Trade group to host truck driving contest in Rogers

by Jeff Della Rosa ( 267 views 

Jefferey Helmick, truck driver for J.B. Hunt Transport Services, completes a pre-trip inspection at the 2017 Arkansas Trucking Championship. Helmick competed in the tank division of the championship.

About 1,000 people are expected to attend the 2018 Arkansas Trucking Championship from July 12-14 at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers. Trade organization Arkansas Trucking Association (ATA) hosts the annual event, which is in its 51st year, and will include a commercial vehicle inspectors challenge, a technician skills competition and a truck driver skills contest.

In the event, 163 drivers and 55 technicians have registered to compete, ATA President Shannon Newton said.

“The men and women competing in this year’s event have been chosen by their employers to represent themselves, their company and our industry,” Newton said. “They are the most dedicated professionals who work tirelessly, year-round, to deliver America’s freight safely. We look forward to celebrating them and focusing on their achievements during the championship.”

On July 14, companies of the truck drivers and their friends and family will set up about 20 tents and have cookouts and games for children while cheering on the competing drivers, said David O’Neal, ATA vice president of safety programs and industry engagement. Nine winners in each of the competition segments, which are separated by truck and trailer classes, will go on to compete in the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships from Aug. 15-18 in Columbus, Ohio.

On July 13, the truck and trailer technicians will test their diagnostics and repair skills in a technician championship. The winners will go on to compete nationally Sept. 16-20 at the National Technician Skills Competitions in Orlando, Fla.

In an awards banquet for technicians July 13, the ATA will recognize the first two scholarship recipients of the Carl Tapp Memorial Scholarship Fund, Newton said. Two high school seniors were recently selected to receive $7,500 scholarships for their education to become professional technicians.

On July 12, inspectors with the Arkansas Highway Police will test their inspection skills as truck drivers and safety professionals judge them. The winner will go on to compete in the North American Inspectors Championship, which is hosted by Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance from Aug. 14-18 in Columbus, along with the National Truck Driving Championships.