This past May, forty-eight drivers from across the Southeast gathered at Thompson Tractor Company to compete in the Alabama Concrete Industries Association’s Truck Driver Championship, held each year to recognize the men and women for all the hard work they do for our industry. But only one driver could win First Place.
Willie Benson, who works for Ready Mix USA, has been driving a concrete truck for more than 15 years. He will be competing in the National Ready Mix Truck Driving Championship next Saturday, October 5th, in Kissimmee, Florida.
We spoke with Willie to get his thoughts on winning our truck driver championship, and how he feels about the upcoming competition.
Q: Back in the spring, you won the ACIA’s Truck Driver Championship…tell us what you did to prepare for that?
A: One thing I did was try to study up on things that I thought would be on the test: such as weight restriction on State Highway versus county roads, how many revolutions the drum needs to turn after adding water, the height of the truck etc.
Q: How did you feel when they announced you as the winner?
A: I was a little surprised to hear my name called as the winner. I know I did pretty good, but out of 48 drivers …to win it! Means I can do more than just hold it in the road, I got mad skills, haha. It was a boost to my ego a little.
Q: Are you nervous about competing at the National Truck Driving Championship?
A: I’m nervous to go to the nationals because I don’t know what to expect since its my first time, but look out, I’m going to make it do, what it do.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: Working around a nice group of people and being home daily.
Q: What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
A: Most people don’t know that I wake up like this, LOL and how old I am.
Q: What are you looking most forward to about the upcoming competition?
A: I like a challenge, so I’m looking forward to the driving course
About the championship
Each driver performs various obstacles throughout the course, scoring points for their performance. The challenges include an inspection of the truck, parallel parking, railroad stop, tightest turn, rear stop and a written test. Winners receive cash prizes and are awarded a trophy.