An OOIDA life member whose trucking career has spanned over five decades can add another feather to her cap.
On March 2, the Mid-America Trucking Show announced that Mary “Candy” Bass will be inducted into the MATS Wall of Fame as part of the 2023 class.
Known by many as “Granny Glitter” or “Grandma Candy,” the 78-year-old Bass is still actively driving longhaul across the country. A company driver for Burnsville, Minn.-based Transport Designs Inc., Bass has accumulated 6 million crash-free miles over her 50-year career.
Bass has amassed plenty of awards during her time behind the wheel. In 2016, she was given the TA Petro Citizen Driver award. As part of the award, a TA truck stop in Nashville, Tenn. – lovingly referred to as “The Candy Store” – is dedicated in her honor.
In the male-dominated world of trucking, Bass has worked to increase diversity in the industry. She has appeared on a number of magazine covers, as well as in promotional marketing materials for Transport Designs, as a way to encourage more women to join the trucking industry. Earlier this year, Bass was named a Top Woman to Watch in Transportation by Women in Trucking.
Bass is involved with a number of charities, including St. Christopher Foundation, Special Olympics, Trucker Buddy, and a number of charities for troops. Additionally, Bass’ charitable drive led her to found “Hats for Heroes,” a charity that provides baseball caps to veterans with head injuries or burns.
It’s been an eventful week for Bass. On Feb. 28, she was named as one of three finalists for Women in Trucking’s 2023 Driver of the Year. The winner of that honor will be announced on March 30 at MATS in Louisville, Ky.
Bass was nominated for the Wall of Fame by fellow driver Susie De Ridder.
“Candy is everything the Wall of Fame is about. She’s a long-time attendee at MATS. She contributes every way she can,” De Ridder told Land Line. “I can’t say enough about Candy Bass. She’s the meaning of the word ‘inspirational’… She means the world to me.”
A 44-year veteran of the trucking industry, De Ridder herself has an impressive array of accolades from her driving career. In 2020, she was named Driver of the Year by the Women In Trucking Association. This past October, De Ridder was given the TA & Petro Citizen Driver Award, and honor Bass nominated her for.
In spite of her own impressive resume, De Ridder says Bass still inspires her – and countless other drivers – on a daily basis.
“She’s the face of inducting more women into the industry. Everything she does is just so inspirational… I can’t express enough how great of a person (she) is,” De Ridder said.
Bass joins the late Troy Huddleston as honorees in the 2023 Wall of Fame class. A spokesperson for MATS told Land Line that this year’s class will consist of three new honorees, with the final name to be announced in the coming weeks.
Started in 2022, the Wall of Fame aims to “honor those in the MATS community that have made significant contributions to improve the American trucking Industry.” Twenty-six inductees were named to the inaugural class.
According to the MATS website, nominees for the Wall of Fame must:
- Conduct themselves with a high degree of integrity both within and outside of the heavy-duty trucking industry.
- Demonstrate professionalism and dedication to the trucking industry and contribute toward enhancing its image, technology and/or growth.
- Nominee’s contributions must reach beyond the local level.
This year’s class of inductees will be recognized during the MATS 2023 opening ceremony on March 30. LL