Virginia drivers win top honors at skills comptition

The Virginia Trucking Association and its Safety Council held their annual Champions of the Highway driving competition earlier this month at Tidewater Community College in Suffolk, Virginia.

A total of 103 drivers represented 17 different companies. There were 24 first time competitors.

GRand championship winner Homer Blackwell, Jr. of Waynesboro, Virginia, a driver for UPS

The winners were:

Homer Blackwell, Jr. of Waynesboro, Virginia, a driver for UPS out of their Fishersville, Virginia terminal won the Neill Darmstadter Memorial Grand Champion Award. Blackwell has been a truck driver for 42 years with 39 of those years with UPS and has driven 4.6 million safe driving miles.

Anthony Cottrell of Bedford, Virginia, a driver for XPO Logistics, won the Willie Taylor Memorial Course Champion Award for achieving the highest score on the field course portion of the competition.

Two drivers tied for the Captain Roy Terry Memorial Pre-Trip Inspection Award, given to the driver with the highest score in the equipment defects portion of the competition. Winning were Tom Tascone of Lynchburg, Virginia, a driver for Walmart Transportation, out of their Sutherland, Virginia distribution center and Doug Padgett of Alexandria,Virginia, a driver for Robinson Terminal Warehouse out of their Springfield, Virginia terminal.

The Rookie of the Year Award was presented to Chris Anderson of Staunton, Virginia, a driver for Pepsico out of their Wytheville, Virginia terminal. This award is presented each year to the highest scoring, first-time competitor.

The Team Trophy was won by XPO Logistics, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This award is presented to the company with the highest average score of all its drivers competing in the Championships.

The event is patterned after the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships. The first-place winners will represent Virginia in the National Truck Driving Championships to be held Aug. 10-13 in Indianapolis.