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May 29, 2019 1:15 PM, EDT

Alaska Truck Driving Championships to Blend Safety, Fun

Alaska Truck Driving Championships A scene from last year's Alaska competition. (Lupine Photography)

The Alaska Truck Driving Championships promise to mix safety with fun as some of the top drivers in the state show up to show off their skills.

2019 NTDC

The 2019 National Truck Driving Championships

Qualifiers | Map | Photos | Video

Who: Winners from nine categories at the state level have advanced to the national competition, where a Grand Champion will be crowned

What: Contestants are judged on a written examination and their driving skills

When: Aug. 14-17

Where: Pittsburgh

The competition will be held May 31-June 1 by the Alaska Trucking Association on the grounds of an American Fast Freight facility, a transportation and logistics company.

There are 71 drivers registered to compete, with about 35 volunteers slated to help out. The state organization expects about 200 people will attend.

Ryan Wolcoff, last year's Grand Champion and a driver for SPAN Alaska, will be competing this year in the 5-Axle division. Last year, which was his first year competing, he took home a win in the 3-Axle division.

According to Aves Thompson, executive director of the Alaska Trucking Association, the event also will feature a safety fair. Organizations such as local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and nonprofits can set up tents at the event, in order to build relationships with drivers, their families and spectators. A blood drive also will be on the premises.

ALASKA ARCHIVE PAGE: Previews, recaps and more

Thompson emphasized the event’s focus on safety. “It’s our opportunity to show the public and to focus on safe truck driving,” Thompson told Transport Topics.

Safety is key, but there will be a big helping of fun at the event, too. Food is provided and the organization is hosting a chili cook-off.

And for children attending, there will be a bounce house as well as small model trucks to ride around a track.