2022 Rush Technician Rodeo Winner Returns to Competition

Paul Crawford Says Competitors Are Tested by New Tooling System
Paul Crawford (left), Rusty Rush
Paul Crawford (left) accepts the grand champion trophy from CEO Rusty Rush at the 2022 Rush Enterprises Tech Skills Rodeo in San Antonio. (Rush Enterprises)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

SAN ANTONIO — Rush Enterprises technician Paul Crawford advanced to the final round in the company’s annual technician challenge, hoping to defend his grand champion title.

“I think it went OK,” Crawford said after completing the semifinal round Dec. 11. “I think it’s going to come down to a couple points for everybody to see who gets to go on. If I go on to tomorrow, I’ll feel a lot better.”

The Rush Enterprises Tech Skills Rodeo invites vehicle technicians at the company to test their knowledge and skills through hands-on and written challenges.

Crawford competes in the medium-duty service division for Peterbilt and works at Rush Truck Centers in Haines City, Fla. He captured the title in 2022, his first time competing in-person.

1965 Peterbilt truck

A 1965 Peterbilt 351A on display at the Rush Enterprises Tech Skills Rodeo in San Antonio. (Connor D. Wolf/Transport Topics) 

Crawford noted the competition this year has been close since a new tooling system that not everyone uses yet is being tested.

“The tooling that we use is a newer tool so not everybody has one,” Crawford said. “The people that have them probably have a better advantage, like my shop does not have the tooling that we use today.”

Crawford is competing in the final around against Travis Graham, a two-time grand champion based in Orlando, Fla. Graham won the event in 2015 and again in a virtual competition in 2020

Rush has steadily expanded the competition since it began in 2006. It took a two-year hiatus as an in-person event during the pandemic and returned last year. Its technicians compete in categories including heavy-duty, medium-duty, specialty, “rising star,” parts, aftermarket sales and truck sales. Each category includes subdivisions competitors must place in before advancing.

Navistar International truck

A Navistar International with an S13 integrated powertrain on display at the Rush Enterprises Tech Skills Rodeo in San Antonio. (Connor D. Wolf/Transport Topics) 

“I didn’t expect it to be the same test as last year,” Crawford said. “I knew they were going to change it up. I just wish I had more time with the tooling, like beforehand, actually using it on the truck. Because that is something I’ve never used before. I’ve seen it in training, but other than that, it’s competition. It’s here to test you.”

Crawford attributed part of his success last year to closely following the manual during the hands-on segment of the competition. His advice to new competitors this year is to take advantage of company training whether its in-person or online.

“Work on the supplier training for Peterbilt,” Crawford said. “Like go on to the Peterbilt training site. Do your online training, and hopefully your in-person classes. There’ll be a lot of small stuff in those classes that are helpful.”

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: