The origins of Ugly Truck Day are largely unknown. Here’s what we can say for sure:

1. Ugly Truck Day is celebrated on July 20th

2. Ugly Truck Day is also known as “Ugly Truck Contest Day”

3. According to Google, the earliest mention of an ugly truck contest on the web was on October 15th, 1996. The website lists July 20th as “Ugly Truck Contest Day” and offers the following description:

Each year several states hold “ugly truck” competitions. While varying in their rules, each is a showcase for the contestants’ well-used pick-ups, vans, and sport utility vehicles. Entries can range from ancient, hobbling wrecks to ornately adorned art trucks.

The trouble is, the domain wasn’t registered until 2002…so we’re gonna say that Google’s best guess is incorrect.

4. The Duran Duran wiki indicates that keyboardist Nick Rhodes judged an ugly truck contest in 1989. However, the contest is said to have taken place on January 13th, 1989.

Duran Duran judged Ugly Truck Contest

Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes is said to have judged an Ugly Truck Contest in 1989, but that contest was held in January. Image by Samira Khan.

5. A review of the website from June 19, 2000 mentions that users can send a friend an “ugly truck day” e-card.

6. An incredibly ugly page about Bizarre July Holidays¬†that Google says is from Feb 1st, 2001 (but which seems like it could be a few years older) lists July 20th as “ugly truck contest day.”

Finally, news stories about the holiday on, Yahoo, and all concur that the true origins of Ugly Truck Day are a mystery.

If you can add anything to our official About Ugly Truck Day (or Ugly Truck Contest Day) page, please contact us.

About This Website

Auto enthusiast and lifetime truck fan Jason Lancaster created just for fun. Jason is an habitual website developer, having created half a dozen automotive sites over the years (the most well-known of which are and

If you’d like to speak with Jason about National Truck Day, feel free to email info[at] or via our contact form.