Frederick Weatherspoon, a 51-year-old company driver for Dartco and veteran of three branches of the U.S. military, Aug. 28 was named the winner of the fifth annual Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie Award.
Weatherspoon, who served in the Marines, Air National Guard and Army, accepted the award from Linda Longton, Randall Reilly’s senior vice president for editorial and research, in ceremonies at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. He was chosen from a field of 10 finalists, and received the top prize of $10,000 and a variety of products and services from the contest’s sponsors.
“This is such a tremendous honor,” said Weatherspoon, who served in the Gulf War while with the Air National Guard.
He said he might use part of his winnings to buy a boat so he can take his oldest grandson fishing.
Weatherspoon is a graduate of Daly’s Truck Driving School in Buford, Ga.
The other finalists included:
• Chantelle Bomberry, who drives for Contrans Flatbed Group (KRTS Transportation Specialists, Inc., Caledonia, Ontario, Canada);
• Jeremy Degarmo, who is employed by TMC Transportation (JTL Truck Driver Training, Omaha Neb.);
• John Deering, who works for Werner Enterprises (Delaware Technical Community College, Dover, Del.);
• Paul Golden, a driver for H.O. Wolding, Inc. (National Tractor Trailer School, Liverpool, NY);
• Diego Guerrero, who drives for Stevens Transport (Lone Star College Transportation Institute, Houston, Texas);
• David Ham of Con-way Truckload (Truck Driver Institute, Forsyth, Ga.);
• Tito McRae, who works for Maverick Transportation (Sampson Community College, Clinton NC),
• Mackenzie Parks, a driver for Melton Truck Lines (Continental Truck Driver Training, Dallas, Texas);
• William Schmidt, a driver for Dartco (Heavy Metal Truck Training, Inver
Grove Heights, Minn.)
In addition to the $10,000, Weatherspoon receives:
• an interview with Eric Harley of the Red Eye Radio Network;
• a custom plaque from Award Company of America;
• a RoadPro Getting Started Living On-The-Go Package;
• $1,000 cash and 100,000 MyRewards points from Pilot Flying J;
• a GPS unit and Motor Carrier Road Atlas from Rand McNally;
• a dash camera from Cobra Electronics;
• an American Trucking Associations “Trucking Moves America Forward” gift pack
Each of the other finalists receives $1,000 in cash and a variety of other prizes.