The Calm Before The Storm

As Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on the coast of Texas, the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) provided some calm, and fun, before the storm.  This has always been a good show, but with a revised layout in a new building, and after a few glitches with the Pride & Polish show series last year, we weren’t sure what to expect.  Held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas on August 24-26, this year’s event featured nearly 500 exhibitors, spread out over 500,000 square feet, with a full calendar of events designed to improve the trucking industry.  There was a lot going on at GATS, and we were happy about that.

We arrived on Wednesday, and then set up our booth early Thursday morning.  With a 12:00 opening, we had plenty of time to set up and then check things out.  Walking the floor, we liked the new layout, which was just one big rectangular floor plan in one building.  In previous years, the show filled several smaller rooms, and was oddly-shaped – there were even upstairs and downstairs sections.  But all that was gone.  Most of the floor was filled with exhibits, but there were a few empty spaces here and there.  At the far end of the building, 55 trucks were ready to compete, down just a few trucks from last year’s 60.

This year, we brought our new Digital Media Content Manager John Testa with us to the show, and he walked the floor all three days doing live Facebook interviews and reports from the show.  It was a lot of fun for everyone involved.  After a fairly-busy day on Thursday, we headed out to share a nice meal with our friends and business partners from Minimizer, who are also the main sponsors and producers of the Bandit Big Rig Racing Series, which really took off this year.  After a productive dinner meeting, look for 10-4 to be more involved in this series next year.

Back at the show, the crowds just kept coming.  We wouldn’t call it busy, but it certainly wasn’t slow – we would describe the pace as consistent.  There was a lot going on, including a Wellness Pavilion that featured numerous health screenings, like digital mammograms, DOT physicals and eye tests.  A blood drive from OnRamp to Health gathered 43 pints of blood and, in the spirit of improved health, 46 runners took part in the Progressive Commercial Roadhouse Run 5K and one-mile walk, with proceeds going to the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund.

On Friday night, after the show closed, we headed out to a special birthday party celebration for our friend and past cover trucker Ray Rodriquez, who came all the way from California, like we did, to enjoy the show without any of his award-winning trucks.  About 40 of us gathered in a private banquet room at a downtown steakhouse for a great evening of food and fun.

Saturday morning came fast, and before we knew it, it was time for the Pride & Polish folks to hand out the trophies.  Some of the big winners included names we knew, like Mike Manuel, with his Autism Awareness truck, Jake Lindamood, with a couple of his cool heavy-haul rides, and Joel Dawes and Bubba Branch, with their slick, bright red aerodynamic Kenworth T660 and matching Globe RGN trailer.  A few names we didn’t know included a young couple named Chad & Janie Claypool, drivers for Fleenor Bros., whose two-tone green “Poison Ivy” KW took Best of Show in the Working Bobtail class, and Caleb Hammett of Hammett Excavation, whose silver and red Peterbilt 389 earned three 1st place awards.  Rounding out the list of big winners was Jon Donadio and his mint green KW, which took home the Best of Show trophy in the Working Combo class.

Other rigs that were looking top-notch included Jay Hawthorne’s black and silver Peterbilt, Brian Rudisell’s green and cream KW, Rob Basse’s baby blue and white KW, Terry Aslinger’s red, blue and cream 2-axle Peterbilt, Shane Bullion’s dark rose grey Pete 379, and Jarco’s blue and green Peterbilt and matching end dump.  Tri Corp Transportation brought down two clean black KW combos all the way from Canada, and the “Color of Money” Peterbilt and matching reefer were looking rich with class.

Walking around the show one last time on Saturday before everything came to an end, we ran into Greg Evigan and his famous red and white KW combo from the old “BJ and the Bear” TV show.  Greg was signing autographs and taking pictures with fans throughout the event.  Once the show closed, and after packing up our booth, it was off to a very authentic Mexican restaurant with our friends from Texas Chrome to watch the Mayweather vs. McGregor boxing match.  Wow – what a fight!  Big thanks go out to Roland Mendez and his crew for showing us a fantastic time (even though we couldn’t understand what anybody was saying).

As Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on Texas for days, we only saw a few showers in Dallas on Sunday before heading home.  Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone there, as they continue to clean-up the mess left behind by the flooding.  Next year’s show is set for August 23-25, 2018, so make your plans now.  Hopefully, the only excitement next year will be from the truck show.  And this year’s winners were:

ANTIQUE (BOBTAIL): 1st Wade Wardlaw/Wade Wardlaw Welding, Woodville, TX – 1975 White & Copper Pete 359; 2nd Ethan Madden, Lytle, TX – 1984 Black & Purple Pete 359; 3rd Danny Lee, Tylertown, MS – 1963 Candy Apple Red Mack B75.

ANTIQUE (CABOVER): 1st Pablo Cuellar/David Schnautz, Pasadena, TX – 1973 Blue Kenworth K125; 2nd Ben Cadle, Augusta, GA – 1982 Blue, Black & Silver Freightliner; 3rd Darrell Caldwell Jr., Mansfield, TX – 1989 Blue Freightliner.

ANTIQUE (COMBO): 1st David Schnautz, Pasadena, TX – 1981 Blue Kenworth W900A & 1982 Wilson Livestock Trailer; 2nd Geo Cuellar/David Schnautz, Pasadena, TX – 1985 Blue Kenworth K100E.

BOBTAIL (NEW): 1st Caleb Hammett/Hammett Excavation, Dodd City, TX – 2017 Silver & Red Peterbilt 389; 2nd Elias Torres/Lindamood Heavy Hauling, Irving, TX – 2017 Blue & Black Peterbilt 389.

BOBTAIL (FIRST SHOW): 1st Corey Barnes/Brazos Dozer Service, Bryan, TX – 2004 Blue Peterbilt 379; 2nd Bret Chastain, Flora, IN – 2005 White & Orange Mack CXN613; 3rd Leroy Mills, Mansfield, TX – 1969 Gray & Red Peterbilt 359.

BOBTAIL (2005 & OLDER): 1st Brian Rudisell/Kuhnle Trucking, Newbury, OH – 2005 Green & White Kenworth W900; 2nd Shane Boullion, Carencro, LA – 2001 Dark Rose Grey Pete 379; 3rd Delbert Jones, Sulphur Springs, TX – 1999 Red KW W900.

BOBTAIL (2010 & NEWER): 1st Chad & Janie Claypool/Kyle Cousins, Carthage MO – 2017 Green Kenworth W900; 2nd Bob & Linda Caffee, Silex, MO – 2015 White Freightliner Cascadia; 3rd Mike “Gunney” Faram/MC VanKampen, Ft Worth, TX – 2015 Black Peterbilt 389.

COMBO (NEW): 1st Gabe Rosenthal/Stevens Tanker, Dallas, TX – 2018 White Peterbilt 567 & 2018 MAC; 2nd Gabe Rosenthal/Stevens Transport, Dallas, TX – 2018 Black Kenworth T680 & 2017 Utility.

COMBO (COMPANY TRUCK): 1st Dennis Durrant/Jade Transport, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – 2017 Green KW W900; 2nd Bradley Wacks/Army & Air Force Exchange, Waco, TX – 2016 White International & 2017 Hyundai; 3rd Dave Parker/Tri Corp Trans, Aylmer, Ontario, Canada – 2017 Black KW W900L & 2017 Great Dane Van.

COMBO (OPEN): 1st Robbie Basse, Hinton, OK – 2016 Baby Blue & White KW W900 Icon & 2016 Fontaine; 2nd Joe Regalado, Von Ormy, TX – 2000 Blue Pete 379 & 2018 Armourlite; 3rd Jon Donadio, Guilford, CT – 1996 Mint Green KW W900 & 2018 East.

INTERIOR (CAB ONLY): 1st Caleb Hammett/Hammett Excavation, Dodd City, TX – 2017 Silver & Red Peterbilt 389; 2nd Corey Barnes/Brazos Dozer Service, Bryan, TX – 2004 Blue Peterbilt 379; 3rd Elias Torres/Lindamood Heavy Hauling, Irving, TX – 2017 Blue & Black Peterbilt 389.

