The History Channel’s “Truck Night in America” thundered onto television screens last week for the start of its second season. But, it is the upcoming Valentine’s Day episode that will have Grundy County tuned in to the show cheering on one of their own. On February 14, Justin Meeks, of Gruetli-Laager, will debut his truck on the program, competing against five other truck owners for a $10,000 prize.
“Truck Night in America” is described as a gritty, reality television competition in which truck enthusiasts have the opportunity to show their determination. Drivers are tested on their driving ability, grit, and innovation as they face obstacles featuring different truck attributes including speed, handling, and strength. Each episode features five drivers and their customized off-road vehicles, with drivers altering their vehicles for each round of competition. After several eliminations, the last two drivers standing go head to head on a three-mile course known as “The Green Hell.”
“I watched season one, and I decided to put my name in for the next season,” says Justin, who grew up in Pelham and is a graduate of Grundy County High School.
It wasn’t long after entering his name that show producers in California contacted Justin with a request to be on the program.
“I think they liked my backstory,” Justin, who hopes to highlight Grundy County, explains.
Part of Justin’s backstory is his desire to highlight the abilities of persons labeled as disabled. His brother, Colton Meeks, is autistic and Justin wants everyone to know that, while a person diagnosed with a disability such as autism may be different, they should never be discouraged from reaching their dreams.
“I want to represent people with special disabilities,” says Justin. “My brother has autism, but he can do the same things I do. He loves to ride four wheelers and we spent a lot of time growing up riding.”
This love of off-road riding stayed with Justin. He says he has built several trucks over the years, but this contest was his first off-road competition experience.
“I was contacted by the show’s producers in May, and the competition took place in August, in southern Georgia,” Justin explains. “We filmed for over a week.”
Although filming was completed over seven months ago, Justin has not been able to reveal how he fared in the competition. Viewers can tune in to The History Channel on February 14, at 9 p.m., to cheer Justin on and find out if he drives away with the $10,000 prize and title of “Truck Night Champion.”
Justin is the son of Donnie and Jennifer Meeks of Pelham. He and his wife Katie have two children, Jade, age 3, and ten-month-old Jace. Jace was born in May, at the same time Justin completed building his truck. Justin is a 2005 graduate of GCHS, and a 2010 graduate of Tennessee Technological University College of Engineering. When not building and enjoying off-road trucks, Justin works at Infiniti Powertrain Facility located in Decherd, Tennesse, as a reliability engineer.