CNHI News Service

JOPLIN, Mo. -- In a few months, Ed and Linda Stockton have gone from shocked to celebrity truck drivers.

The Stocktons, a husband and wife tractor-trailer driving team from Cedarville, Ark., were in Joplin on Wednesday to get the windows of their 2000 Kenworth tinted at Truck Toys, 2302 S. Main St. But that pales in comparison with other changes their big rig has gone through the past few months.

The shock came on June 29 when the Arkansas couple went to Petro Truck Stop on Highway 43 near Joplin to pick up their truck, which they had turned in March 13 for what they thought would be maintenance and minor repairs.

"I just couldn't believe it," Linda Stockton said. "I think I put my hand on my face and laughed because I was so excited."

For her husband, it was a little more emotional.

"I cried," he said. "I bawled like a baby."

The object of their reactions came courtesy of "Trick My Truck," a show airing Friday evenings on Country Music Television.

According to CMT's Web site, the Stocktons' grandchildren, Caleb and Elaine, wanted to spend more time with their grandparents and they loved to play on the truck. "Trick My Truck's" mission was to make the truck more child-friendly and help unite the couple with their family, even while they are on the road.

The exterior of their 18-wheeler had been transformed from a torpid teal green to a picturesque blue sky and white cloud appearance on the front and a polished wood look on the cabin.

And that is where the celebrity status comes into play. Since they took their made-over truck back on the road July 5, they have had to deal with gaping mouths, loud exclamations and photographers rivaling the paparazzi.

"They (CMT) told us that there would not be another truck in the United States like it," Ed Stockton said. "A lot of people recognize that it is such an unusual job that they almost associate it with CMT. Some people just ask 'where did you get the paint because nobody around here paints like that.'"

His wife related one of many incidents since the couple hit the road with their new conversation piece.

"Ed and I were talking and driving near Joplin when an SUV pulled right in front of us and some little blond-haired girl sticking out from the sun roof started waving and taking pictures," she said.

The truck, which the Stocktons own and lease to Hogan Transportation in St. Louis, went through a variety of interior changes as well.

There are new seats with massagers, a new sound system, new beds, polished hardwood floors and a fiberglass tree with a television inset. Jump ropes and pitching machines also were added to appeal to the grandkids.

"They removed the old standard cabinets and put in nice hardwood cabinets," said Ed Stockton, who has been on the road 40 years.

His wife, who has been his co-driver for 15 years, added, "We also got new tires and wheels."

First episode

The "Trick My Truck" crew filmed the Stocktons and their reactions when the couple picked up their big rig at Petro Truck Stop on June 29. The show aired Sept. 8 as the first episode of the new "Trick My Truck" season.

Rich Brown writes for The Joplin (Mo.) Globe.

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