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Old Dominion Freight Lines Driver Mike Markham wins Rookie of the Year & Grand Champion Award

After an exciting day of competition, Old Dominion Freight Lines Driver Mike Markham was named Grand Champion of the West Virginia Trucking Association’s 65th Annual Truck Driving Championship, held Saturday, April 29th in Parkersburg, association representatives announced. 

Markham, who has been a professional truck driver for 27 years, took the top honor after competing in a variety of skill and safety tests.  This was Markham’s first time competing in the WV Truck Driving Championships, where he also won the coveted “Rookie of the Year” award for 2023 as well.  

Traci Nelson, President of the West Virginia Trucking Association, said, “The purpose of the Truck Driving Championship is to give trucking professionals the opportunity to test their driving and safety skills against their West Virginia peers. The competition mirrors what professional truck drivers must do day-in and day-out to maintain safety records unmatched by any other segment of the driving public.”

In addition to the driving competition, which included 40 professional truck drivers representing multiple West Virginia-based motor freight companies, the association recognized drivers for their 2023 safety accomplishments during an awards ceremony held after the competition.    

Nelson said Travis Engle, who drives for XPO, was honored with the WV Professional Driver of the Year Award.  Engle has driven for 24 years and logged over 3.7 million miles.   

Mark Godbey, a driver with XPO, earned the West Virginia Public Service Commission Driver of the Year Award.  Godbey has driven for 36 years and has logged over 3.5 million miles.
Other winners include:

  • First Place Straight Truck – Alexander Adkins, Pitt Ohio 
  • First Place 3-Axle Tractor Semi-trailer – James (Vince) May, FedEx Freight
  • First Place 4-Axle Tractor Semi-trailer – Michael Roberts, XPO
  • First Place 5-Axle Van – Paul Norman, Pitt Ohio
  • First Place Tank Truck – Jeremy Thomas, Oliver Fuels
  • First Place Flatbed – Mike Markham, Old Dominion Freight Lines
  • First Place Twin Trailers – Larry Ross, ABF Freight Systems
  • First Place Sleeper Berth – Jordan Jordan, Walmart Transportation
  • First Place Step Van – Brian Ash, FedEx Ground
  • Pre-Trip Inspection Award – Jeremy Thomas, Oliver Fuels
  • Team Champion Award: Old Dominion Freight Lines

All first-place drivers will compete in the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championship – also known as the Super Bowl of Safety – taking place in Columbus, OH August 16th – 19th.  

Thank you to everyone that made this event a huge success!

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Today, the West Virginia Trucking Association, along with American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the entire trucking industry is beginning a week long celebration of the millions of professional truck drivers who deliver America’s freight safely and securely every day.

“Our nation’s professional truck drivers deliver for America in the most important ways, and they are deserving of our praise, recognition, and appreciation,” said Traci Nelson, President of the West Virginia Trucking Association. “We’re proud to work in an industry filled with so many honorable people, none more so than the American truck driver. We are thrilled to have an opportunity to recognize their hard work and dedication during this year’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.”

Celebrated annually, this year’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week runs from September 13-19, 2020 and takes on a special meaning due to the spread of COVID-19. Professional truck drivers stepped up when they were needed most and have kept the economy on its feet despite facing unprecedented obstacles.

There are more than 3.5 million professional truck drivers nationwide, including more than 34,000 in West Virginia – delivering the essential goods our families rely on – from food to fuel to medicine to clothing. The hard-working men and women behind the wheel safely transport over 10 billion tons of goods and products every year, which accounts for 70% of America’s total annual freight. 80% of U.S. communities depend solely on trucking to deliver goods.

This year, the West Virginia Trucking Association asks you to join them and ATA in recognizing the significant contributions our professional truck drivers make to our lives. Their efforts contribute greatly to our quality of life and truly move America forward.

From Chris Spear - President & Chief Executive Officer, American Trucking Association

Dear Professional Truck Drivers, ATA Members and State Trucking Association Executives:

As our industry provides essential services throughout our great nation, most notably to the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, protecting the health, safety and well-being of our workforce is most important to us.  Today we are facing an unprecedented challenge that affects our businesses, families, communities and way of life.

As state and local authorities across the country place restrictions on public activity to slow the spread of COVID-19, many state trucking driving championships and step van driving championships have had to postpone or cancel competition. Accordingly, the decision has been made to cancel the National Truck Driving Championships & National Step Van Driving Championships (NTDC/NSVDC) this year, which had been scheduled for August 19-22 in Indianapolis, IN.

Our industry’s creed and the very spirit of these competitions is “safety first,” and this decision reflects that. It’s made out of an abundance of caution on behalf of the professional drivers competing at the state level, along with the state associations, companies and family members who organize, host and cheer on the competitors. With most drivers unable to practice and states unable to hold competitions, we believe this decision is necessary to maintain the integrity of a “national” championship.

As I have said many times, NTDC is the event I most look forward to every year. Know that we do not take this decision lightly. The Super Bowl of Safety has not been cancelled since World War II, which is a testament to just how unprecedented this present challenge is.

We congratulate all of the drivers who have driven accident-free over the past year and the scores who have accumulated millions of accident free miles. Thank you for every mile you run and every delivery you make. You make your families, our industry and entire country proud.

In the words of the President of the United States: “You are our heroes.”Because ATA has had to make the difficult decision to cancel the National Truck Driving Championship, we have also had to make the same difficult decision for West Virginia.  The WV Truck Driving Championship which we postponed last week to July 18th has now been cancelled.  Keep up the good work you are doing!  You will be back better than ever next year!  We are so proud of our drivers – the best of the best – delivering life’s essentials every day!  Stay safe!

WVTA Members Receive a 2.7% discount
West Virginia Trucking Association members receive a 2.7% discount

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