In Alaska, the Trucking Association (ATA) makes a big deal of their annual Truck Driving Championship (TDC) competition. And why not, it is a really big deal. While trucking drives the Alaskan economy, safety is a huge focus especially when inclement weather patterns affect driving conditions for the majority of the year. Local sponsors, state organizations, competitor support and participants altogether take this as an opportunity and make a festival of it to really appreciate commitment, time and sacrifice.
ATA 2017 National Truck Driving Championship
Denny Hawkins: 1st place in 3-Axle Class
3rd Place grand champion.
Ryan Surian: 1st place in flat bed class
Alan Marshall: 2nd place in 4-Axle class
Todd Wheeler: 3rd place in 5-Axle class
Jerimiah Payne: 3rd place in Tanker Class
|Danielle Rodriguez||Gilbert Bombon||Edgar Fernandez||Andrew Sayers||Matt Carroll||Steven Weller||Kris Smith|
|Flat Bed||4-Axle||Straight Truck||Straight Truck||Straight Truck||3-Axle||Tanker||
For our Alaska drivers especially, this competition is no light matter with preparation beginning a year prior requiring participants to keep a clean driving record until the annual event. As AFF Truck Driving Coach, Darren Kessler (Dispatch Lead) put it, “The most memorable thing is how hard all the drivers worked this year to practice for the event. We had driving practice….we had study groups to study the book for the written test.”
Overall we had a team of 13 drivers compete in this year’s TDC in Alaska.
Our Alaska Team in collaboration with the Washington Team both did well for only attending the championships twice. To make it to the nationals twice in two years is a great accomplishment.
The Truck Driving Championship is an annual championship where drivers, who qualify at the state level championship, can get invited to the national competition. This year’s national competition will be the 80th Anniversary being held in Orlando, Florida. The competition has a long history dating back to 1937 when it was previously known as the “National Truck Roadeo”. In total, there are eight classes of competition where drivers demonstrate their skills in inspection, knowledge, and professionalism through a series of Olympic-like competition events. The overall goal for the competition is to promote operator safety. It is known in the industry as the “Super Bowl of Safety” where drivers undergo a written exam, personal interview, pre-trip inspection and a skills test. To even be considered drivers must be accident-free for at least one year prior to the competition. For many companies it’s seen as a great incentive to keep their drivers accident-free as well as a recognition program. Many drivers have millions of accident-free miles to their credit.