Walcott 2017!

By Heather Hogeland

The weather could not have been more perfect for this year’s 38th annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree. The temperature was in the high 70s for the entire event, with no rain or humidity in sight, and the sky was picture-perfect, with fluffy clouds floating by from time-to-time. Like I said, perfect!

Walcott has become one of those “must-do” events every year for us for many reasons, mostly because of the fun we have there, as well as the people we inevitably run into – people we haven’t seen in years who just happen by, and we get the opportunity to catch-up. Add to that the “welcome home” policy of the Moon family and the staff of Iowa 80, and you begin to understand why we make sure to attend every year.

There is always so much to see and do at the Jamboree! Of course, there is the truck show competition, which they call the Super Truck Beauty Contest, where all the beautiful, polished and shiny trucks are parked during the entire event, but there’s also a great display of antique trucks, which are also polished to perfection. And these antiques aren’t the ones that Iowa 80 is famous for – the ones they own – those are still in the museum across the parking lot, which you can still go through for free. These antiques belong to private citizens who bring them to the Jamboree for the opportunity to show them off and share their passion with other like-minded folks. Some of us even remember driving these old rigs in our earlier years, and they really take us back to a time that was so different than it is today. It was such a pleasure to share stories with the people who owned and brought out these beautiful pieces of history to the cornfields of eastern Iowa, known as Walcott.

Iowa 80 always has family activities, so there are lots of children of all ages that come along with their parents. They have carnival games where the kiddos can win prizes, lots of exhibits with plenty of giveaways, free concerts in the afternoon and evenings, then big firework displays to cap off each night. In the meantime, you can get one of their famous 1.5-inch thick grilled Iowa pork chops, as a dinner or a sandwich meal, all three days of the event. Mmmmm!

My husband Roger and I have had the honor and the pleasure of being judges for the last four years at the Super Truck Beauty Contest, and I can tell you from experience, it is NOT an easy task. We know, firsthand, from many years of hard-fought experience, how much work and heart, not to mention money, goes into building and maintaining a show-worthy rig – especially when that truck is also your single source of income. We never take our job lightly, I can assure you, and we look closely at all the details and judge as fairly as is humanly possible. It is tough, but it is really fun, too. It is always great to see, up close and personal, all the new things these imaginative and creative folks come up with when making the latest and greatest stuff for their rigs.

The music this year was, as always, great! We heard Tony Justice, the driver and singer that is gaining popularity with his “Brothers of the Highway” album, all about drivers and life on the road. We also watched Mary Sarah, made famous on last year’s season of “The Voice” (she finished 5th). Also in the line-up were the Dani Lynn Howe Band and the North of 40 Dudes, a local group from the Quad Cities. Finishing off the concerts on Friday night was headliner Collin Raye. This artist, who has earned 24 top 10 records with 16 number one hits, put on a fantastic show outside on that perfect Iowa evening. People from all around came with their camping chairs and families to listen to a truly quality performance by a great singer.

There was a bit of sadness this year at the Jamboree, however, due to the fact that the co-founder and matriarch of the Moon family, Carolyn Moon, had passed away back in May. Carolyn and her husband Bill bought the truck stop in 1965 and built it into what it is today. Together, they also founded CAT Scales and Truckomat truck washes. She was the Chairman of the Board and the Chief Information Officer until December 2016, coming into the office regularly, until the last few months. Even after Bill passed in 1992, Carolyn remained very active in running and founding more aspects of the Iowa 80 group, such as the museum, and continued to grow every aspect of their diverse business.

The entire business has always been about the drivers – Carolyn always wanted them to feel at home in their truck stop. Mission accomplished, Carolyn. In honor of Carolyn, and the entire Moon family, our friend Mickey Gwillim and his son Tyler had a special “door” made and brought it out to Walcott. With their “open door” policy at Iowa 80 in mind, the Gwillims thought it would be fitting to paint and etch a Kenworth door and window with Carolyn’s favorite color, purple, and her favorite flowers, orchids. After the awards ceremony, members of “Team 10-4” presented this door to the Moon family on behalf of the Gwillims, who could not stay until the end of the show. What an amazing and thoughtful gesture. Mickey and Tyler are both First Class folks, for sure!

I was fortunate enough to have met Carolyn on several occasions and I can tell you this, she was never more satisfied then when her drivers were happy! She could be seen wandering around during Jamborees, just taking it all in, like any other observer. If you didn’t know who she was, you would never guess. The Jamboree is their time to give back, to say thank you to the drivers for their support and business. That tradition will live on, as there are plenty of Moons left to run the business. So, after 81 years on this earth, she has earned her rest and left a legacy. We will miss you Carolyn.

If you have never been to a Jamboree, I implore you, just go! There is plenty of free parking, all the events are free, they even have shuttle buses to and from the farthest parking areas so you can save your energy for the fun stuff. You can bring your pet, you can talk to old-timers, newbies, recruiters, experts on different subjects, other drivers, and a myriad of other types of people who all just come to relax and enjoy the hospitality that the World’s Largest Truckstop offers.

