WMW: What is your favorite part about participating in this competition?
Brandan: The value that I get from entering into these competitions is, it pushes me to be a safer driver year-round. I'm more on my game all year round, too. I mean, when you look at it, practicing and preparing for this week, to get here, it's not just a couple week thing. It's your whole career.
So, for me there is great value in that I can always better myself and push myself and hopefully learn something at the end of it.
Anthony: My favorite part about participating in these competitions is really about my family. And when I say family, I'm not just talking about my wife and my three daughters. I'm talking about the other drivers, the professionals that are sharing the road with us every day. I've met people from so many different companies. And now being here at nationals, I've met them from so many different states, that you realize how small our trucking industry is. It's a large industry, but the amount of competitors and the level of support that everybody gives each other, you do feel like you're a part of something with a family here.
Johnnie: The food! [He laughs.] No, the comradery. You're meeting all your fellow drivers from all over the country. You get to hear about their experiences and share yours.
Antoine: Meeting new friends, seeing old friends, and just being here to have fun. I can't explain the feeling. It's just overwhelming.
Rickey: You get to see some old faces, and some old road team guys, and people that have retired, they come back up here and they wanna see how you do. And just the professionalism from the front to the back. It’s like competing at the Superbowl. It's the top of our industry. Top of our profession. If you’ve ever been here before, you always wanna go back.
WMW: Any advice for drivers wanting to compete in this type of competition?
Christopher: My advice would be practice, practice, practice, practice and then practice some more. And find people that have been through this before. There's hundreds out here that are willing to offer to help, that are really nice people, that understand that they were in the same boat that you are in. And it's just great to build that comradery and build that partnership with them.
Anthony: Go into your local office, speak to your safety manager, speak with your GTM, let them know that you have an interest in this. They’ll pair you up with a mentor, somebody that's been participating in this program and let the mentor develop you throughout the year and teach you different ways to practice throughout the year to prepare yourself for this competition.
Get your driver group involved. One of the things I did in our local center when we started this program was, stand out there and cheer guys on. I made sure they didn't feel like they were out there by themselves running the local courses. And I helped them study through it. Once you have that level of excitement, you're just gonna wanna continue on and it becomes infectious throughout the fleet.