Shell Rotella SuperRigs dazzles with chrome, lights

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Participants and visitors enjoyed plenty of chrome, lights, and spotless trucks as the 40th Anniversary Shell Rotella SuperRigs rolled into Branson Landing in Branson, Mo., held June 9-11.

Theresa DeSantis captured Best of Show honors with her 1985 Peterbilt 359 with a 2016 East trailer. She was awarded $10,000 from Shell Rotella. She also won the Steve Sturgess Best Theme award for her “The Witches Inn” theme. She previously won Best of Show in 2019.

Ben Overton, a driver with Jade Transport from Winnipeg, Man., won third place in the tractor-trailer division with a 2020 Kenworth W900B.

Truck parade at Shell Rotella SuperRigs in Branson, Mo.
A big rig rolls past onlookers at Branson Landing in Branson, Mo., during the 40th anniversary Shell Rotella SuperRigs. (Photo: Leo Barros)

Heather Duffey Wales, global integrated marketing communications manager, Shell, said the focus is on the working truck driver.

“This not a show about who has the most money, or the most time to work on their truck. It’s about camaraderie between truckers, about family. It’s not about whether your truck can win or not, it’s about sitting on this lot with people who are your friends, colleagues who are on the road with you, whom you know have your back and spending time with them.”

Judge Jami Jones, managing editor of Land Line magazine, said the competition was tough this year. “It makes our job hard, but that’s what makes it fun too. You want to celebrate the best in the industry. They are ambassadors for trucking,” she said.

Fireworks at SuperRigs
Fireworks light up the sky on the second night of the event. (Photo: Shell Rotella/Stephen Clark)

First-time judge Linda Garner-Bunch, managing editor of The Trucker said she loved that the show is centered around drivers and working trucks, not just the people that roll them in and out of the garage and polish them up every now and then.

What do judges look for when they are judging participants’ trucks?

Picture of Theresa DeSantis
Theresa DeSantis won the best of show prize with her 1985 Peterbilt 359 with a 2016 East trailer. (Photo: Shell Rotella/Stephen Clark)

Garner-Bunch said they look at the details. “Polish it up. If it’s your first show, even if you don’t place, you will love the atmosphere, you will learn a lot of tricks and tips,” she said.

And she added a word of warning. “Don’t leave underwear in the sleeper. Show your pride in your truck because your truck reflects you.”

The three-day event included the truck lights contest and fireworks, contestant dinner and a truck parade through Branson Landing.

List of winners

Best of Show

Winner: Theresa DeSantis, 1985 Peterbilt 359

1st runner up: Truett Novosad, 2007 Peterbilt 379 EXHD

2nd runner up: Dean DeSantis, 2018 Peterbilt 389

Tractor/Trailer Division

Winner: Todd Gribble, 2012 Peterbilt 389

2nd place: Truett Novosad, 2005 Peterbilt 379 EHD

3rd place: Ben Overton, 2020 Kenworth W900B

4th place: Jeron Whittmore, 2018 Peterbilt 389

5th place: Mike Davidson, 2019 Peterbilt 389

Tractor Division

Winner: Kaleb Hammett, 2019 Peterbilt 389

2nd place: Kyle Cousins, 2021 Kenworth W900

3rd place: Kyle Cousins, 2016 Kenworth W900

4th place: Clayton Driskell, 2018 Kenworth W900L

5th place: Tyler Van Der Zwaag, 1995 Peterbilt 379

Classic Division

Winner: David Foster, 2005 Kenworth W900L

2nd place: JR Schleuger, 1985 Kenworth K100C

3rd place: Trevor Timblin, 1982 Peterbilt 362

4th place: Gary Tharp, 1984 Peterbilt 362

5th place: Terry Aslinger, 1996 Peterbilt 379EXHD

Working Truck – Limited Mileage

Winner: Robert Hallahan, 2022 Peterbilt 389

2nd place: Bubba Branch, 1996 Kenworth W900

3rd place: Steve Huff, 2022 Kenworth W900L

4th place: Randy Victory, 1986 Peterbilt 359

5th place: Jeremy Thomas, 2005 Peterbilt 379

Show Truck

Brandon Avant, 2010 Peterbilt 389

Kary Bryce, 1959 Peterbilt 351

Don Emmons, 1999 Peterbilt 379

Jeron Whittmore, 1991 Peterbilt 379

Troy Bolin, 1979 Peterbilt 359

Best Interior

Truett Novosad, 2007 Peterbilt 379 EXHD

Best Lights

Randy Victory, 1986 Peterbilt 359

Best Theme

Theresa DeSantis, 1985 Peterbilt 359

Best Chrome

Bubba Branch, 1996 Kenworth W900

Best Engine

Bubba Branch, 1996 Kenworth W900

People’s Choice

Daniel and Phyliss Snow, 1996 Freightliner Classic XL

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at