The Jamboree at Iowa 80 always takes place the Thursday, Friday and Saturday the week following the 4th of July. The dates for 2018 are July 12-14. Make your plans to be there now! And the winners this year were…

WORKING CABOVER: 1st Matt Schlueger, Wesley, IA – 1993 Kenworth K100E.

WORKING COMPANY TRUCK (BOBTAIL): 1st Timothy Wheeler, Britt, IA – 2015 Peterbilt 379; 2nd David Price, Green Bay, WI – 2018 Freightliner Cascadia.

WORKING COMPANY TRUCK (COMBO): 1st Zach Pletcher, Elkhart, IN – 2015 Peterbilt 389 & 2015 Mac; 2nd Michael VanNess, Georgetown, IL – 2015 Peterbilt 579 & 2016 Walker; 3rd David Williamson, Milwaukee, WI – 2016 Volvo VNL64T & 2016 Great Dane.

WORKING TRUCK (SPECIALTY): 1st Jake Robak, Rice, MN – 2006 Peterbilt 379 Car Carrier; 2nd Thomas & Kathy Placer, Reidsville, NC – 2008 Ford F650 Flatbed.

WORKING TRUCK BOBTAIL (2017-2014): 1st Jay Blackbourn, Fennimore, WI – 2016 Peterbilt 389; 2nd Justin Nodorft, Mineral Point, WI – 2016 Peterbilt 389; 3rd Travis Brubaker, Sigourney, IA – 2016 Peterbilt 389.

WORKING TRUCK BOBTAIL (2013-2007): 1st Robert Errthum, Olin, IA – 2013 Peterbilt 389; 2nd Paul Saline, Rio, IL – 2009 Kenworth W900L; 3rd Rodger Nelson, Warman, SK, Canada – 2013 Peterbilt 386.

WORKING TRUCK BOBTAIL (2006-2000): 1st Aaron Spiniolas, Harvard, IL – 2001 Peterbilt 379; 2nd Gerald Lehman, Wolcottville, IN – 2000 Kenworth T600; 3rd Eric Downs, Delhi, IA – 2000 Freightliner Classic.

WORKING TRUCK BOBTAIL (1999-1993): 1st Ron Brubaker, Sigourney, IA – 1993 Peterbilt 379; 2nd Kenny Graber, Partridge, KS – 1998 Kenworth W900L; 3rd Bill Schlueter, Rantoul, IL – 1996 Kenworth W900.

WORKING TRUCK BOBTAIL (1992 & OLDER): 1st JR Schleuger, Britt, IA – 1980 Kenworth W900A; 2rd Lonnie Frank, Annawan, IL – 1976 Kenworth W900A; 3rd Tim Miller, Oelwein, IA – 1982 Peterbilt 389.

WORKING TRUCK COMBO (2017-2012): 1st Brian Dreher, Campbellsport, WI – 2016 Peterbilt 389 & 2016 Great Dane; 2nd Brian Pete, Mineral Point, WI – 2015 Peterbilt 389 & 2016 Mac; 3rd Shane Jungemann, Sioux Falls, SD – 2015 Peterbilt 389 & 2012 Wilson.

WORKING TRUCK COMBO (2011-2003): 1st Michael & Jackie Wallace, Ashville, AL – 2007 Freightliner Coronado & 2014 Great Dane; 2nd Robert Hallahan, LaCrosse, WI – 2006 Kenworth W900 & 2015 Great Dane; 3rd Brent Cross, Shipshewana, IN – 2004 Kenworth T800 & 2011 Utility.

WORKING TRUCK COMBO (2002 & OLDER): 1st Daniel & Phyllis Snow, Harrison, AR – 1996 Freightliner Classic XL & 2006 Utility; 2nd Jayme & Whitney Snow, Berryville, AR – 1999 Freightliner Classic XL & 2015 Great Dane; 3rd Kenneth Fisher, Muscoda, WI – 1997 Peterbilt 379 & 2015 Reitnouer.

SHOW TRUCK: 1st Mike Manuel, Front Royal, VA – 2015 Peterbilt 389 & 2017 Mac; 2nd Harvey Zuidema, Morrison, IL – 1957 Divco Milk Truck; 3rd Lynn Ragels, Canton, MI – 1995 Peterbilt 379.

CUSTOM PAINT (BOBTAIL): 1st Kenny Graber, Partridge, KS – 1998 Kenworth W900L; 2nd Terry Aslinger, Marquand, MO – 1996 Peterbilt 379; 3rd Bill Schlueter, Rantoul, IL – 1996 Kenworth W900.

CUSTOM PAINT (COMBO): 1st Kenneth Fisher, Muscoda, WI – 1997 Peterbilt 379 & 2015 Reitnouer; 2nd Robert Hallahan, LaCrosse, WI – 2006 Kenworth W900 & 2015 Great Dane; 3rd Justin Congdon, Davenport, IA – 2005 Peterbilt 379 & 2016 Muv-All.

