Despite snow, PKY Truck Beauty Championship delivers

March 26, 2018

Suzanne Stempinski


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The motto for the United States Post Office is, “Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night will stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” That’s equally true of the dedicated (completely crazy) men and women devoted to showing their trucks regardless of the weather conditions in March in the PKY Truck Beauty Championship at the Mid-America Truck Show.

Record snowfall – upward of 8 inches – ice and bone-chilling cold, followed by thaw and sunshine and then torrential rain provided the backdrop for some of the most beautiful and inspired trucks on the parking lot behind the West Wing. This year’s PKY offered a whopping 107 trucks in competition.

“I’ve wanted to show here at MATS since I was 8 years old,” explained 38-year-old Josh Gentry.

It’s why he named his two-tone blue 2018 Peterbilt 389 pulling a 2018 Timpte Grain Hopper “Long Time Coming.” Built with a little input from legendary Kansas City Peterbilt dealer Clint Moore, the truck will stay busy hauling grain and livestock around the south. Gentry was deeply humbled to receive the Jake Eilen Pride in Your Ride Award, presented every year by the Eilen Family in memory of Jake, whose life ended too soon but whose legacy never fades.

“To be chosen for this honor is absolutely awesome,” Gentry said. “This is truly a prestigious award and means the world to me.”

PKY Truck Beauty Championship
Josh Gentry’s 2018 Peterbilt 389 “Long Time Coming” took home the Jake Eilen Pride in Your Ride award at the PKY Truck Beauty Championship.

The Eilen family is filled with show truck participants. And they all pitch in to help one another on the field of competition. This time, Jonathan Eilen’s 1990 black, gray and white Peterbilt 379, The Hustler, cleaned up bigtime, winning Best Limited Interior, Best Limited Engine, Best Limited Bobtail Paint and Graphics, and Best of Show Limited Bobtail. On the lot or going down the road, their trucks turn heads.

Brother Pat has a new truck in the works – but so far it’s just a lot of sheet metal and plans. Look for him to bring out something special later this year.

An old truck that looks better than new, Theresa DeSantis of Apache Junction, Ariz., keeps coming back with her 1985 red-and-orange Peterbilt 359 pulling a 2016 East tarpside trailer. Fondly referred to as The Witches Inn, witches with cauldrons and broomsticks adorn this sharp old ride. She stirred the minds of the judges as well, taking home five trophies, including Best of Show Working Combo. Wicked!

Best of Show-Working Bobtail was awarded to Dave Baker of Rock Island, Ill. His truck, a 2016 cream, brown and orange striped Kenworth W900L, is called The Duke and runs for Fleenor Bros. All their trucks are sharp and this was no exception, bringing home three trophies for their efforts.


PKY Truck Beauty Championship
Jonathan Donadio and “Minty Fresh”, a two-tone 2019 Kenworth W900 and 2019 East Dump trailer, took home awards for Limited Combo Lights, Limited Combo Custom Paint and Graphics, and Best of Show Limited Dump Combo.

There are big trucks and good trucks and great big badass trucks. Jonathan Donadio hails from Guilford, Conn., and brought the best Limited Mileage Dump Combo. Two-tone green exterior, sparkling clean, lit from inside and out, Minty Fresh is a 2019 Kenworth W900 pulling a 2019 East Dump that will rock your world. The judges recognized its excellence by giving it top honors in three categories – Limited Combo Lights, Limited Combo Custom Paint and Graphics, and Best of Show Limited Dump Combo.

Joe Hertel hails from Lebanon, Pa. His 2018 purple and black Kenworth W900 and 2019 Mac tarped flatbed make a knockout combo, earning him Best of Show Limited Combo honors.

If Big-N-Sexy is what you’re after, Steven Smith’s 2016 blue Peterbilt 389 and 2016 Trout River SC-35 Paving Trailer brought it. They were recognized as Best of Show Working Dump Combo.

People’s Choice Winner – chosen by the voting public – went to David McKinney and his 1994 blue Peterbilt 379.

New this year and looking to start a trend was the RatRod class. These low down lean machines are gaining in popularity – not as freight haulers but they sure have a distinctive style. Recognized as the Best of the RatRod bunch, and awarded a really cool trophy featuring a cut out of a rat and rusty wrenches, Danny Autullo’s 1993 black Peterbilt 379 created a big buzz on the lot.