Owner-Operator Finds Comfort in Award-Winning Show Truck

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2005 Western Star Combines Good Looks and All the Comforts of Home

After 22 years driving big rigs, Bruce Barnes knows what he likes in a truck – inside and out.

“I’m a big guy, so a comfortable cab is a priority for me – as is a smooth ride and good looks,” said Barnes. “That’s why I’m driving my second Western Star.”

Barnes hauls refrigerated and frozen goods around the continental United States – mainly in New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado – for Troy, Mo.-based Witte Bros. Exchange, Inc. Having been with the company for 18 years – first as a company driver and now as an owner-operator – Barnes currently drives a 2005 Western Star 4900 FA with an 82-inch StratosphereTM sleeper. Tricked out with wood floors, flat-screen television, computer, GPS navigation system, satellite radio, and more, Barnes’ cab has everything he needs to relax on the road during his work week.

“After a long day, my sleeper is a great place to unwind,” he said. “My wife Marilyn has helped me add décor, like rugs and bedding, so it feels very homey.”

When she isn’t helping Bruce spruce up his Stratosphere sleeper, Marilyn also works for Witte Bros. Exchange, Inc., as the Director of Safety and Recruiting. Overseeing 160 drivers, Marilyn ensures that both company drivers and owner-operators are traveling safely as they provide LTL and truckload transportation to customers around the country.

Marilyn has also helped Bruce spiff up their Western Star 4900 FA for competition. With added chrome accents and a dazzling Convoy Gold paint job with Las Vegas Gold flames, it’s a real showstopper. Winning first place in the Bobtail First Show category at the 2005 Paul K. Young Memorial Truck Beauty Championships at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) made it official.

“I’ve always loved the authentic appearance of Western Stars,” said Barnes. “We’re looking forward to showing it again at next year’s competition.”

Despite the many comforts of his tricked-out truck, Barnes’ favorite trip is the road that leads back to his home in Troy.

“Of course, there’s no place like home,” he said.

Western Star Trucks, headquartered in Redford, Mich., produces heavy-duty custom trucks for long-haul and vocational applications. Western Star is a member of the Freightliner group of companies. Freightliner is a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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