By Suzanne Stempinski
For months, entries poured in.
BP Lubricants USA Inc., in conjunction with a collection of trucking industry manufacturers, went looking for a truck in serious need of some refurbishing.
Hundreds of truckers and their families entered brief essays proclaiming their need in the contest for Castrol Tection Extra’s Big Honkin’ Truck Makeover.
From the volume of mail received, there were - and still are - many trucks out there in desperate need of loving restoration.
Three finalists were chosen and their photos and essays were prominently displayed during the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas at the end of August. Attendees had the opportunity to vote for their favorite - and change someone’s life in the process.
Two of the finalists were OOIDA members, including grand prize winner Jeff Fields of Tully, NY, who said he was stunned and thrilled when his name was announced.
Fields, who entered the competition at the urging of his wife Jackie, owns two trucks. His daily drive is a 1994 Peterbilt 379 that he uses to haul trailers out of the rail yard in Syracuse, NY.
Leased to Singer Transportation, Fields is usually home every other night, unless he has a run that takes him to customers in Chicago, St. Louis or Mesquite, TX.
But the ’94 won’t be getting a facelift. Fields’ soon-to-be-beautiful ride, a 1979 Peterbilt Classic 352H cabover, has been sitting in his yard for the past three years, just waiting for some attention.
“I really bought it for my son, who is now 8 (years old). I figured it would be a project we could work on together,” Fields said. “My two daughters aren’t really interested in trucking.
“The truck runs - I’ve gone out and started it pretty regularly, but I just haven’t had the time to begin rebuilding it. Now I am going to build a garage to keep it in - not just think about it.”
A truck driver for the past 20 years, Fields has been an owner-operator and OOIDA member for the past 10 years.
Finishing behind the grand prize winner was Robert Jones, who hails from Lithia Springs, GA. Driving a 1993 Freightliner to support his five daughters and his wife, Jones spends much of his time on the road.
While he dreamed of a life-changing opportunity from the Big Honkin’ Truck Makeover, he was absolutely delighted to be the winner of a trip for two to the 2005 AC Delco National Hot Rod Association Nationals in Las Vegas, NV.
Coming in behind Jones was Ed Godfrey of Dallas, a long-time OOIDA member. His truck, a 1997 Freightliner, has run more than 450,000 miles since he bought it three years ago. He comes from a family of truck drivers and entered the competition at the urging of his girlfriend. Godfrey won a portable DVD player and a selection of DVDs.
Suzanne Stempinski may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.