Truck show longevity is always dependent upon the continuation of bringing an attractive event to the table. The ability to not only appeal to the registrants but to the public, as well, is key. As a first-time attendee to the annual truck show hosted by the folks at the 75 Chrome Shop in Wildwood, Florida, I was not disappointed.
April 27, 2018 marked the beginning of the 20th Anniversary of the 75 Chrome Shop Truck Show. This year was a non-judged show but there were two awards to compete for – the Prime Shine trophy and the People’s Choice trophy. Along with the trophies, 75 Chrome Shop, for the first time, gave every registered truck the opportunity to be considered for a spot in their 2019 calendar. Another first for the show this year was a truck convoy, which coincided with the Leesburg Bikefest. The Leesburg Bikefest, in their 22nd year, was happening at the same time, which brought plenty of motorcycle enthusiasts to the truck show and gave attendees even more to look at with all the beautiful motorcycles that came and went from the parking lot.
This year, part of the proceeds from the show went to a worthy cause. Camp Boggy Creek was founded by Paul Newman and General H. Norman Schwarzkopf in 1996. This camp was founded with one simple premise – to allow every child diagnosed with chronic or life-threatening illnesses an opportunity to experience a safe, medically-sound camp experience.
The 75 Chrome Shop prides themselves in not only being a great family-run business for almost 30 years, but also in customer service and product knowledge. Incorporated in 1990, they have seen changes and have become a one-stop shop, with the beautiful 10,000 square foot showroom, equipped with a comfortable game room and lounge area, a truck wash across the street, a service department, and a full-service custom graphics department. With fuel stops and restaurants close by, any driver would find this to be a prime stopping location. Be sure to check out the showroom – it is sure to impress – and the mostly female staff has it neatly-organized and appealing to any eye.
I was fortunate to be a part of this show, not only to attend, but to be brought in, along with Chris Fiffie of Big Rig Videos, to photograph the selected trucks for 75 Chrome Shop’s 2019 calendar. The registered trucks started rolling in on Wednesday, April 25th, and by the time registration was over, 90+ trucks were neatly parked on the grounds. Not only were there trucks on the lot, but there were also many well-known vendors with displays, enjoying the beautiful weather we were lucky to have.
TRUX Accessories had a booth set-up, along with their 1999 Peterbilt 379 show truck, featuring their new headlight assemblies on display. Other vendors in attendance included RoadWorks, who were on display with their latest Peterbilt show truck, along with Evan’s Detailing and Polishing/Renegade, Lincoln Chrome, Hot Rig Apparel, Diesel Life (with their trailer hooked to a Peterbilt 389 Fitzgerald glider), Dynaflex and many more. Food was plentiful on the show grounds, with lots of choices for everyone. As an annual attraction at the show, the lovely ladies on stilts were also there walking around.
As the show began on Friday, spectators and participants alike were getting excited about the first-ever convoy coming later that evening. Featuring 63 trucks and perfect weather, the convoy, with cooperation and organization from the local police department, went off without a hitch. As the evening ended, drivers flipped their lights on in a preliminary display to the light show, which was officially scheduled for the next night. Saturday brought out a full attendance of truck enthusiasts and families, along with an evening concert by The Ben Carter Band, which followed closely behind the light show.
Sunday, April 29th, the final day of the event, brought awards and the announcement of who earned a spot in their 2019 calendar. The Prime Shine trophy went to Kaleb Hammett of Hammett Excavating with his 2017 Peterbilt 389 (our February 2018 cover feature), while Preston “Bubba” Branch earned the coveted People’s Choice Trophy with his bright red 2014 Kenworth T660 (recently featured in our April 2018 edition). The show also raised over $8,000 for Camp Boggy Creek.
The following drivers/trucks were chosen to be featured on the 2019 75 Chrome Shop calendar (in order of photo shoot completion): 1) Laird “Spike” Fuller/Spike Transportation and his 1995 Pete 379; 2) Doug Fairburn/Lifetime Nut Covers and his 1960 Kenworth; 3) LeRoy McRoberts/McRoberts Trucking and his 1960 Freightliner and 2011 Wabash reefer; 4) Todd & Beth Roccapriore/Clean Slate Environmental and their 2006 Pete 379 and 1984 Heil tanker; 5) Travis Goodson/H&M Services and their 2017 Kenworth T800; 6) Brian Fretwell/Taylor Transport and their 1999 Pete 379 wrecker; 7) Brian King/King Excavating and their 2017 Kenworth W900L and 2012 Benson flatbed; 8) Shane Boullion/Shane P. Boullion Trucking and his 2001 Peterbilt 379; 9) Ronnie Adams/Adams Motor Express, Inc. and his 1986 Peterbilt 359; 10) Chad Ellison/C&E Cattle and their 2018 Pete 389 and 2018 Wilson trailer; 11) Preston “Bubba” Branch/Lowlife Transport and his 2014 Kenworth T660 and 2018 Globe 50-ton detach; 12) Frank Trujilio and Jonattan Rivera/Lucky 24 Transport and their 2001 Peterbilt 379 tri-axle dump truck and 2016 Peterbilt 389 tri-axle dump truck; and 13) Randy Manning/Randy Manning LLC and his 2018 Kenworth W900 six-axle dump truck. Stay tuned for the release date of this 2019 calendar, which will be really cool.
Monday, April 30th, I stood in the parking lot after shooting the last calendar truck and it was almost bittersweet that it was all over. With so much anticipation for me in the months, weeks and days leading up to the show, it was hard to believe that three days could fly by that fast. If you’ve never been to this show, please consider marking your calendar for next year’s event. The show is scheduled for April 26-28, 2019. You won’t regret it! As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.