OK, it may not be the Super Bowl. But for area trucking companies there is one contest that might as well be: the California Truck Driving Championship.
In fact, the Pomona outlet of Covenant Transport Inc. was so tired of being beaten every year that it asked one of its veteran drivers, Conrad Rice, to enter this year’s event.
Rice, at 41, is no newbie and it showed during his performance at the 64th annual event held May 20 in Sacramento. He aced a written test and navigated difficult turns to best more than 650 other competitors to win the top title of Grand Champion. He also was named Rookie of the Year because he had never before competed.
“It was actually a shock,” said Rodney W. Farley, a safety specialist at Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Covenant who helped train Rice for the competition. “I thought he had a shot to win his class. I didn’t think he had a shot at the big trophy. I was very proud of that man.”
Although the competition is little known to the general public, Farley said winning is really prestigious within the industry. Rice is now eligible to represent California in the National Truck Driving Championships in Minneapolis this August.
The driver could not be reached for comment because he was celebrating like a champion: vacationing in the Caribbean with his family, Farley said.