Special Coverage of the National Truck Driving Championships

Anthony Spero, ‘The Mayor,’ to Retire From NTDC

ABF Freight Driver Has Come to Embody the Spirit of the Event
Tony Spero family
The family of Anthony Spero (center), consisting of wife Dee Dee (right of Spero), two sons, two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren, was on hand for the trucking veteran's farewell to NTDC. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — For his final appearance as a competitor at the “Super Bowl of Safety,” Anthony “Tony” Spero’s family was on hand to partake in his swan song.

Two generations of Speros flocked to the patriarch Aug. 18 after he wrapped up his opening round obligations at the current tournament.

Spero, a prominent fixture at American Trucking AssociationsNational Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships, is competing in the tanker truck class. The grand champion from Connecticut with ABF Freight was last year’s recipient of the Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award. He also was the national champion in the flatbed division in 2006 and national champion in the tanker class in 2009. This week will mark the conclusion of an illustrious competitive career that began more than three decades ago.

“We brought the whole family out. So even if he doesn’t win, just to [be here to] celebrate him and his career, [with] all the friends that he’s made along the way,” Anthony Spero Jr., Spero’s oldest son, told Transport Topics on Aug. 18. “There’s people that we met here that we’ve invited to our weddings,” Spero Jr. added, “that we met [at NTDC] when we were kids that we call aunts and uncles because they’ve just been around since we were children. … They come from everywhere, and you meet here once a year and it’s always a great thing.”

NTDC 2023

2023 National Truck Driving Championships

NTDC Qualifiers |  Photo Gallery | Map of State Champions

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

What: Contestants are judged on a written exam, pre-trip inspection and driving skills

When: Aug. 16-19

Where: Columbus, Ohio

Bruce Spero, the youngest son, continues to be in awe of his father’s impact on the tournament and the lives he has touched.

“You can’t walk to get lunch without him stopping for 15 minutes to talk to one person, another 15 minutes for another person,” Bruce Spero remarked.

Over the years, NTDC grew to become a family affair.

“It’s a chance to bond with our father, something personal to us, and then the friends and family that you meet along the way, with other people,” Bruce Spero continued. “You look forward to seeing the people you haven’t seen in a year— only at these events.”

Specifically about his father, Bruce Spero emphasized, “He’s the mayor of this thing.”

It’s a chance to bond with our father, something personal to us.

Son Bruce Spero

Dee Dee Spero, the family matriarch, expressed gratitude to the trucking community for acknowledging her husband’s contributions to the tournament and the industry. As a longtime qualifier for the national contest, Spero became a staunch ambassador for safety.

“This is his last [trucking] Roadeo because he will be retiring,” Dee Dee Spero said. “Truck driving championships is his life and his passion for 30-something years.

Tony Spero orientation 2023 NTDC

Anthony Spero (first row, second from the right) listens during driver orientation for the National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships on Aug. 16 in Columbus, Ohio. (Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics)

“He’s a good man, and he takes all his time to do this truck stuff — a lot of practice.”

Joining Anthony and Dee Dee Spero at NTDC were their sons, daughter-in-laws Nikki and Deanna, and grandchildren Savannah, Mila and Anthony “Trey” Spero III. For the family, Anthony Spero is dad, grandpa and “Mayor of NTDC.”

Truck driving championships is his life and his passion for 30-something years.

Wife Dee Dee Spero

At the Connecticut trucking championships in June, Spero received a standing ovation for his blue ribbon performance. He held back tears soon after the ovation.

“That was great,” he said at the event in the Constitution State. “It’s been a little emotional for me.”

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