Drivers, technicians to compete nationally

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 439 views 

The 2023 Arkansas Truck Driving Championship team will represent the state at the National Truck Driving Competition from Aug. 16-19 in Ohio. From left are Phillip Gaganis, J.B. Hunt Transport Services; Bret McBain, Walmart Transportation; Gary Mars, Walmart Transportation; Chaunce Umfleet, FedEx Express; Jose Ara, Old Dominion Freight Line; Jessie King, FedEx Freight; Keith Alderson, Walmart Transportation; Brian Figgins, FedEx Ground; and Loren Hatfield, ABF Freight.

Nine truck drivers and two technicians will compete for national titles after winning their respective skills competitions at the 2023 Arkansas Trucking Championship in Rogers.

The Arkansas Trucking Association hosted the June event at the Rogers Convention Center. Following are the winners in the respective truck classes who’ll represent Arkansas at the National Truck Driving Competition from Aug. 16-19 in Columbus, Ohio:

  • Three-axle: Chaunce Umfleet of FedEx Express
  • Four-axle: Loren Hatfield of ABF Freight
  • Five-axle: Phillip Gaganis of J.B. Hunt Transport Services
  • Flatbed: Gary Mars of Walmart Transportation
  • Sleeper: Keith Alderson of Walmart Transportation
  • Step van: Brian Figgins of FedEx Ground
  • Straight truck: Jessie King of FedEx Freight
  • Tank: Bret McBain of Walmart Transportation
  • Twins: Jose Ara of Old Dominion Freight Line

Hatfield of Maumelle was also named grand champion. Northwest Arkansas winners include Mars (Fayetteville), Alderson (Greenwood), Figgins (Lowell) and McBain (Bella Vista).

Anthony Nunez and Christopher Terifay, both of UPS, were named grand champions in the respective truck and trailer technician competitions. Their combined scores helped UPS win the team award. In September, Nunez and Terifay will represent Arkansas in the National Technician Skills Competition, SuperTech 2023, in Cleveland, Ohio.

“Collectively, the drivers at the 2023 Arkansas Trucking Championship account for more than 241 million safe-driving miles, and the technicians ensured those trucks could continue traveling safely down our highways,” said Shannon Newton, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association. “This year we were happy to see a lot of first-time participants competing alongside their peers who’ve competed — and even won — dozens of times.”

Gaganis and Terifay were rookies in the event. Terifay was named rookie of the year in the truck and trailer technician competitions. The event included 152 drivers and 46 technicians. Drivers must be accident-free over the past year to compete.

ABF Freight, FedEx Freight, J.B. Hunt, P.A.M. Transportation Services, Tyson Foods, Walmart Transportation and Visit Rogers were some of the event supporters.