A rodeoing I went


For the seventh time, Rush Truck Centers put on its annual Tech Skills Rodeo. The event was created so that the company’s technicians can test their skills against one another and compete for valuable prizes, cash and an increase in their hourly pay.

Rush Truck Centers is North America’s largest network of heavy and medium duty truck dealerships.

In order to be able to take part in the rodeo, Rush’s 1,400 technicians from its 70 locations in 15 states who meet certain training requirements attempt to qualify through written exams in the test areas. This year the test areas were: heavy duty vehicles, medium duty vehicles and CNG/LNG-powered vehicles.

For this year’s event, held in in San Antonio, TX, 400 technicians took 900 exams. From this group, the top 80 with the highest scores in the three test areas qualified to compete in the hands-on portion. Any technician that qualified in more than one division had to pick the one area he wanted to compete in.

In addition to the hands-on testing, all competitors must take three wildcard exams, covering Caterpillar, Delo and Dana Spicer products. They are also required to participate in 10 training classes and informational exhibits put on by various industry suppliers and vendors, including Noregon Systems, Jost Interational, Safety-Kleen, Penray and Mobil Delvac.

The intent here is to expose technicians to the latest updates from the company’s vendors and suppliers.

This year’s competition was the largest yet, both in terms of competitors, finalists and supplier and vendor participation.


Other tests

Once again, as part of the Rush Truck Centers Tech Skills Rodeo, Jost Interational held its Fastest Hands event. Participants compete in a mock rebuild of the top plate on a stand-mounted Jost fifth wheel.

Also held again was Beyer Racing’s Fastest Time Competition. Here, participants compete on a racing simulator.

In both competitions, participants with the fastest times win cash prizes.


The winners

The Medium Duty Grand Champion for the 2012 Rush Truck Centers Tech Skills Rodeo was John Dobberpuhl, Denver; total winnings $19,500.

Heavy Duty Grand Champion was Jason Swann, Dallas; $20,000 in winnings. He also earned the title of Heavy Duty Grand Champion in the 2006 and 2008 Tech Skills Rodeo.

Each Grand Champion also received a large trophy for display in their dealership. The trophy is inscribed with their names, along with the names of the previous Grand Champions.

Taking second place in medium duty was Steve Brain, Dallas, $10,000; heavy duty, Mike Jones, Tucson, $11,000.

The top finalist in the medium duty competition was Pieter Dezwart, Doraville, $6,500; heavy duty, Randy Hughes, Texarkana, $8,500.

Taking the top spots in the CNG/LNG competition were Gonzalo Uribe, Fontana, $5,000, and Adam Hillard, Charlotte, $4,000.