Rush Skills Rodeo Returns Live

Competition Held Virtually for Two Years Because of Pandemic
Competition floor at Rush skills rodeo 2022
An overview of the competition floor at the Rush Tech Skills Rodeo in San Antonio. (Connor D. Wolf/Transport Topics)

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SAN ANTONIO — Rush Enterprises Inc. launched its 17th annual truck technical competition in-person Dec. 11 after two years of holding it virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Participants in the Tech Skills Rodeo compete in hands-on and written challenges to test their mettle in a range of categories. The three-day event culminates in an awards ceremony.

“Welcome back folks,” Jody Pollard, senior vice president of aftermarket truck sales and marketing at Rush Enterprises, said during the first day. “We’re so glad to have you here in San Antonio, Texas, for our 17th annual Rush Tech Skills Rodeo. I don’t know about y’all, but being back live again and seeing your faces and feeling the energy within this city, with all these people wearing Rush paraphernalia, excites me.”

More than a thousand Rush Enterprises employees will be competing. The company expects to give $300,000 in prizes and has given out about $2.7 million since the first competition in 2006.

“We move into the real deal on Tuesday night when we have our award ceremony,” said Marcus Demel, director of operations program development. “There’s $300,000 in cash and prizes to giveaway. It’s amazing how that’s grown. We’re looking forward to giving it away. Everybody here has done tremendously well by getting to this point, being in the top 10% of our technicians and parts group. So, we just want to make sure that we have some fun on Tuesday night.”

The Tech Skills Rodeo competition has grown to include numerous categories, including medium-duty trucks, heavy-duty trucks, truck sales, parts and specialty body repair. Winners are named for each category, as well as a grand champion.

Jody Pollard


“We started with just our technicians, and now we touch every point of sale at our dealerships,” Pollard said. “We touch body shop, we touch aftermarket sales, we touch truck sales. We obviously have our technicians.

“We got our rising star participants. We really are about the development of our people, the development of our staff, the development of your careers.”

Pollard noted that these competitions and efforts to develop employees speak to the greater purpose of the company — keeping the country moving by serving the needs and expectations of customers.

“It’s about delivering on our promise to our customers that we are the industry leader in respect to uptime,” Pollard said. “You have a great purpose at Rush Enterprises. We don’t just sell a truck, we just don’t fix a truck, and we just don’t sell a part that fixes a truck. We keep this country moving, and you should take great pride in that. It’s not just a transaction. It is a purpose that should drive you every single day.”



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The Tech Skills Rodeo also is seeing an increase in competitors because of business expansions over the past year. Most notably, Rush Enterprises acquired certain assets of Summit Truck Group in December 2021. This also is the first year with two female technicians competing. They will vie against veteran participants including last year’s grand champion, Chris Purcell.

“I want to recognize some folks,” Pollard said. “The first person I want to recognize is the top dog from our virtual rodeo last year. This is the guy that some of you are going to have in the bull’s-eye. You want to take this guy out. I don’t know, he’s a pretty quality technician. He knows what he’s doing. I’m sure he wants to repeat that and take some money home.”

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