Strong showing for Canadians at SuperRigs

ALBERT LEA, Minn. – The 37th annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs show brought drivers from across North America to small-town Minnesota with hopes of taking home an award in the truck beauty contest, and a Canadian driver did just that.

Some of the nicest rigs on the road came to Albert Lea, including two from Manitoba and one from Ontario. Jay Palachuk, an owner-operator who drives for Krenkevich out of Winnipeg, took home second place in the Classic Working Truck category for his 1996 Kenworth.

“This is crazy, it blows me away,” Palachuk said after receiving the award, which also netted him $1,000 in prize money. “If you look around at everything here, I wouldn’t have expected this at all. There’s so much nice stuff here.”

Jay Palachuk got second place in the Classic Working Truck category for his 1996 Kenworth at Shell Rotella SuperRigs 2019.

Palachuk said when they announced the fifth-place winner in his category and it wasn’t him, he thought there was no way he would hear his name called.

“Then I got second and my buddy (Tod Job) got first, so it was pretty cool,” he said.

Barry Kasdorf, a driver with Jade Transport in Winnipeg, also took part in the contest and said SuperRigs is a great event to meet up with old friends.

“Once you’ve done it for a while it almost becomes like a family gathering,” said Kasdorf. “And when you don’t show up, guys are asking, ‘Where is he?’”

Winners were announced on Saturday, the final day of the event. The most prestigious award for Best of Show went to Theresa DeSantis for her “Witches Truck.” DeSantis received $10,000 for the win, and she also took home the awards for Best Theme and Best Engine.

Other winners included Dustin Shipman for Best Interior, Gary Jones Jr. for Best Lights, Cody Jaeschke for Best Tractor, and the People’s Choice Award went to Todd Brenny of Brenny Specialized.

Trucks were judged in one of two categories – working or show truck – as well as several sub-categories, all competing for $25,000 in cash and prizes.

Twenty-six trucks in total received awards in categories including Best of Show, Tractor, Tractor-trailer combination, and Classic.

Judges scored the rigs on exterior appearance, design, details and finish, originality, and workmanship.

Twelve drivers were also selected to be featured in the 2020 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar.

The show took place at Trail’s Travel Center, located at the intersection of I-35 and I-90. Trail’s provides a variety of services to truckers, including the availability of heavy-duty truck parts, trailer wash out, tire, wheel and suspension repair, oil change packages, and several driver amenities like showers, a movie theater, and dining options.

In addition to the truck beauty contest, the three-day event also included a truck light show, fireworks, and a performance by Casi Joy on Friday evening. Joy was the fifth-place finalist on the NBC show The Voice in 2017.

Due to rain, a scheduled truck convoy into Albert Lea was canceled Thursday evening.

Shell Rotella will scout out locations for its next SuperRigs event in 2020 and make an announcement later in the year.

“This is probably one of the best shows I’ve ever been to,” said Mike Wilkinson, an owner-operator from Ontario who entered his 2020 Kenworth into the truck beauty contest. “I love going to the U.S. show circuit because I’ve met so many awesome people. It’s the comradery of meeting new friends and hanging out with old friends.”

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A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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