Fabulous in Florida
Sunshine and plenty of bling in the parking lots of Wildwood

By Suzanne Stempinski, field editor

The truck show season officially kicked off in Louisville, but hot on its heels was a great collection of trucks at the 75 Chrome Shop’s 14th annual Truck Beauty Competition in Wildwood, FL.

Two types of competition, Pride & Polish and the Wash & Show, made certain there was something for everyone. And that’s the way a lot of shows will be going this year. If stop, drop and roll detailing and polish make your heart beat faster, then the Pride & Polish competitions are what you’re looking for. If “grandstand good” is good enough, then wash it, wipe it and park it. The judges use similar criteria, with or without the white glove treatment.

Ron Huey is always up for a tough competition. He drives a 2010 International ProStar – not a traditional square-hood, easy-to-dress-up ride. He’s a practical businessman with a love for trucking.

“I got off the road for a while,” the OOIDA member explained. “But I really missed it, so I just had to go back.”

Huey competed at MATS, left the show lot on Saturday, loaded Sunday, delivered and reloaded Tuesday, emptied out on Wednesday, cleaned and polished and was ready to be parked on Thursday morning. And then cleaned and polished some more.

“I love the challenge,” he said. “This truck is 15 months old and I’ve put more than 157,000 miles on it – and took off five weeks vacation in 2010.” Best of Show - Working Bobtail sure looks good to him.

OOIDA Member Vinnie Diorio is all about trucks. He’s been a familiar face at truck shows around the country for the past several years. His sleek, shiny styling rides are as distinctive as fingerprints. Clean, simple and customized. You can’t buy his trucks off the shelf. And while they don’t have the most lights, what they have are the brightest LED lights on the market.

Diorio brought two trucks to Wildwood – a 2005 gray and orange Peterbilt 379 and his special 2007 black and orange Peterbilt 379. Both tractors pull Mac curtainside van trailers. The ’07 Pete used to belong to his good friend Jake Eilen, who died in a car crash in 2008.

Diorio owns three trucks and leases on another 10 owner-operators. He hauls structural steel, machinery and other specialized flatbed freight.

He’s getting ready to celebrate 10 years in business for himself. Growing up on a dairy farm just north of Milwaukee, WI, he knew that trucking was the business for him.

“I’ve always liked trucks,” he said. “At around 16, I started working at a guy’s truck shop, changing truck tires, greasing trucks, and working on them.”

The work hasn’t stopped, but the fun has certainly increased being surrounded by good-looking equipment all the time. He sure got it right in the eyes of the judges too, bringing home an armload of trophies including Best of Show - Working Combo, Best of Show - Limited Mileage Combo and the coveted People’s Choice Award.

Best of Show - Bobtail in the Wash & Show was awarded to Mike Auker, driving Dale Johnson’s sparkling Viper red 2007 Peterbilt 379. Best of Show - Combo in Wash & Show went to Derek Schrader’s 1997 Peterbilt 379. LL