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Miller sparks sister's drive for Tuff Truck contest

Friday, July 16, 2010

Samantha Miller, left, and her sister Brittany are getting their vehicles ready for the Tuff Truck contest July 29 at the Plymouth County Fair. This will be Samantha's first year driving in the contest and Brittany's second. Although competing, the sisters plan to show solidarity on the track.
In 2009 Brittany Miller was the first girl ever to drive in the Tuff Truck competition at the Plymouth County Fair.

But she, for sure, won't be the only one this year.

Her sister Samantha Miller, 17, will be rolling alongside Brittany's 1991 pickup in her own 1989 Chevy Blazer.

Samantha Miller, of Le Mars, is competing in the Tuff Truck contest at the Plymouth County Fair for the first time July 29. Here she climbs through the front of her sister Brittany's truck. Brittany is driving for a second year in the contest.
"Brittany was doing it last year so it got me interested in doing it this year," Samantha said. "Last year I worked in the pits doing different things."

As part of the pit crew, Samantha was afforded an up close look at the course and other trucks.

Even though Brittany and Samantha, of Le Mars, will technically be facing off in this year's Tuff Truck, they also plan to show solidarity.

"We're doing a color scheme. We came up with it together," Brittany said. "We may be competing against each other, but we're still sisters."

Brittany's boyfriend Chris Hansen, who puts a lot of work into helping get the trucks ready, said each vehicle will have something on it to signify Brittany and Samantha as sisters.

It takes time to get a truck ready for the contest; how much depends on its condition.

For example, interiors have to be stripped, bodies repainted and windows removed. Harnesses have to be installed. Sponsors names are painted on trucks along with competitors' numbers.

"Last year we did a lot of work on the S-10 pickup to get it running," Chris said. "It was given to us, but the transmission didn't work."

However, Samantha's blazer, which had been run before in the Tuff Truck contest, didn't take as much work.

"The one she's running this year we only had to fix a few things on it," Brittany said. "It was pretty much ready to go."

When it comes to finding sponsors to donate money to their causes, she said it's just a matter of going around the area and asking.

"Most of the time they give us a little money for parts and stuff and we put their names on the truck," Brittany said. "It's cheap advertisement for them. For us, it's parts."

All the hard work it takes to get ready for the Tuff Truck contest is worth it because of the thrill of the ride and sense of accomplishment, Brittany said.

"It's a rush," she added.

And Samantha, who likes to drive her boyfriend's 4-wheeler, is ready to take on the challenge.

"This is like a giant 4-wheeler," she said. "I think it will be very exciting for me because I like getting out and doing things."

When it comes to the driving part of the Tuff Truck contest, there really isn't any preparation -- except for the long jump.

Last year Brittany placed second, a huge feat because it takes a lot to keep a truck intact throughout the course and be able to compete in the long jump, the final event, Chris said.

So to prepare for that, Brittany and Samantha practice jumping their friends' driveway in the country.

Chris explained the process: they drive around a large tree pile, on a visible dirt track they created, and three-fourths of the way around "hammer down" and jump the driveway.

"It's to see how the vehicles hold up and how they land," he said. "The first time Sam jumped she was a little nervous, after that she was all smiles."

Overall, Samantha said she's not too anxious about the Tuff Truck contest, at least not yet.

"I think when I get into the line of trucks I'll get nervous," she said. "After I get the first run down, I think I'll be all right."

Brittany and Samantha will drive onto the Tuff Truck track in the grandstand arena at the Plymouth County Fair for the 6:30 p.m. contest Thursday, July 29, as competitors.

But they will drive off as sisters.

"It won't bother me if she beats me," Brittany said.

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The worlds greatest redneck sport! I did it for 7 years, what a riot!

-- Posted by cranemaster on Fri, Jul 16, 2010, at 3:36 PM

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