Owner-operators Tiffini Springer and Ed Prince are two of the founders of Redneckanize, a non-profit that provides a gathering place for truckers at the Mid-America Trucking Show. For the last eight years, Redneckanize has set up shop in the Papa John’s parking lot at MATS, providing truckers with good company, hot meals, and entertainment, no matter what the weather. In addition to its events at MATS, Redneckanize shares do it yourself knowledge within the trucker community via the group’s social media channels.
Trucker Tools recently spoke with Tiffini and Ed about how Redneckanize was born, its growth over the years and how Trucker Tools’ free driver app can simplify life on the road for truckers — especially for owner-operators.
What is Redneckanize, for those folks who maybe aren’t familiar?
Tiffini: “Greg (my husband) and I met Ed at MATS in 2009 and became friends. It started out as a joke that Ed made. Since then, we’ve grown from two little 10’ by 10’ popups to a 20’ by 30’ tent. We’ve become friends with so many people that it’s become a family.”
Ed: “It’s one of those networks where there’s so many people sharing ideas. It’s about coming up with solutions to all of the problems out there that truckers have to deal with.”
Trucker Tools was set to sponsor Redneckanize’s events this year at MATS, but MATS has been canceled due to COVID-19. Can you tell us about Redneckanize’s presence at MATS in previous years?
Ed: “For the past eight years now, we’ve put up a tent and served food every night of the truck show.”
Tiffini: “We get a pretty large turnout. We make chili on Thursday nights in two big roaster pans and usually by the end of Thursday night, it’s almost all gone. Friday and Saturday are usually our biggest nights, though, because a lot of drivers can’t get off the road until then. Some of them can’t get there until Friday because of loading issues. Last year on Saturday, we had about 100 people in the tent.”
Ed: “Last year, the word got out on Facebook and people came back from their hotel rooms to come hang out. It wasn’t really about the food, it was to hang out and because we had a friend of ours, Jake Brake, scheduled to sing that night. We also had some truckers entertaining as well.
The very first year, it was just a few of us. We got a grill and were cooking in the parking lot together. People kept coming by and we offered them food and they wanted to chat. We were just a group of drivers hanging out. There were lots of non-profits and groups in the parking lot that were asking people to pay for food. People started coming to us because we weren’t requiring people to pay to eat.”
Tiffini: “There’s really nothing going on in the parking lot until Thursday. The first year that we really starting promoting Redneckanize, we went down to Little Caesars and got 20 to 30 pizzas and just started offering pizza to people who were sitting in their trucks in the parking lot. I handed out little cards telling them about our tent and offering them a free meal. We’ve become so popular at the truck show because we don’t charge people if they want to eat but can’t afford to donate money. You’re not going to starve on our watch. That’s what makes people want to come to us. We wouldn’t be able to do half the things we want to do without our sponsors like Trucker Tools. If it wasn’t for you guys, we couldn’t do what we do.”
Ed: “This would have been our ninth year of doing this at MATS, but only our third year of having sponsors.”
Tiffini: “It was just all of us pitching in our own money all year long to purchase what we needed. All of the generators and tables are our own. We just pull everything together and work together as a team to get things done.”
What made you want to partner with Trucker Tools for your events at MATS?
Ed: “You said yes. We’d been asking so many people and they just turned a blind eye to us like we weren’t a big deal. They didn’t see the benefit of putting any kind of time and effort into what we’re doing. Trucker Tools sees the value in the community, the value of helping out truckers and being there for truckers.”
Tiffini: “Trucker Tools leans more toward owner-operators. Your driver app just blows my mind. There are other apps out there, but the Trucker Tools driver app is so far above. It’s more driver-interactive. We’ve been telling everyone we know about it. You’re also eager to work with a bunch of truck drivers that you don’t know. You and our other sponsors, DPF Regeneration and LTR Transportation, are taking a leap of faith and giving Redneckanize a chance. That’s what makes us grateful for what you do for us and what you do for all the other drivers out there.”
What are your favorite features for owner-operators in the Trucker Tools driver app and why?
Tiffini: “The Wal-Mart feature, which includes feedback from other drivers about parking. Another good thing, especially for owner-operators, is being able to book the load in the app with Book-It-Now without needing to call somebody. We don’t do a lot of booking on our own, but that is nice to help drivers. It’s nice that you can go on the app and do it yourself so that you don’t have to physically talk to somebody. You don’t get that message that says to ‘call for pricing.’”
For more information about Book-It-Now, the in-app load booking feature mentioned by Tiffini, read How Book-It-Now Can Reduce Your Workload, Increase Drive Time. To download the Trucker Tools free driver app, visit https://www.truckertools.com/carriers/.