transportation - 2003 maroon International 9400

COMBO - OWNER-OPERATOR
1st Leonard and Charlene Testerman - 1995 burgundy Peterbilt 359/2004 Reitnour stepdeck - “Rollin’ Thunder”
2nd Danny Strang - 1996 blue Peterbilt 377/1992 Brenner tanker - “Ragin’ Cajun”

COMBO - COMPANY TRUCK
1st Max Haertling/Mike McLane - 1997 white and red Kenworth W900L/1998 Great Dane reefer - “Mad Max”
2nd John and Kay Ray - 1999 mocha pearl Peterbilt 379/1994 Utility reefer

SPECIALIZED
1st Jeff Trapp/Trapp Enterprises - 2002 silver Peterbilt 379 tri-axle dump
2nd Michael Blittersdorf/Blittersdorf Towing - 1995 red Peterbilt 379 tow truck - “Super Slider”
3rd Ronnie Williams - 1999 white and burgundy Peterbilt 379 tri-axle dump

INTERIOR - CAB ONLY
1st Tie Max Haertling/Mike McLane - 1997 white and red Kenworth W900L/1998 Great Dane reefer - “Mad Max”
1st Tie John and Kay Ray - 1999 mocha pearl Peterbilt 379/1994 Utility reefer
2nd Randy and Jona Rebillard - 2002 blue Peterbilt 379 - “Tired Iron”
3rd Michael Blittersdorf/Blittersdorf Towing - 1995 red Peterbilt 379 tow truck - “Super Slider”

INTERIOR - OEM SLEEPER
1st Carl and Doris Johnson - 1996 blue and white Freightliner Classic - “Northern Fantasy”
2nd Rick Rollman - 2002 white and purple Peterbilt 379
3rd Ron and Jan Huey - 2000 metallic silver International 9400

INTERIOR - AFTERMARKET SLEEPER
1st Donald and Susan Pardue - 2002 blue Peterbilt 379 - “Bad to the Bone”
2nd Leonard and Charlene Testerman - 1995 burgundy Peterbilt 359/2004 Reitnour stepdeck - “Rollin’ Thunder”

CUSTOM PAINT - BOBTAIL
1st Rick Rollman - 2002 white and purple Peterbilt 379
2nd Carl and Doris Johnson - 1996 blue and white Freightliner Classic - “Northern Fantasy”
3rd Allen and Judy Surridge - 2001 silver and gray Kenworth W900L

CUSTOM PAINT - COMBO
1st Leonard and Charlene Testerman - 1995 burgundy Peterbilt 359/2004 Reitnour stepdeck - “Rollin’ Thunder”
2nd Danny Strang - 1996 blue Peterbilt 377/1992 Brenner tanker - “Ragin’ Cajun”
3rd Max Haertling/Mike McLane - 1997 white and red Kenworth W900L/1998 Great Dane reefer - “Mad Max”

ENGINE
1st Rick Rollman - 2002 white and purple Peterbilt 379
2nd Carl and Doris Johnson - 1996 blue and white Freightliner Classic - “Northern Fantasy”
3rd Ron and Jan Huey - 2000 metallic silver International 9400

LIMITED MILEAGE - BOBTAIL
BEST OF SHOW - Sonny Trapp/Trapp Enterprises - 2003 Silver Peterbilt 379
2nd Ken Farrell/Robert and Karen Mulvhill - 1972 black Peterbilt 379
3rd Erick Oehme - 1975 black and red Mack F700 cabover - “Phantom 309”

BEST THEME 
Carl and Doris Johnson - 1996 blue and white Freightliner Classic - “Northern Fantasy”

BEST OF SHOW BOBTAIL
Rick Rollman - 2002 white and purple Peterbilt 379

BEST OF SHOW COMBO
Leonard and Charlene Testerman - 1995 burgundy Peterbilt 359/2004 Reitnour stepdeck - “Rollin’ Thunder”

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
Michael Blittersdorf/Blittersdorf Towing - 1995 red Peterbilt 379 tow truck - “Super Slider”

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