Nebraska Trucking Association Hosts 2024 Nebraska Truck Driving Championships

| June 9, 2024

Nebraska Truck Driving Championships, a National Truck Driving Championships qualifying event, gathers the safest and most professional drivers in Nebraska to spotlight their abilities in and out of the truck

A host of skilled and talented drivers rolled into town for the 2024 Nebraska Truck Driving Championships (NTDC), an annual event of the Nebraska Trucking Association (NTA) The competitors included 32 rookies, a record-setting 13 women, and returning veterans, totaling 98 drivers and 10 truck classes.

The Nebraska Truck Driving Championships, a National Truck Driving Championships qualifying event, gathers the safest and most professional drivers in Nebraska to spotlight their abilities in and out of the truck. NTDC is a challenging competition and a reflection of the trucking industry’s celebration of and commitment to safety on Nebraska’s roadways and beyond.

The NTDC showcases the drivers’ skills, high standards, and commitment to safety. It begins with a written exam, followed by pre-trip inspections and oral interviews with the Nebraska State Patrol. The final challenge is a driving course, newly designed each year, with six problems that rigorously test the drivers’ skills in maintaining control, navigating obstacles, and backing.

After the successful addition of mixer class-specific problems in 2023 through a partnership with Nebraska Concrete & Aggregates Association, mixer class drivers were again presented with problems unique to their skills and requirements. In one problem, mixer drivers tried to sink a hole-in-one using their chutes.

Finally, the team award, a symbol of unity and collaboration, is up for grabs. Companies and fleets that send three or more drivers to compete have a chance to win. This award is given to the team with the highest overall average score, fostering a spirit of teamwork and camaraderie in the event.

2024 Grand Champion: Eric Stein, Werner Enterprises

Rookie of the Year: Todd Gimpel, FedEx Freight

Professional Excellence Award: Eric Stein, Werner Enterprises

Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) is a revered partner of the NTA. The NSP Carrier Enforcement Troopers play a crucial role in NTDC, and the Bucky Buchholtz Top Driver Award is named in honor of one of their distinguished members. Buchholtz was both an NSP Trooper and a long-time member of the championships committee. This award is presented to the driver with the highest score on the driving course. The 2024 winner of the Bucky Buchholtz Top Driver Award is Rob Jensen, Fremont Contract Carriers.

Kurt Everett was another valued member of the championship committee, and the Kurt Everett Vehicle Condition Award was created to acknowledge the driver with the highest pre-trip inspection score. The Kurt Everett Vehicle Condition Award for 2024 goes to Eric Stein, Werner Enterprises.

The Jerry Wessel Award, named in honor of the long-time NTDC committee leader, is presented to drivers who have competed or volunteered at the Championships for at least five years and have demonstrated the highest standards of professionalism, industry knowledge, and attitude. This year’s winner is Rob Jensen, Fremont Contract Carriers.

The first-place winner in each class advances to a national competition. Nine class winners will attend the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships in Indianapolis, IN, from August 21-24, 2024. The first-place winner in the mixer truck class will advance to the 18th annual National Mixer Driver Championship to be held during this year’s NRMCA’s ConcreteWorks 2024, running from October 10 to October 14, 2024.

Also held during the competition were the Nebraska State Patrol Inspector Championships, which included a personal interview, a tabletop hazardous materials exercise, and various hands-on inspections. Sergeant Matt Ramsey from Omaha, NE, earned first-place honors, while Investigator Kris Hunzeker from Lincoln, NE, received runner-up honors. Sergeant Ramsey will now represent Nebraska in the North American Inspector Championships, held in conjunction with the ATA’s National Truck Driving Championships.

2024 NTDC Class Winners:
Straight Class:
1st Christina Gaines FedEx Express
2nd Sam Wilson XPO Logistics
3rd Steven Hayes Grand Island Express

Three-Axle Class:
1st Eric Stein Werner Enterprises
2nd Jeffery Reed Old Dominion Freight Line
3rd Joseph Bush ABF Freight Systems, Inc.

Four-Axle Class:
1st Garet Poland Walmart Transportation
2nd Izet Kantarevic Werner Enterprises
3rd James Dotson FedEx Freight

Five-Axle Class:
1st Chauncy Hunter Greater Omaha Express, LLC
2nd Justine September Baldwin FedEx Ground
3rd Paul Johnson Old Dominion Freight Line

Five-Axle Sleeper Class:
1st David Strandring Hill Brothers Transportation, Inc.
2nd John Putney Greater Omaha Express, LLC
3rd Tim Dean Werner Enterprises

Tank Truck Class:
1st Mark Cole Old Dominion Freight Line
2nd Ray Peterson Wynne Transport Services, Inc.
3rd Philip DeLauder Werner Enterprises

Flatbed Class:
1st Guy Courtney Crete Carrier Corporation
2nd Larry Derr Werner Enterprises
3rd Tommy Inzauro Lyman Richey Corporation

Twin-Trailers Class:
1st Todd Gimpel FedEx Freight, Inc.
2nd Dave Podelco ABF Freight Systems, Inc.
3rd Chris Dotson FedEx Freight

Mixer Truck Class:
1st Linda Pawlenty Ready Mixed Concrete Co. of Lincoln
2nd Jacob Freiderich Lyman Richy Corporation
3rd Greg Burroughs Ready Mixed Concrete Co. of Lincoln

Step Van Class:
1st Rob Jensen Fremont Contract Carriers, Inc.
2nd Theresea Trively FedEx Freight, Inc.
3rd Andy Wire XPO Logistics

Team Winners:
1st Werner Enterprises
2nd Greater Omaha Express
3rd Fremont Contract Carriers

Once again, the Nebraska Trucking Association’s Safety Management Council and the Nebraska Truck Driving Championships Committee put on the successful championships highlighting the exceptional trucking industry professionals of Nebraska.

The Nebraska Trucking Association (NTA) is the statewide trade association for commercial trucks and affiliated businesses. NTA provides essential knowledge, contacts, services, political representation, and partnerships that support our members in delivering goods to Nebraska communities and throughout North America.

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