The 40th annual Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) kicked off the 2011 season with a bang! Held once again at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY on March 31st through April 2nd, the massive show had 1,039 exhibiting companies, stretched out over 1.2 million square feet under roof, and saw more than 76,000 attendees pass through the doors over the three days of the event. If this show is any indication as to how the year is going to be, it should be a good one.
Almost every hall and wing of the Expo Center was filled to capacity with vendors from all segments of the trucking industry. Although there were no major unveilings or introductions with the OEMs this year, there was still a lot to see. The Western Star booth, touting a “Department of Serious Trucks” theme, had several head-turning rigs on display, including a 4900EX painted white and brown with a leather-clad bumper and grille surround, as well as leather “saddle bags” over the fuel tanks. Some people loved it – others did not – but either way, people were talking about it and taking pictures of it all three days.
Peterbilt’s large booth featured a line-up of their fleet trucks and aerodynamic models, all painted red, while Volvo’s booth had all light blue trucks in it. Kenworth, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the T800, had all sorts of vocational units in their booth. Mac Trailer had an impressive display featuring one of their polished pneumatic trailers, propped up over a diamond-plate-covered lunch counter, forming a very unique roof (and an eye-catching centerpiece to their booth). Over in the West Wing, vendors were crammed into every corner and, being the oldest and smallest building, it was hard to even walk through it. Out in the West Wing Pavilion, there was a large antique truck display with tons of cool old rigs and a food court.
One noteworthy addition to the show was the fact that Panelite is back. After closing their doors over a year ago, the company is now back in business with a new owner. Canadian-based Dieter’s Stainless Steel Truck Accessories will be continuing the tradition of building the quality products that Panelite was known for making. We wish them all the luck!
Over in the North Wing, the 10-4 booth was extremely busy as we handed out thousands of free magazines, posters and centerfolds, and sold t-shirts. We had allotted a certain amount of magazines and posters for each day, but every day we ran short hours before the show closed. We’d like to thank our good friends from Minnesota, Marion Stolz, her son Jim and his girlfriend, Jed and Theresa from Missouri, and Bryan Becker, our t-shirt guy from California, for all their help in the booth this year (photo 2). You guys really made our job a lot easier – thank you!
Of course, while all of this excitement was going on inside all of the buildings, there was a lot going on outside, too – namely the 22nd Annual Paul K. Young Truck Beauty Championship. With about 85 total trucks on the lot (65 in the PKY competition and 20 just on display), there was definitely room for a few more, but the quality of rigs was breathtaking. This year there were several awesome new trucks unveiled at the show including Scott Diller’s “Red Dawn” (on our cover and centerfold this month), a spectacular 1981 Kenworth A-Model (photo 8), the latest Peterbilt and tank built by Farmer’s Oil called “Momma Cried” (photo 6), which features all sorts of unique items, like a toolbox hidden inside a “dummy” fuel tank (photo 1), and Joplin Peterbilt’s latest creation, a Jade Green 1965 Needlenose Pete with a Mercury sleeper (photo 5) built for Sam Helt, just to name a few.
There were also a lot of familiar names and faces (as well as rigs) on the lot, too. Vinnie Diorio brought out his latest black and orange combo called “Rollin 4 Jake” (photo 3), which was built in memory of Jake Eilen (the truck once belonged to Jake). Bob & Shelly Brinker earned several awards for their well-known mural-covered Freightliner, and Bill & Marie Sandvik did well with their latest Peterbilt from California. Jerry Beaudoin of SRS had a new (old) ride that was lookin’ good, too (he fixed up his first truck in honor of his company’s 10th anniversary). Jerry’s orange Peterbilt and polished Mac End Dump (photo 7) won several trophies, including Best of Show Working Bobtail. Jeremiah Wolfe and his hot rod Peterbilt (photo 9) was also turnin’ some heads (it was one of our favorite rigs on the lot).
