White's Travel Plaza in Raphine, Virginia was exploding with excitement when I stopped in for the 36th annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs event last month. Employees, travelers, professional drivers, locals and the Shell Big Rig team all brought a level of enthusiasm that added to all that the location offers.
White’s, which is owned by NATSO member Bobby Berkstresser and located on I-81 in Raphine, Va., is always a popular location, and when you add a spectacular event like the Shell Big Rigs, it becomes even more of a draw. The professional drivers that I had the opportunity to talk to rearranged their schedules with their companies so they could participate in the excitement.
The number of trucks on the lot was amazing. At night when they judged the Big Rig Best Lighting, it was a sight to see. Plus, the event featured live music, fireworks and vendors. It was great to see fellow NATSO supporters including Bridgestone and Mizco Tough Tested, having a presence at the event. Trucker Buddy, White's Medicine Shoppe, the local Humane Society, and many other vendors and food trucks were also on the lot.
One fun highlight was seeing the Shell Starship, a hyper- fuel efficient Class 8 tractor trailer. (Check out the first picture to see what it looks like.) The truck featured a custom, aerodynamic design and aims to demonstrate improvements in fuel economy for class 8 trucks. It just finished its first cross-country trip before making its way to White’s.
I also enjoyed when the local sheriff's department provided an escort and brought 60 trucks from White's Travel Plaza to downtown Lexington, Va., for a parade. It was great to see these amazing trucks roll into Main Street into the historic downtown area.
The big rigs lined the blocked off streets, parked and opened their doors so local friends and neighbors could see the awesome machines they are. Once again, live music filled the air and, once the sun set, the lights of the trucks all started glowing. It was a great event and a beautiful representation of the trucking industry.
You can get a birds-eye view of all the magic that took place during the SuperRigs light show and fireworks display on White’s web site.
The event also had great media coverage, which speaks to all of the work White’s did as the event hosts.
The entire event was a powerful tribute to a town coming together to honor professional drivers and the difference they make in all of our lives. I was happy to represent NATSO and to be a small part of this tribute.
Photo credit: Brian Hayes
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