Rookie finalist likes that trucking shows him America

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Carl HumphreyCarl Humphrey

Trucking’s Top Rookie finalist Carl Humphrey defended his country for eight years in the Navy, but he’d only been able to visit a handful of states. Now that he’s an over-the-road trucker, Humphrey is trying to explore as much of the country as he can.

“I want to go pretty much anywhere and everywhere I can,” he said.

While many truckers appreciate the travel opportunities the job brings, Humphrey tries to take it one step further by seeking out local restaurants and routing himself near local attractions whenever possible. His favorite way to get to know an area is by getting a taste of local cuisine. In the nine months he’s been trucking, he’s been everywhere in the lower 48 but North Dakota.

“I try to find something to do everywhere I go,” Humphrey said.

He brings up Google Maps when he pulls into a truck stop and looks for places where locals like to eat, and he says that usually points him in the right direction. He also tries to network in each area he visits.

“I try to make friends everywhere I go so that way if I stop somewhere I can call them up and say let’s go do something,” Humphrey said.

Humphrey, from Spokane, Washington, works for Jim Palmer Trucking. He’s content as a company driver but has a long term goal of becoming an owner-operator, which would give him control over the places he visits.

“A lot with company drivers, I find that we’re picking up and dropping off at a lot of the same places,” said Humphrey. “You do get used to it, and that’s really good, but I’d also like to get to some other places where I’ve never been or hauling freight that I’ve never hauled.”

Humphrey with his company truck.Humphrey with his company truck.

After he got out of the Navy, a cousin who was a trucker tried to talk Humphrey into becoming a driver. At the time, Humphrey says he kind of blew it off and thought, “I’ll go do my own thing.”

He drove a small van for 10 years delivering home medical oxygen, but decided he wanted a career that was more laid back and with less paperwork. He wanted a change but still wanted to drive.

“It just kind of finally struck me that maybe my cousin was right,” said Humphrey, who is one of 10 finalists in the Trucking’s Top Rookie contest presented by Truckers News.

The winner of the 2017 Trucking’s Top Rookie award will be announced during a ceremony Friday, Aug. 25 at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, and will receive $10,000 and a package of prizes.

The winner receives:

  • $10,000 cash
  • Expenses paid trip to the awards presentation in Dallas
  • A custom plaque from Award Company of America
  • Interview on Red Eye Radio Network with Eric Harley
  • $1,000 worth of DAS Products merchandise featuring the RoadPro Getting Started Living On-The-Go Package
  • American Trucking Associations “Good Stuff Trucks Bring It” package, which includes a logoed polo shirt, baseball cap, model truck and utility knife
  • An IntelliRoute TNDTM 730 LM GPS Unit and a Deluxe Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas from Rand McNally
  • A dash cam and CB radio from Cobra
  • Feature story in Truckers News

$1,000 cashThe other nine finalists receive:

  • A custom plaque from Award Company of America
  • $100 worth of DAS Products merchandise, featuring the Road Pro MobileSpec Portable Life Package
  • American Trucking Associations‘ “Good Stuff Trucks Bring It” package which includes a logoed polo shirt, baseball cap, model truck and utility knife
  • An IntelliRoute TNDTM 730 LM GPS Unit
  • CB radio from Cobra

Sponsors include:

  • The RoadPro Family of Brands
  • Rand McNally
  • Cobra Electronics
  • Progressive
  • RedEye Radio
  • ATA

Recognizing the top rookie driver was the idea of the late Mike O’Connell, who was formerly the executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association. He believed that honoring a top rookie driver helps show new drivers they are appreciated by the trucking industry.