Longtime competitor is grand champion in Arizona contest

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Ina Daly, pictured here with her horse Jessie, used to ride horses competitively. While she no longer competes, she still loves owning horses. (Image Courtesy of Ina Daly)Ina Daly, pictured here with her horse Jessie, used to ride horses competitively. While she no longer competes, she still loves owning horses. (Image Courtesy of Ina Daly)

XPO Logistics driver Ina Daly knows her way around a road skills course. As a 25-time competitor in state truck driving championships and former national first place winner, she can weave around traffic cones, tennis balls, and other tightly-placed obstacles like the longtime professional trucker she is.

Now Daly, from Avondale, Arizona, has yet another accomplishment to add to her list: 2018 Arizona Truck Driving Championship Grand Champion. She’ll be heading once again to the National Truck Driving Championship, put on by the American Trucking Association and held Aug. 15-18 in Columbus, Ohio. She also won first place this year in the tanker category. 

“It’s fun and a way to show company pride but there’s a lot of takeaway from it. I’ve learned a ton,” Daly said about competing. “I’m out here driving a truck and I want to be the best driver that I can be.”

Daly has gone to the nationals as part of the Arizona team 13 times. In 2013, she won first place nationally in the tanker category and was the first woman to ever place first in the national competition. Her favorite part of competing isn’t the award titles and trophies, though. For Daly, it’s all about the friendships she’s made throughout all her years of competing and the camaraderie among the competitors.

Daly also won first place in the tanker category in the 2017 Arizona competition. (Image Courtesy of XPO Logistics/Facebook)Daly also won first place in the tanker category in the 2017 Arizona competition. (Image Courtesy of XPO Logistics/Facebook)

“The TDC competitors kind of form a family both at the state and national levels. We kind of become a family and we call each other all the time and we give each other motivation and even tips on what we could do a little different to be better at it,” Daly said.

Daly would like to see more women competing on the state and national levels. She says she thinks Arizona has a fair amount of female competitors, but she’d like to see more women competing in other states and in the nationals.

“I would like to tell them: Give it a try. You’re out here doing this job every day and don’t you want to be the best driver you can be?” Daly said. “It’s a perfect opportunity to learn more about the job you do and make you a better driver and give you, most importantly, a venue to feel a little pride in what you do and to meet some other like-minded drivers who show pride in their careers.”

Daly was inspired to be a trucker by her father, Jack Daly. He was a trucker and a single father of six. Growing up, Daly was always more fascinated with trucking than her siblings. She began driving when she was 19 because she needed a part time job so she could save up to attend to college. She made such good money trucking, though, that she decided to stick with it, and she started working for XPO when she was 22.

“There are a lot of jobs out there but there aren’t a lot of jobs out there that you can enjoy and have fun with, see the sights, and just go out and do what you’re supposed to do on your own, and enjoy the camaraderie of other drivers. It’s just enjoyable and it pays well,” Daly said.