Big wheels of trucking bring payload of skills

Published August 23, 2005

TAMPA - The creme de la creme of the nation's highway truckers gathered this past weekend inside the Tampa convention center for their own modern day Olympics - the 2005 National Truck Driving Championship.

The contest pitted 363 drivers in eight different classes of vehicles. They racked up points by showing off their skills ranging from a rear dock parking exercise to driving along a narrow path of tennis balls.

Drivers also had to ace a written exam, interview and pretrip inspection.

The "Super Bowl of Safety," sponsored by the American Trucking Associations, attracted state champions from every state. Collectively, they have driven more than 484-million accident-free miles.

After the dust settled, Rick Herbert, a Yellow Transportation truck driver from Illinois, was anointed grand champion. Michael Lomastro of Publix Supermarkets was tops in tank truck driving.