OOIDA Member Bill Rethwisch clinches back-to-back wins at Shell Rotella SuperRigs

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | 5/20/2014

In its 32 years, Shell Rotella SuperRigs has recognized many top-shelf working trucks on the road with Best of Show honors. Winning one SuperRigs is an accomplishment all of its own. But winning back-to-back SuperRigs the way OOIDA Member Bill Rethwisch did is rare.

Photo by Jami Jones

From left, Jeff Schultz, driver for Rethwisch Transport; Luke (holding the Best of Show cup), Bill, Owen and Sayra Rethwisch; and Jeff's father, Chuck Schultz, enjoy the Rethwisch Transport's Shell Rotella SuperRigs second Best of Show win.

He describes it as “Awesome. Unbelievable.”

The last time back-to-back awards were handed out was in 2005 and 2006. Tom Turner and Kim Turner picked up wins with their “El Dorado” teakwood and cream 1995 Peterbilt 379. There have been other winners who have won multiple awards over the years like OOIDA Member Todd Roccapriore and Vladimir Bilik.

Rethwisch accomplished the feat with two different trucks. In 2013, he won with an orange and white 2012 Peterbilt 389 and 2008 Polar Quest trailer. This year, he won SuperRigs Best of Show honors with his 2013 green and white Peterbilt 389, pulling a 2013 Polar gas tanker.

The green and white 2013 Pete made an appearance at SuperRigs last year in Tomah, Wis. Over the winter, Rethwisch – along with his dad, his driver Jeff Schultz and Jeff’s father, Chuck – went to work on getting the truck and trailer ready for the 32nd annual SuperRigs.

“It’s really awesome because all winter long we were trying to get that thing to where it needed to be. Then to come out and get the recognition is really cool,” Rethwisch said.

What may surprise many is that Rethwisch would have been OK with not winning a darn thing – and for an unexpected reason. Building the truck also built a deeper relationship between Rethwisch and his father, Bill Rethwisch Sr.

“My dad had such a hand in this deal. He played a huge role,” Rethwisch said.

He said his father worked hard his whole life so he could one day retire and enjoy life.

“He came out when we started this truck and he was going to help a little here, a little there,” Rethwisch said. “Next thing you know he was out there at 7 a.m., seven days a week, working on the truck until late at night and back at it again.”

All of the work, with the exception of the paint job, was handled by Rethwisch and his volunteer team.

Through all that time spent together – wrenching on the truck, designing the details, sanding, shaping metal – a father and son bond grew.

“The relationship we built through this truck is so much more now than it was last fall. Even if the truck wouldn’t have done anything, I would have cherished that,” Rethwisch said.

Relatively new to the show truck competition scene, Rethwisch won his first big award at SuperRigs in 2013 and hasn’t looked back. He’s picked up best of show honors at the Great American Trucking Show, the Mid-America Trucking Show and Wildwood to name a few.

One can’t help but wonder what he has planned next. And he wonders, too.

He plans to return to his first show truck, one that has only been shown at smaller Midwest trucking shows – a 1986 Freightliner cabover.

His love of cabovers stems from his childhood. Where he grew up, there were two occupations: trucking and working in construction and probably driving truck as well.

“I remember riding out to the East Coast as a kid in these cabovers and loved it,” Rethwisch said.

He bought the Freightliner cabover in 2002. The main reason he bought it was to build a show truck because the company he was driving for wouldn’t let him do much on the company truck or even show it.

He spent the next year rebuilding the truck as a hobby. He stretched it, painted it with help of friends and family and took it around the Midwest.

After spending a couple of years watching the top-notch competitors in the limited mileage categories at shows, Rethwisch has set his sights on competing in the limited mileage class.

He plans on bringing the cabover back and going “crazy” with it in hopes of building it into a contender.

“But it’s nowhere near that now,” he added with a laugh.

First Runner-Up at SuperRigs went to Austin Ashley and his purple and white 2007 Peterbilt 379. Second Runner-Up honors went to OOIDA Senior Member Paul Rissler and his 1996 Peterbilt 379 and 2008 Great Dane reefer trailer.

Winners at Shell Rotella SuperRigs
Best of Show
Bill Rethwisch
Tomah, Wis.
2013 Peterbilt 389
$10,000 from Shell Rotella and $5,000 from MAC Trailer

Best of Show First Runner-Up
Austin Ashley
Raleigh, Miss.
2007 Peterbilt 379
$4,000 from Shell Rotella and $3,000 from MAC Trailer

Best of Show Second Runner-Up
Paul Rissler
California, Mo.
1996 Pete 379, 2008 Great Dane Reefer
$2,000 from Shell Rotella and $2,000 from MAC Trailer

Working Truck- Limited Mileage
Vinnie Diorio
Richfield, Wis.
2013 Peterbilt, 2008 MAC trailer

Hardworking Truck
Shawn Cielke
Haugan, Mont.
2007 Kenworth T600, 2014 Wabash 53’ reefer

People’s Choice
Billy Griffin
Irving, Texas
2011 Peterbilt

Best Show Truck
Brad Wike
Lincolnton, N.C.
1974 Ford W900

Best Engine
Bill Rethwisch
Tomah, Wis.
2013 Peterbilt 389

Best Lights
Daniel and Phyllis Snow
Harrison, Ark.
1996 Freightliner Classic XL, 2006 Utility trailer

Best Chrome
Austin Ashley
Raleigh, Miss.
2007 Peterbilt 379

Best Theme
Austin Ashley
Raleigh, Miss.
2007 Peterbilt 379

Best Interior
Bill Rethwisch
Tomah, Wis.
2013 Peterbilt 389

First Place Tractor-Trailer Division
Eric Bilgo
Jackson, Wis.
1995 Peterbilt 379, 2014 MAC flat bed trailer

Second Place Tractor-Trailer Division
Kevin Pascavis
Waukesha, Wis.
2013 Peterbilt 389, 2010 MAC trailer

Third Place Tractor-Trailer Division
Jackie Lewis
Grayson, Ky.
2007 Peterbilt 379, 2015 MAC B-train

Fourth Place Tractor-Trailer Division
Brandon Odstrcil
Caldwell, Texas
2010 Peterbilt 389, 2006 MAC trailer

Fifth Place Tractor-Trailer Division
Shawn Cielke
Haugan, Mont.
2007 Kenworth T600, 2014 Wabash 53’ reefer

First Place Tractor Division
Truitt Novosad
Caldwell, Texas
Peterbilt 389

Second Place Tractor Division
Gary Davis
Fallston, Md.
2013 Kenworth W900

Third Place Tractor Division
David D. Foster
Joplin, Mo.
2005 Kenworth 19002

Fourth Place Tractor Division
Roger Nelson
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Fifth Place Tractor Division
Steve Harrison
Lexington, Va.
2007 Peterbilt 379

First Place Classic Division
John Byers Jr.
Rutherglen, Va.
1989 Freightliner Classic FLC

Second Place Classic Division
Troy Huddleson
Yale, Ill.
1991 Freightliner Classic

Third Place Classic Division
Brandon Smith
Raleigh, N.C.
1996 Peterbilt 379 Extended Hood

Fourth Place Classic Division
Hayden Eady
Danville, Ala.
1999 KW 900, ’95 Featherlite trailer

Fifth Place Classic Division
Michael Mullins
Bealteon, Va.
1999 Kenworth

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