Grand Champions announced for Arkansas Trucking Championship 

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Grand Champions announced for Arkansas Trucking Championship 
The Arkansas Trucking Association will send nine professional truck drivers and two technicians to the National Championships after winning honors at the 2024 Arkansas Trucking Championship. (Photos courtesy of the Arkansas Trucking Association)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Trucking Association has awarded nine professional truck drivers and two technicians with top prizes at the 2024 Arkansas Trucking Championship. 

“The drivers and technicians who compete in these events represent the best elements of our industry—professionalism, incredible skill and commitment to safety every day they are on the roads or in the shops to ensure that trucks continue serving Arkansas communities,” said Shannon Newton, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association.

“This competition rewards the best performance during this one weekend, and the men and women who move our freight and demonstrate their skills in the spotlight deserve our appreciation,” she continued. “We celebrate the thousands of professionals who bring their best to the job every day of the year.” 

The drivers and technicians make up the 11-person Team Arkansas and will represent the state at the national competitions. 

The written and hands-on competitions brought together 142 of the best drivers and 37 of the top technicians in the state for a demonstration of safety knowledge and skill. Hosted by the Arkansas Trucking Association, the championship was held June 28-29 at the Rogers Convention Center in Rogers, Arkansas. 

Over the two-day event, drivers tested their skills in a pre-trip inspection competition, written exam and hands-on obstacle course. The driving skills portion was the biggest event, attracting hundreds of cheering friends, family, colleagues and spectators. To qualify for the truck driving championship, contestants must be accident free for the past year. 

The following professional truck drivers will represent Arkansas in their respective classes at the National Truck Driving Competition, to be held Aug. 21-24 in Columbus, Ohio. 

  • 2024 Arkansas Truck Driving Championship Grand Champion and 5 Axle Class Winner: Bret McBain (Bella Vista) of Walmart Transportation.
  • 3 Axle: Loren Hatfield (Maumelle) of ABF Freight. 
  • 4 Axle: Chaunce Umfleet (Lonoke) of FedEx. 
  • Flatbed: Larry Rhein (Harrison) of FedEx. 
  • Sleeper: Tom Merrill (Clinton) of Walmart Transportation. 
  • Step Van: Bradley McKay (Cave Springs) of FedEx. 
  • Straight Truck: Albert Mullen (Kimberling City, Missouri) of Walmart Transportation. 
  • Tank: Randy Lovell (Benton) of Walmart Transportation. 
  • Twins: Jeff Cochran (Texarkana) of FedEx. 

Technicians competed in two tracks: truck and trailer. Jordan Burris of Tyson Foods was named the Trailer Technician Grand Champion. Burris took home first place trophies in two of nine stations.



On the truck technician track, Benjamin Kirtley of J.B. Hunt Transport was crowned the Truck Technician Grand Champion. Kirtley was the top finisher in three of 14 stations and was named Rookie of the Year across both the Truck and Trailer tracks. In September, Kirtley and Burris will head to the National Technician Skills Competition, SuperTech 2024, in Raleigh, N.C. 



“Our cohort of competitors included men and women who have competed dozens of times and those who took on the challenge for the first time,” Newton said. “The spirit of this event is that as drivers and technicians demonstrate their knowledge and skills, they take pride in their careers and feel valued. We hope they hear our applause, walk the red carpet and recognize how much our industry respects this work because our state, nation and economy depend on it. I look forward to cheering on Bret, Benjamin, Jordan and the rest of Team Arkansas at their national competitions.” 

The following companies have made substantial financial contributions in support of our industry’s technicians and drivers: ABF Freight, DB Schenker, FedEx, Frito Lay Transportation, Great West Casualty Co., J.B. Hunt Transport, MHC, Rush Truck Centers, Stallion Transportation Group, Tyson Foods, Utility Tri-State, W&B Service Co., Walmart Transportation and Destination Rogers.

Dana Guthrie

Dana Guthrie is an award-winning journalist who has been featured in multiple newspapers, books and magazines across the globe. She is currently based in the Atlanta, Georgia, area.

Avatar for Dana Guthrie
Dana Guthrie is an award-winning journalist who has been featured in multiple newspapers, books and magazines across the globe. She is currently based in the Atlanta, Georgia, area.
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