I sat down and tried to write about the 30th Anniversary of Shell Rotella SuperRigs about half a dozen times. I’ve gotten nowhere each time, because words fail me.
Photo by ConradSmith.com
OOIDA Member Todd Roccapriore changes the Payee on the $10,000 Best of Show check to Joplin Family YMCA. Roccapriorie donated the winnings on behalf of the "Low Life" team of himself, wife Beth, driver John O’Keefe and driver Jimmy Congdon to the Joplin Family YMCA.
I’ve been judging the Shell Rotella SuperRigs 10 years now. I started on their 20th anniversary.
In that decade I really thought I had seen it all. Trucks with motorcycle kick stands; outlaw trucks; trucks with no chrome at all; trucks that were nothing but chrome and stainless (really). I’ve heard stories from the drivers about their love for their trucks, for their industry.
This is a place where pride reigns supreme.
The one thing that I’ve learned in all those years is to expect the unexpected. Not only from the trucks, but from the people themselves.
I really don’t know how they are going to top this year.
There was nothing that fell short of amazing this past weekend.
For starters, Shell Rotella and Speedco teamed up to raise money to benefit the Joplin YMCA. That organization is still working daily on the rebuilding and healing of that community ripped to shreds by an F-5 tornado a year ago.
The efforts, along with a little kick-in to round the numbers off, netted a $100,000 donation to the Joplin Family YMCA. The representatives from the Y were in awe of the generosity of truckers. They learned a lot that day about the people I dearly love.
The awards program shifted gears and more than $25,000 in cash and prizes were handed out to winners in the Classic, Truck Only, Tractor-Trailer, Specialty and Best of Show categories.
Everyone was all smiles. It was a good day.
When Eric Harley with the Red Eye Radio Network, and fellow judge, announced that OOIDA Members Todd and Beth Roccapriore’s truck, driven by John O’Keefe, won the grand prize, I honestly don’t think many people were surprised. The 2007 Peterbilt 379 EXHD Legacy was a head turner to say the least.
The brass-knuckle themed “Low Life” and all of its customization easily set the bar even higher for SuperRigs.
As Todd, his wife Beth, John and fellow “Low Life” teammate Jimmy Congdon, stood on stage I was caught off guard.
Todd was near tears. Beth was fighting them back for all she was worth. John was torn somewhere between a grin and joining them. Jimmy looked like he knew something big was about to happen.
Todd asked to speak a few words to the crowd. He talked about their vision for the truck and then he talked about their goals.
They wanted to make a good showing at Paul K. Young Truck Beauty Championship in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show and then they wanted to go to SuperRigs and win.
But not for themselves. They wanted to win for Joplin.
Todd then told everyone the “Low Life” team was donating the $10,000 Best of Show check back to the Joplin Family YMCA.
You know when people are completely shocked, how there’s that half-a-heartbeat of dead silence? The crickets were all anyone heard for that split second, right before the crowd erupted into applause and gave them a standing ovation.
By then, plenty of us understood the tears – mainly because we had them, too.
I’ve always known truckers are some of the most selfless, most giving people in the world. But, Saturday afternoon, under a big tent in Joplin, I was proved right once again.
Just goes to show that SuperRigs are really driven by super people.
God, I love this industry.
(Editor’s note: Click here to see the full results of the 2012 Shell Rotella SuperRigs)