INTERIOR (OEM SLEEPER): 1st Chad & Janie Claypool/Kyle Cousins, Carthage MO – 2017 Green KW W900; 2nd Terry Aslinger, Marquand, MO – 1996 Red, Cream & Blue Pete 379; 3rd Jon Donadio, Guilford, CT – 1996 Mint Green KW W900 & 2018 East.

INTERIOR (CUSTOM SLEEPER): 1st Bob & Linda Caffee, Silex, MO – 2015 White Freightliner Cascadia; 2nd Dennis Durrant/Jade Transport, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – 2017 Green Kenworth W900.

BEST INTERIOR (LIMITED MILEAGE OR BUILDERS CLASS): Mike Manuel, Front Royal, VA – 2015 Blue Peterbilt 389 & 2016 MAC Curtainside.

PAINT (BOBTAIL): 1st Caleb Hammett/Hammett Excavation, Dodd City, TX – 2017 Silver & Red Peterbilt 389; 2nd Chad & Janie Claypool/Kyle Cousins, Carthage MO – 2017 Green Kenworth W900; 3rd Wes Ezell, Glen Rose, TX – 2017 Baby Blue & White Kenworth W900.

PAINT (COMBO): 1st Joe Regalado, Von Ormy, TX – 2000 Blue Peterbilt 379 & 2018 Armourlite End Dump; 2nd Robbie Basse, Hinton, OK – 2016 Baby Blue & White Kenworth W900 Icon & 2016 Fontaine Step Deck; 3rd Jon Donadio, Guilford, CT – 1996 Mint Green Kenworth W900 & 2018 East.

BEST PAINT (LIMITED MILEAGE OR BUILDERS CLASS – BOBTAIL): Jake Lindamood/Lindamood Heavy Hauling, Irving, TX – 1988 Silver & Blue Pete 379.

BEST PAINT (LIMITED MILEAGE OR BUILDERS CLASS – COMBO): Bubba Branch/Dawes Contract Cartage, Waterford, WI – 2016 Viper Red Kenworth T660 & 2018 Globe RGN.

ENGINE: 1st Brian Rudisell/Kuhnle Trucking, Newbury, OH – 2005 Green & White Kenworth W900; 2nd Jon Donadio, Guilford, CT – 1996 Mint Green Kenworth W900 & 2018 East; 3rd Joe Regalado, Von Ormy, TX – 2000 Blue Peterbilt 379 & 2018 Armourlite End Dump.

BEST ENGINE (LIMITED MILEAGE OR BUILDERS CLASS): Sid Calangelo/Kyle Cousins, Carthage, MO – 2008 Black & Red Kenworth W900 & 2017 Great Dane Van.

BEST OF SHOW (LIMITED MILEAGE BOBTAIL): Jake Lindamood/Lindamood Heavy Hauling, Irving, TX – 1988 Silver & Blue Peterbilt 379.

BEST OF SHOW (LIMITED MILEAGE COMBO): Bubba Branch/Dawes Contract Cartage, Waterford, WI – 2016 Viper Red Kenworth T660 & 2018 Globe RGN (Pure Attitude).

BEST OF SHOW (BUILDER’S CLASS): Mike Manuel, Front Royal, VA – 2015 Blue Peterbilt 389 & 2016 MAC (One of Many).

BEST OF SHOW (WORKING BOBTAIL): Chad & Janie Claypool/Kyle Cousins, Carthage MO – 2017 Green Kenworth W900 (Poison Ivy).

BEST OF SHOW (WORKING COMBO): Jon Donadio, Guilford, CT – 1996 Mint Green Kenworth W900 & 2018 East.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Bradley Wacks/Army & Air Force Exchange, Waco, TX – 2016 White International & 2017 Hyundai Van.

About Daniel J. Linss - Editor

Daniel J. Linss has been with 10-4 Magazine since the beginning in September of 1993, and has been the Editor and Art Director since March of 1994. Over the years, he has also become one of the main photographers for 10-4 and is well-known for his insightful cover feature articles and honest show reports. Married for over 20 years with three children, Daniel operates a marketing and production company (Daniel Designs) which produces 10-4 Magazine each and every month from his office in Squaw Valley, CA.