Also out on the show lot, about 30 students from Donny Doverspike’s Diesel Technology Course at the Clarion County Career Center located in Shippenville, PA were showing off their latest “Extra Credit” project. At the awards ceremony on Saturday morning, the students were given a special recognition award and achievement trophy. These kids, with the help of over 20 generous sponsors, built a slick black 2004 Peterbilt with wild graphics. There was no Big-Rig Build-Off this year, but all of the past champions were invited to come out and show off their winning rigs once again, and all but one showed up. Hopefully, next year, the Build-Off will be back.
Back inside, on Saturday afternoon, 10-4’s Erik Sieben was asked to pull the winning ticket in a drawing for a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. The folks at Lifetime Nut Covers sold raffle tickets for the motorcycle at various events over the past eight months, and when Erik pulled the name, nobody would have believed that it would not only be someone at the show, but someone we knew. Ronnie Tisdale, a truck driver and mechanic for Jon Davis Trucking out of Alabama, was the lucky winner (photo 4). And it just so happens that Jon Davis Trucking is the company that delivers our magazines all along I-10 and I-20 from New Mexico to South Carolina. Ronnie was just outside when they called his name, so his friend and ours, “L.A. Rookie” (the L.A. stands for Lower Alabama), called him on the phone and told him to come inside. Ronnie could hardly believe that he had won – it was awesome!
Next year’s Mid-America Trucking Show is slated for March 22-24, 2012. Based on what we saw in Louisville this year, we think that 2011 will be a much better year than the last few. If we all just dig in, stop worrying, and get back to what we do best (working hard), things will be fine!
THE 22ND ANNUAL PAUL K. YOUNG TRUCK BEAUTY CHAMPIONSHIP WAS SPONSORED BY: PPG Industries, 4 State Trucks, 10-4 Magazine, Peterbilt, OOIDA, Howe’s Lubricator, Mac Trailer, RoadWorks, Truck Rodz by Jones Performance, Lifetime Nut Covers, Lincoln Chrome, Fontaine Fifth Wheel, Midnight Trucking Radio, Firestone, ALT Wheels, Panelite/Dieters, Hendrickson Bumper & Trim, Hodyon APU, Air Tech Air Bags and Rockwood. AND THE WINNERS WERE…
BOBTAIL (2001 & OLDER): 1st Bob & Shelley Brinker, 2000 Freightliner with Murals; 2nd Colin Stuart, Purple & White 1984 Peterbilt; 3rd Frank Kurtschenreuter, Red 1994 Peterbilt.
BOBTAIL (2002 & NEWER): 1st Bill & Marie Sandvik, Champagne & Red 2005 Peterbilt; 2nd Ron & Jan Huey, Warm Grey 2010 International; 3rd Mike Auker, Red 2007 Peterbilt.
BOBTAIL (SPECIALIZED): 1st Peter Mansueto, Black 2002 Peterbilt; 2nd Lynn & Shelly Baxter, White 2006 Freightliner.
BOBTAIL (PAINT & GRAPHICS): 1st Bob & Shelley Brinker, 2000 Freightliner with Murals; 2nd Colin Stuart, Purple & White 1984 Peterbilt; 3rd Lynn & Shelly Baxter, White 2006 Freightliner.
BOBTAIL (LIGHTS): 1st Bob & Shelley Brinker, 2000 Freightliner with Murals; 2nd Colin Stuart, Purple & White 1984 Peterbilt; 3rd Peter Mansueto, Black 2002 Peterbilt.
COMBO: 1st Mike Hug, Black & Orange 2007 Peterbilt; 2nd Jerry Kissinger, Burnt Orange 1991 Mack; 3rd Phillip Miarer, Black & Orange 2007 Kenworth.
COMBO (FIRST SHOW): 1st Chad Schinderwolf, White & Maroon 2004 Peterbilt with 2011 Mac; 2nd James Loot, Red 2008 Peterbilt with 2011 Great Dane.