CUSTOM GRAPHICS (BOBTAIL): 1st David Price, Green Bay, WI – 2018 Freightliner Cascadia; 2nd Jake Robak, Rice, MN – 2006 Peterbilt 379 Car Carrier; 3rd Robert Errthum, Olin, IA – 2013 Peterbilt 389.

CUSTOM GRAPHICS (COMBO): 1st Mike Manuel, Front Royal, VA – 2015 Peterbilt 389 & 2017 Mac; 2nd Brian Dreher, Campbellsport, WI – 2016 Peterbilt 389 & 2016 Great Dane; 3rd Paul Rissler, California, MO – 1996 Peterbilt 379 & 2008 Great Dane.

POLISH & DETAIL (BOBTAIL): 1st Aaron Spiniolas, Harvard, IL – 2001 Peterbilt 379; 2nd Jake Robak, Rice, MN – 2006 Peterbilt 379 Car Carrier; 3rd Ron Brubaker, Sigourney, IA – 1993 Peterbilt 379.

POLISH & DETAIL (COMBO): 1st Brian Dreher, Campbellsport, WI – 2016 Peterbilt 389 & 2016 Great Dane; 2nd Shawn Swanson, Prophetstown, IL – 2002 Kenworth W900B & 2010 Reitnouer; 3rd Kenneth Fisher, Muscoda, WI – 1997 Peterbilt 379 & 2015 Reitnouer.

INTERIOR OEM SLEEPER (BOBTAIL): 1st Paul Saline, Rio, IL – 2009 Kenworth W900L; 2nd Barry Cook, Correctionville, IA – 1987 Peterbilt 359; 3rd Gerald Lehman, Wolcottville, IN – 2000 Kenworth T600.

INTERIOR OEM SLEEPER (COMBO): 1st John Jaikes & Kim Grimm, Nanticoke, PA – 1999 Kenworth W900L & 2006 Utility; 2nd Shawn Swanson, Prophetstown, IL – 2002 Kenworth W900B & 2010 Reitnouer; 3rd Brian Dreher, Campbellsport, WI – 2016 Peterbilt 389 & 2016 Great Dane.

INTERIOR OEM CONVERSION SLEEPER: 1st Justin Congdon, Davenport, IA – 2005 Peterbilt 379 & 2016 Muv-All; 2nd Terry Aslinger, Marquand, MO – 1996 Peterbilt 379; 3rd JR Schleuger, Britt, IA – 1980 Kenworth W900A.

INTERIOR CUSTOM SLEEPER: 1st Jayme & Whitney Snow, Berryville, AR – 1999 Freightliner Classic XL & 2015 Great Dane; 2nd Michael & Jackie Wallace, Ashville, AL – 2007 Freightliner Coronado & 2014 Great Dane; 3rd Daniel & Phyllis Snow, Harrison, AR – 1996 Freightliner Classic XL & 2006 Utility.

LIGHTS (BOBTAIL – ROAD LEGAL): 1st Bill Schlueter, Rantoul, IL – 1996 Kenworth W900; 2nd Jay Blackbourn, Fennimore, WI – 2016 Peterbilt 389; 3rd Bob Tubbs, Clinton, IA – 1996 Kenworth W900L.

LIGHTS (BOBTAIL – SHOW ONLY): 1st JR Schleuger, Britt, IA – 1980 Kenworth W900A; 2nd Mike Robinson, Lincoln, AL – 1979 Peterbilt 379; 3rd Danny Autullo, Monee, IL – 1993 Peterbilt 379.

LIGHTS (COMBO – ROAD LEGAL): 1st John Jaikes & Kim Grimm, Nanticoke, PA – 1999 Kenworth W900L & 2006 Utility; 2nd Mike Manuel, Front Royal, VA – 2015 Peterbilt 389 & 2017 Mac; 3rd Brian Dreher, Campbellsport, WI – 2016 Peterbilt 389 & 2016 Great Dane.

LIGHTS (COMBO – SHOW ONLY): 1st Michael & Jackie Wallace, Ashville, AL – 2007 Freightliner Coronado & 2014 Great Dane; 2nd Daniel & Phyllis Snow, Harrison, AR – 1996 Freightliner Classic XL & 2006 Utility; 3rd Jayme & Whitney Snow, Berryville, AR – 1999 Freightliner Classic XL & 2015 Great Dane.

LIGHTS (SPECIALTY): 1st Jake Robak, Rice, MN – 2006 Peterbilt 379 Car Carrier; 2nd Thomas & Kathy Placer, Reidsville, NC – 2008 Ford F650 Flatbed.

BEST OVERALL THEME: Mike Manuel, Front Royal, VA – 2015 Peterbilt 389 & 2017 Mac (Autism Awareness).

TRUCKER’S CHOICE: Brian Dreher, Campbellsport, WI – 2016 Peterbilt 389 & 2016 Great Dane.

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