With a recipe of sunshine, blue sky and big trucks, the 2017 Big Iron Classic, held on September 8-9 in Kasson, MN, went off without a hitch. As most folks from last year will remember, 2016 had a lot of rain leading up to the show, with mud as a dirty reminder. This year was a good year – couldn’t have asked for better weather – or more beautiful trucks. Being a non-judged show held each year for fun and to collect donated toys for kids in need, this event also features an exciting truck pull, as well.
As I promised myself after last year’s show, I made it up to Kasson on Thursday, September 7, after a leisurely stroll from Wisconsin, with time to stop and take in some of nature’s beauty along the way. Fast forward to Friday morning and I began to make my rounds through the grounds to get plenty of pictures of the trucks already in attendance. Make no mistake, although I shot all day, it was not all of the trucks, as they just kept filtering in throughout the day, and then on into the next. By 2:00 p.m. Saturday, a whopping 625 trucks were registered and in attendance, and then an estimated 50 more rolled in after that.
There are no registration fees to bring your truck out to this event, but each entrant is asked to bring a new toy to donate. Same is true for vendors and attendees. This year, toys and donations were collected to head down to flood victims in Texas. The Big Iron Classic people partnered with TraLo Companies this year – one part filled the trailer, while the other hauled it down to Texas. From all the toys, pallets of water donated by Peterbilt and all the other donations, the trailer was filled from front to back and top to bottom. It was awesome!
On Saturday afternoon, about 80 of the trucks filed out of the fairgrounds for a big rig parade through the town of Mantorville, which is located a mile north of Kasson. The parade traveled to Byron and then arrived in Mantorville around 3:30 p.m. I found a good spot to sit on the side of the road and got some great rolling shots of the trucks participating in the parade. Wow, what a sight!
A few of the notable trucks that stood out for me included Mike Hennum of Minneapolis, MN and his blue Kenworth T660 pulling a curtainside trailer; Luke Schaffer of Randolph, MN and his black 2003 Peterbilt 379; Lucas and Heather Ratcliffe of Ceylon, MN and their white 2003 Peterbilt 379; Chad and Lisa Berry of Medford, WI and their brand new 2018 white Peterbilt 389; Shane Van Straten of Shiocton, WI and his black 2012 Peterbilt 386; Preston and Desirae Gapinski from Colby, KS with their 2006 Peterbilt 379; and Chris and Sarah Dreyer of Onalaska, WI and their beautiful blue 2007 Peterbilt 379. But there were so many more.
Looking at the trucks that registered, the drivers, and all those who attended, it seemed like everyone was enjoying themselves. But, the big talk throughout the weekend was about the semi-truck pulls, held on Saturday night, to close out the show. Unfortunately, even though I allowed the time and wanted to, I was so tired from getting up early and walking around that I just couldn’t make it for the pulls. Through word of mouth, I heard they were awesome, as they are every year. In a surprising turn of events, Pat Eilen, who did a 307’ pull and typically wins the Open Class each year, was beat out by Lonny Sailor and his 1963 Pete 351 with a 323’ pull! Other class winners were Jamie Patterson, Scott Cornelius, Luke Cornelius and Lee Pravechek.
For the semi-truck enthusiast, there was something for everyone at this show. It really is just one big trucking party. Seeing the trucks and the pride in each one in attendance, I was definitely in my happy place. As with last year, I was able to visit with old friends and even make some new ones. Having the opportunity to visit at these shows, plus take all the photos, makes each event a joy to attend. I am already looking forward to next year. As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe!