Reno man wins national truck driving championship
In the “Super Bowl of Safety,” Reno’s Garage Wilson was named MVP.
Wilson, a Reno-based UPS driver and 37-year trucking industry veteran, was named Grand Champion at the 2023 National Truck Driving Championships, held Aug. 16-19 in Columbus, Ohio.
Wilson also won the Tank Truck category, one of nine categories in the competition.
“I am honored to be the Grand Champion of the 2023 National Truck Driving Championships and to represent the millions of truck drivers who always put safety first while navigating the roads,” said Wilson. He added: “Winning this year’s award is not only a personal achievement, but also a testament to the dedication and professionalism of all my fellow drivers.”
2.5 million miles – zero accidents
The truck driving championship, originally known as the National Truck Roadeo, has been held since 1937 by the American Trucking Associations to promote safety and fitness on the nation’s roadways. Competitors are tested on driving skills, pre-trip inspections, personal interviews, and written tests on vehicle operation and federal safety regulations.
It was familiar territory for Wilson, as this year’s competition was his 14th appearance at the event. He previously won Best Pre-Trip Inspection in 2000. He also won Nevada State Grand Champion in 2018, and was named Nevada Driver of the Year in 2019.
It also marks his 37th year in the trucking business, with more than 2.5 million accident-free miles on the job to date.
“Since this is my 14th time competing in the national competition, being surrounded by friends who feel like family and their unwavering support keeps me grounded and motivated,” Wilson said. “Winning the Grand Champion title does not belong to me alone, but to all the dedicated professionals who prioritize safety and excellence on the road.”
Wilson said his UPS team in the competition collectively represented 413 years of service and 277 years of safe driving.
Nationally, the trucking and logistics industry employs 8.4 million people and accounts for more than 300 billion miles on American roads. Wilson noted that the transportation industry is a vital link to the American economy, especially for Nevadans — 72.5% of all freight nationwide is transported by truck drivers at one point or another, and that number rises to 79.9% in Nevada.
“As consumers, we may not know the complex logistics that the American trucking industry operates to deliver the essential goods and amenities we all enjoy on a daily basis,” Wilson told RGJ. “The reality is that if trucks stopped suddenly, the consequences would ripple through our lives in just 24 hours. Grocery store shelves would be empty, hospitals would scramble to find essential supplies and fuel shortages would occur across the country.
“For many Americans, transporting and delivering the food on our plates, the vaccines we rely on, or the clothes in our closets is not always our top priority,” Wilson said. “But when you stop to think about it, it’s America’s truck drivers — the critical link between goods and consumers — who ensure the safe and efficient delivery of all essential goods to our doorsteps and storefronts in Nevada and across the country.”