The Georgia Truck Driving Championships held in Buford May 11-12 was “a wonderful celebration of the industry and a ‘family reunion,' " according to Emily Crane of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association.
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
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Keith Crook of UPS Freight took the Grand Champion title as well as the 5-Axle crown. He advances to the National Truck Driving Championships.
Two drivers repeated in their categories this year, so they’re required to sit out those categories next year. Roger Nicholson of UPS Freight repeated in the 3-Axle, and Carlos Rodriguez of Old Dominion Freight Line won for the second consecutive time in Twins. “They have to find new homes,” or categories, next year, Crane said.
Perhaps fittingly for Mother’s Day weekend, the competition saw its first mother-daughter team compete. Alove Kent and Kent Brown competed together for FedEx Express.
In addition, a driver had the highest finish for a woman in the competition's history. Teresa Teigue of AAA Cooper Transportation came in second in Flatbed.
In keeping with the celebratory atmosphere, the rain that was forecast for the weekend mostly held off. On May 12, thunder rumbled just as the final trophies were handed out.
Alove Kent (left) and Kent Brown. (Georgia Motor Trucking Association)
“It started raining just as people were walking up the stairs leaving,” Crane said.
This year, 32 rookie drivers competed, and “most of them were very young,” Crane said. “It speaks to how the industry is trying to diversify and to reach out to younger guys.”
Last year's Grand Champion, Tim McElwaney of ABF Freight, was tops in Written Exam.
Mark Weeks of New South Express was named Georgia Driver of the Year, while Mike Chupp of Collins Trucking was named Georgia Safety Director of the Year.
Don Carter of FedEx Freight won the Pre-Trip Award and Justin Durden of Publix was Rookie of the Year.
The Large Team award went to UPS Freight, and the Small Team award went to Southeastern Freight Lines.
MCO Andre McLamb was first in Officer Competition.
This year's NTDC will be held in Pittsburgh Aug. 14-17.
All competitors moving on to nationals:
- 3-Axle: Roger Nicholson, UPS Freight
- 4-Axle: Michael Hall, Southeastern Freight Lines
- 5-Axle: Keith Crook, UPS Freight
- Flatbed: Joe Bertini, FedEx Freight
- Sleeper Berth: Luke Yoakum, Southeastern Freight Lines
- Tank Truck: Marty Mosley, Americold Logistics
- Twins: Carlos Rodriguez, Old Dominion Freight Line
- Straight Truck: Marcus Gray, FedEx Freight