A chance to shine
OWNER-DRIVER Bart Boudreaux didn’t expect to win any of the coveted Pride & Polish silverware in the premier show truck competition in the US.
Heck, he didn’t even know where he was going to stay that first night he made the long drive from his home in Labadieville, Louisiana, to the bright lights of downtown Dallas for GATS 2018.
But a beaming Bart and his matte-black 1980 352 Powerbilt – a conspicuous stand-out amongst the shinier rivals on display – sure did encompass what the organisers meant by the pride part of this celebrated showdown.
This humble fan favourite was just a chassis – bought for a paltry US$1500 no less – before Bart got to work on her four years ago, pouring in another US$28,000 of his hard-earned for a remarkable transformation.
“It would have been more if I’d put on a slicker paint job,” laughed the first-time competitor who uses the Peterbilt to cart oil field equipment, mostly around South Louisiana.
“But that’s not how I wanted it. How you see it is how I work it every day.”
He’ll be back again next year too, just watch him. A fellow competitor convinced him to enter and Brad reckons the chance to meet so many people and share his inspiring story has been worth every cent.
Best of Show winners were announced in five categories during the event – working bobtail, working combo, limited-mileage bobtail, limited-mileage combo and builders class – along with the people’s choice winner.
For the second year running, the latter when to Hall of Fame driver Bradley Wacks, although this year he was in a different Army-Airforce Exchange rig, a 2019 Freightliner Cascadia and a 2019 Hyundai trailer.
The trailer boasted silhouetted images of service men and women, courtesy of former marine Johnny Olson, and is designed to act as a rolling billboard, reminding all who served honourably that they can now shop their military exchanges online.
“Winning this award is just a great accomplishment for our team and our men and women in uniform,” said Bradley, 58, who began driving in 1979 and now boasts 3.4 million accident-free miles.
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■ For more pictures from GATS 2018 and this year’s competition winners, turn to pages 52–53.
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Hall of Famer Bradley was proud of his win.
The trailer is dedicated to the men and women who serve.