CHICAGO, Sept. 20, 2013
A cool breeze blew through McCormick Place's 18th Street parking lot, but the competition was scorching during the Sept. 19 annual True Value National Truck Roadeo.
A dozen highly skilled big rig drivers, representing 12 True Value Company regional distribution centers across the United States, had to take top honors in similar competitions at their distribution centers in order to make it to this final challenge. While every last contestant is a pro at handling poor weather conditions, irate drivers and tight delivery deadlines, only one truly talented driver could come out on top: Brian Bachman out of the company’s facility in Allentown, Pa.
“Our Truck Roadeo tradition is a lot of fun for both the drivers and the spectators,” said Don Deegan, True Value’s senior vice president of Logistics. “But over-the-road trucking is a serious business that requires seriously dedicated and talented drivers. We couldn't be more proud of our drivers, especially their consistent dedication to safety and the service they provide to our retailers.”
As part of True Value’s safe driving program, the Truck Roadeo tests the abilities — both mental and physical — of the co-op’s drivers, who are responsible for delivery of merchandise from the True Value warehouses to independently owned stores all over the country. The competition includes a written assessment as well as a behind-the-wheel obstacle course, where drivers must prove they can guide their long trailers through tight spaces in six mini challenges.
Among other on-the-ground tasks, the contestants put the pedal to the metal to tackle the Serpentine (a careful back-and-forth weave between three barrels to form a figure eight), the Straight Line (navigating their right-hand tires through a set of closely placed tennis balls) and the always popular, but incredibly difficult Money Stop (bringing the cab’s from right right tire to halt on top of a $100 bill — which the driver gets to keep if he or she is successful).
The 2013 True Value National Truck Roadeo champion, Bachman, is a four-year veteran of True Value, and has been behind the wheel professionally — and accident free — for 22 years. A true asset to True Value’s driver staff, Bachman has helped improve the company’s overall safety awareness by talking to other drivers about safety issues and driving situations. And Bachman’s retailers say they appreciate how he is always on time for his deliveries week after week — even with bad weather or traffic issues.
On top of bragging rights and a large trophy for his mantle, Bachman also received a check for $1,000 from True Value for his win.
“The most important facet of being a safe driver is wanting to get home to your family, because they’re ultimately what you’re out there for. And you’ve got to love what you do,” Bachman said.
Gary Hillyer out of True Value's Denver regional distribution center, who has driven for the company for nine years, and Paul Jacobs from the company’s warehouse in Corsicana, Texas, who has driven for the True Value for one year, took home second and third place in the competition, respectively.
“These 12 professionals represent the more than 300 True Value associates who have our retail members’ backs every single day,” Don added. “These men and women are our customer service ambassadors to all of our retail stores. They provide what the stores need, when they need it, every day, with professionalism and great care.”
In addition to Bachman, Hillyer and Jacobs, this year’s drivers included Wayne Tidwell from Atlanta (21 years with True Value), Ted Csincsak from Cleveland (35 years with True Value), Doug Rehard from Harvard, Ill. (13 years with True Value), Mike Hill representing Kansas City, Mo. (two years with True Value), Jim Schneider of Kingman, Ariz. (11 years with True Value), Gary McAlister of Manchester, N.H. (one year with True Value), Gordy Goebel from Mankato, Minn. (25 years with True Value), Doyle Bentley of Springfield, Ore. (12 years with True Value), and Bob Akey from the Woodland, Calif., center (15 years with True Value).
True Value Company, headquartered in Chicago, is one of the world's largest retailer-owned hardware cooperatives. The True Value cooperative represents independent retailer locations worldwide with retail sales in their communities totaling approximately $5.5 billion. Store identities include True Value, Grand Rental Station, Taylor Rental, Party Central, Home & Garden Showplace and Induserve Supply. Additional information on True Value Company and its retail identities is available at www.truevaluecompany.com.