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7th annual Bulldog Roundup

June 14, 2000|By MEG H. PARTINGTON

With a rodeo for 18-wheelers and a pageant of sorts for bulldogs, Mack Trucks Inc. is celebrating its 100th anniversary in style.

cont. from lifestyle

The Hagerstown Powertrain Division plant is honoring the company's centennial Saturday, June 17, with an open house and its seventh annual Bulldog Roundup truck rodeo and show.

Seventy-five to 100 drivers with commercial licenses will compete in the rodeo, which requires them to maneuver their rigs on a course just as they would out on the road. They will back up and dock, pull in and park, and go around tight curves, says Jo Ellen Knight, buyer for the Hagerstown plant.

During the bulldog contest, dogs are rated in various truck-like categories, such as cleanliness of body and undercarriage, front and rear suspension (stance), headlights (clarity of eyes) and oil leaks (general drool).

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"It's all for fun," Knight says of the dog competition, which drew about 20 competitors last year.

The winning bulldog gets a medallion. Other competitors win stuffed bulldogs, she says.

There's also a chance to drive a Mack truck for a buck. Anyone with a driver's license can sit behind the wheel of the tractor portion of a tractor-trailer. A driver with a commercial driver's license will ride along, and others will help novice drivers climb into the cab. Money raised from this event goes to Marshall Street School.

Event coordinators say they've seen families with six kids, even a few grandmothers, pile into a tractor for a drive.

"None of them get out of second gear," says Larry Pepple, a buyer for the local plant.

A truck show will feature new and antique vehicles, not all of which are rigs.

"Over the past few years, dump trucks have become real popular," says Don Talbert, a manufacturing engineer at the Powertrain Division plant. Tow trucks will be on view, too.

"They take a lot of pride in them," says mechanic Paul Strausner, describing those showing trucks.

Visitors can go on self-guided tours of the massive plant, in which engine tests will be conducted. Employees will be on hand to answer questions.

The carnival-like event also will feature rides, a toy show, vendors, military displays, a dunking booth and food galore.

The day starts early with a pancake breakfast at 6:30 a.m. There also will be sandwiches made with sausage, steak or crab cakes, hot dogs, ice cream, barbecued chicken, peanuts, french fries, onion rings and "apple dumplings to die for," Knight says.

The food is sold by 12 Washington County Lions and Lioness clubs.

The finale is a performance by country band Highway 101, which toured with Randy Travis and appeared in 1987 at the Country Music Association Awards with Hank Williams Jr.

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