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Greencastle trucker hopes to haul in enough votes for machinery makeover

January 11, 2008|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

GREENCASTLE, PA. ? For Don Wolford, there was never a second choice as to whether he would be a truck driver. After 20 years and nearly 3 million miles driven, he decided it was time to buy another truck.

Wolford, 41, of Greencastle, purchased a 1977 Kenworth 900A in October and planned to make over the truck in the spring. Then, he came across an article in a magazine about the "Castrol Tection Extra Big Honkin' Truck Makeover" contest, in which the grand prize was a $50,000 truck makeover.

"I really didn't think I had a chance," Wolford said.

Applications for the contest were due by Oct. 31. On Dec. 8, Wolford received a letter that he was one of three finalists in the competition.

"I was busy ... I didn't look at (the letter) until Sunday (Dec. 9)," Wolford said. "I couldn't believe it ? top-three finalist. I'm like, 'No way.'"

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Wolford is trying to accumulate as many online votes as possible, which can be submitted through Feb. 28. To vote, go to www.castroltruckmakeover.com and click on vote.

"I'd like the support of the community," Wolford said.

The competition required an essay and a picture of the truck. The essay had to be 150 words or fewer.

"The essay is to promote why your truck should be chosen to be made over," Wolford said.

"What's unique about his (essay) is he used titles of old trucking songs," said Wolford's wife, Maria. "I think only truckers will recognize that."

Wolford said the titles are old country songs, mostly from the 1960s and '70s, when trucking was big. Some of the song titles include "King of the Road," "That Endless Black Ribbon" and "Movin' On."

Wolford said the truck will not be road-ready without some major work, which could cost $20,000 to $30,000. It needs new paint, because the current paint is 30 years old, new seats, new chrome and the grill is rusty, Wolford said.

"He likes old trucks," Maria Wolford said.

"(They) seem to have a little more style, character and soul," Don Wolford said. "I like to think where the truck has been in the last 30 years (and) who's driven it."

The 1977 Kenworth 900A was the same style of truck with the same paint scheme as the one used in a 1970s television show called "Movin' On," Wolford said. That was in part why he used the song title in his essay.

Finalists were determined by a point system based on the essay's creativity, relevance and the photograph, and the three entries with the most points were the finalists. The contest usually receives hundreds of applications, and there were more than 300 last year, Wolford said.

The grand-prize winner will be chosen based on how many online votes received, how many votes received at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., on March 27 and 28, and a point system based on how many votes each contestant receives and which essay the judges find to be most creative.

Judges are chosen by BP Lubricants USA Inc., which sponsors the contest.

Maria said she believes her husband should win the contest because of his passion for trucks and truck driving.

"We've made sacrifices with the family," Maria said. "The girls have made sacrifices about their dad."

Maria and Don have two daughters, Christina, 11 and Rachel, 8. Wolford leaves for work on Sunday evenings after dinner and comes home on Fridays. Maria stays home with the children.

"So it's hard sometimes," Maria said. "If he won this contest, it would be a dream come true."

"I might be able to be home more (if my truck was remade)," Wolford said.

"And I would like that a lot," said Christina, who has been around trucks since she was born.

If Wolford's truck received a makeover, he would no longer have to make payments on his current truck, a 2006 Freightliner Coronado. That might mean he would be able to do more work locally.

The family plans to attend the Mid-America Trucking Show, the largest in the country, in March, with all their expenses paid. Wolford has been there twice before as a spectator.

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