By Jeff Jensen
Don and Yvonne Gibson have entered into a new phase of their expediting careers – showing their truck in competition.
The couple took part in the Paul K. Young Memorial Truck Beauty Championship contest at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY. Yvonne said that was just the beginning, with more shows to come.
“This was the first event we have entered, and we had a great time. We’re looking forward to the next competition in Las Vegas,” she said.
The OOIDA members, who hail from Biloxi, MS, have been leased with FedEx Custom Critical for five years, the past four with the company’s White Glove division.
Yvonne said her grandfather and her father were truck drivers, and that’s where she learned to drive. She spent 25 years in over-the-road trucking, and Don was in general trucking for 15 years. The two met while driving for a trucking company and moved into expediting five years ago.
When they began in expediting, they owned a Volvo tractor but wanted to downsize. To see whether he enjoyed driving a smaller truck, Don ran for a truck owner who operated D-class trucks.
Obviously, Don liked driving a truck that doesn’t bend in the middle because the couple ordered a 2005 Freightliner M2 112 from Middle Georgia Freightliner-Isuzu. Heath Wood, the dealership’s sales manager, says that it was the first M2 that he knows of that was built on the 112-inch chassis.
“The Gibsons wanted longevity out of their equipment, and they wanted the room. They don’t go home very often, so the truck is their home,” he said.
The truck now has 61,000 miles on the clock.
Wood said this truck features Class 8 components throughout, including power from a Cat C-11 with 350 hp running through an Eaton 10-speed Autoshift. Wood said that when the truck was being taken to various vendors during the building process, his driver commented how smooth and powerful the truck was.
The Gibsons’ new truck features a Kidron 21-foot temperature-controlled box with a Carrier 844 belly-mount refrigeration unit. Auxiliary power comes from a Proheat generator with separate fuel tank for the generator and refrigeration unit. Yvonne said that this enables them to keep closer track of fuel expenses. A 3,300-pound Leyman lift gate completes the truck’s freight hauling package.
The truck has highly polished twin 80-gallon fuel tanks and wheels. Middle Georgia installed extra LED lighting on the cargo box. Future additions planned for the truck include a water heater along with additional toolboxes and lighting.
FedEx Custom Critical classifies the truck as C class. Yvonne said that they can haul the C-sized freight but they still have extra room in the box for their bicycles and golf clubs.
“I don’t need a big sleeper with a shower and everything in it, because when we get fuel, we get a shower,” Yvonne said. “I just wanted a sleeper that’s comfy. If I’m cooking, I tell Don ‘Dinner’s ready.’ And we pull over, set up the table and eat.”
Yvonne utilized her decorating experience and creativity in finishing out the 96-inch raised roof, condo-style sleeper from AA Sleepers.
“I was so tired of gray sleeper interiors, and I wanted blue,” Yvonne said. “The motif is a little Italian café.”
This truck was also the first that Larry Miller from AA Sleepers and Wood used a blue interior in. Now, everyone who sees this color interior likes it, so it has become the standard color for this model.
The total construction time for the truck was nine months, and the Gibsons picked up their new unit at the end of October 2004.
Other sleeper features include:
- GE range burner;
- An extra-deep sink;
- Extra windows;
- 20-inch TV with in-motion satellite;
- Oversized refrigerator/freezer;
- Oak cabinets;
- Double bunks; and
- Matching curtains and tablecloth.
So, how’d they do in the Paul K. Young Truck Beauty show?
Well, even though they faced some stiff opposition, their truck took an overall third place in the Expedite division and second place in the Interior-Expedite division.
Wood said that Middle Georgia Freightliner-Isuzu will sponsor the Gibsons in upcoming major truck competitions. The couple plan to enter their next competition at The Truck Show Las Vegas this month.
Jeff Jensen may be reached at email@example.com.