The Motor Carriers of Montana held its annual truck driving championship Saturday in Helena.
Seventy-three truck drivers came out to compete for the title of Truck Driving Champion of Montana. The winner earns a trip to nationals.
The Motor Carriers of Montana had their “Safety Trailer” and “No Zone” display on site where the public can get a firsthand look at what a driver sees when behind the wheel.. The Safety Trailer contains a number of videos from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “No Zone” and “Share the Road” programs.
The championship consisted of two courses, each with seven obstacles the truck drivers had to face.
For example, delivery trucks seldom have to back up. The course made delivery trucks back up while avoiding a set of barrels
“It's very important for all of us, to practice. A lot of us don’t really care about the points or whatever, you get to meet the younger ones, the older ones, and it's just great, a lot of fun!” said Clark Bancroft, professional truck driver
Bancroft has recorded 6 million miles.
Other obstacles included maneuvering large trucks around small posts with tennis balls balanced on top, without knocking the tennis balls down.
“I think the most fun part with me is visiting with the drivers. Probably their biggest pet peeve is when people get in a big hurry to get around them, pass them pull in front of them put on their brake to take and exit, it takes football fields to stop a truck going 70mph”, said Barry “Spook” Stang, Executive Vice President Motor Carriers of Montana.
Drivers were also tested with a pre-trip inspection. Trucks included a number of faults or safety hazards and the drivers had to spot them.
One of the judges, Russell Simpson, a professional truck driver for more than 30 years, recently got to go to the White House and meet President Donald Trump.
“The President kind of orchestrated that a big infrastructure bill that he was very motivated to get into motion and we shared our experience of how important the trucking industry is for our country”, said Simpson.
Simpson said he was honored to be one of the judges and see so many enthusiastic professional truck drivers compete.
“I’d like to say congratulations to these drivers from Montana here today we’ve met some nice people here and we’re glad to be part of the American Trucking Association“, said Simpson.