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August 17, 2017 3:30 PM, EDT
Editorial: Passion to Be the Best

Watching people with the liberty to pursue happiness actually do so can be highly worthwhile, even inspirational. As our team in Orlando, Fla., shows on this website and in the Aug. 21 edition of Transport Topics, that was abundantly the case at the recent National Truck Driving Championships and its companion event for truck and bus safety inspectors.

Complete 2017 NTDC Coverage

LISTS OF DRIVERS: By company | By state | Finalists

PHOTO GALLERY: All of the pageantry from Orlando | Winners

VIDEO: Day One | Day Two | Championship Day |  Bumper Cam | Sights and Sounds | ELD update

NAIC: Inspectors test their mettle | Houston's Rommel Garcia wins title

With an office less than 10 miles from the U.S. Capitol, we spend a lot of time listening to political partisans scream at each other, with both sides trying to accomplish something different, but neither usually coming close to success. And while it’s a necessary component of democracy that lawmakers engage in these messy political and governmental battles, it’s not always fun to watch. Therefore, it’s wonderful to instead step back and watch people work hard, cooperate and accomplish important things about which they are passionate.

The drivers and inspectors who competed, their colleagues, families and friends who watched and cheered for them and the volunteers who administered the events were not Thoreau’s mass of men leading “lives of quiet desperation.” They are men and women who are proud of their jobs and their industry.

They are proud of playing a role in transporting the products and commodities Americans desire or need — and doing it safely and efficiently. And not just because, “it pays the bills.”

Grand Champion Roland Bolduc of FedEx Express out of Massachusetts, and the more than 400 drivers he competed against, were all eager to demonstrate they do their jobs superbly, and maybe even make the claim of being the best.

The same applies to Officer Rommel Garcia of the Houston Police Department, who won the North American Inspectors Championship over 50 other brother and sister officers.

NTDC is a U.S. event sponsored by American Trucking Associations, whereas NAIC includes inspectors from Canada and Mexico as well as the United States.

Beyond the excitement of the competition, which started in nine categories such as flatbeds, tank trucks, step vans and sleeper berths, there were authentic demonstrations of human decency not always seen in Washington, D.C.

People sweating in bulky mascot costumes in Florida in August ran and jumped energetically to entertain children and adults. Volunteers who love trucking and the events gave up what could have been beach or hammock time to make sure these two important events ran smoothly.

“That’s a great thing to see every year, and I’m always in awe over that,” volunteer Dan Horvath said.

We concur, and we thank all the people who competed, participated and attended.