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Truckers- National tourney's not easy

August 23, 2000

Truckers- National tourney's not easy



By DON WORTHINGTON / Staff Writer


Tri-State truck drivers Robert Rutherford and James Mills found it wasn't as easy as they'd hoped in the Big Easy.

Rutherford and Mills were among more than 400 truckers who recently converged on New Orleans for the National Truck Driving Championships.

The drivers represented 465,404,238 miles of safe driving. A competitor must have a safe driving record to be eligible for the meet.

Rutherford competed in the five-axle sleeper division and Mills in the five-axle semi-trailer tank.

"It was more than I expected," said Mills, a driver for Cressler Trucking in Shippensburg, Pa.

"It wasn't one of my good days," said Rutherford, a driver for D.M. Bowman of Williamsport.

Both were first-time competitors. They said they took solace in the fact they placed better than some drivers who have been participating in the competition for many years.

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Competing inside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans may have affected their performance, they said.

"It was all inside and I wasn't used to the lights, it made a difference," Rutherford said.

Being limited to studying the obstacle course on a blackboard instead of being able to walk it also made the competition hard, Mills said.

Nonetheless, Mills said he wasn't nervous. "It was the calmest I'd ever been."

Both drivers said they enjoyed and scored high on the interview and written test, and both said they want to go back.

"I now know what to expect, what to practice for," Rutherford said.

Both said they made friends they expect to see not only at future competitions, but on the road.

"I didn't realize how good-hearted people were, everyone was willing to help, lend a hand. Give input on what to do," Rutherford said.

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