COMBO (SPECIALIZED): 1st Jerry Beaudoin, Orange 2003 Peterbilt with 2011 Mac End Dump; 2nd Brian Dabney, Orange 2010 Kenworth with Mac End Dump; 3rd Nathan Tompkins, Green 2007 Peterbilt with 2010 Brenner Tanker.
COMBO (PAINT & GRAPHICS): 1st Brian Dabney, Orange 2010 Kenworth with 2005 Mac End Dump; 2nd Jerry Kissinger, Burnt Orange 1991 Mack; 3rd Jeremy Leavitt, Red 2005 Peterbilt.
COMBO (LIGHTS): 1st Jerry Beaudoin, Orange 2003 Peterbilt with 2011 Mac End Dump; 2nd Jeremy Leavitt, Red 2005 Peterbilt; 3rd Jerry Kissinger, Burnt Orange 1991 Mack.
ANTIQUE: 1st Stacie Yeary, Beige & Red 1978 Kenworth; 2nd Don Berube, Mint Green 1956 Peterbilt; 3rd Bill Arth, Blue & White 1973 Freightliner.
INTERIOR (CAB ONLY): 1st Jerry Beaudoin, Orange 2003 Peterbilt with 2011 Mac End Dump; 2nd Peter Mansueto, Black 2002 Peterbilt; 3rd Jeremy Leavitt, Red 2005 Peterbilt.
INTERIOR (OEM SLEEPER): 1st Bob & Shelley Brinker, 2000 Freightliner with Murals; 2nd Brian Dabney, Orange 2010 Kenworth with 2005 Mac End Dump; 3rd Mike Hug, Black & Orange 2007 Peterbilt.
INTERIOR (CUSTOM SLEEPER): 1st Colin Stuart, Purple & White 1984 Peterbilt; 2nd Lynn & Shelly Baxter, White 2006 Freightliner; 3rd Jerry Kissinger, Burnt Orange 1991 Mack.
ENGINE: 1st Jerry Beaudoin, Orange 2003 Peterbilt with 2011 Mac End Dump; 2nd Frank Kurtschenreuter, Red 1994 Peterbilt; 3rd Bob & Shelley Brinker, 2000 Freightliner with Murals.
LIMITED MILEAGE (BOBTAIL): 1st Scott Diller, Red & Black 1981 Kenworth; 2nd Sam Helt, Jade Green 1965 Peterbilt; 3rd Jeremiah Wolfe, White & Green 2007 Peterbilt.
LIMITED MILEAGE LIGHTS (BOBTAIL): Scott Diller, Red & Black 1981 Kenworth.
LIMITED MILEAGE INTERIOR (BOBTAIL): Scott Diller, Red & Black 1981 Kenworth.
LIMITED MILEAGE ENGINE (BOBTAIL): Jeremiah Wolfe, White & Green 2007 Peterbilt.
LIMITED MILEAGE (COMBO): 1st Jeremey Graves, Brown & Gold 2011 Peterbilt with 2010 Mississippi Tank; 2nd Jason Carello, Candy Apple Red 2009 International; 3rd Michael Bunning, Red 2008 Peterbilt.
LIMITED MILEAGE PAINT (COMBO): Jeremey Graves, Brown & Gold 2011 Peterbilt with 2010 Mississippi Tank.
LIMITED MILEAGE LIGHTS (COMBO): Jeremey Graves, Brown & Gold 2011 Peterbilt with 2010 Mississippi Tank.
LIMITED MILEAGE INTERIOR (COMBO): Jeremey Graves, Brown & Gold 2011 Peterbilt with 2010 Mississippi Tank.
LIMITED MILEAGE ENGINE (COMBO): Jeremey Graves, Brown & Gold 2011 Peterbilt with 2010 Mississippi Tank.
TRUCK RODZ BEST THEME AWARD: Robert Morse.
FIRESTONE’S MOST TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED CAB AWARD: Colin Stuart, Purple & White 1984 Peterbilt.
DAVE SWEETMAN’S PICK OF THE LITTER: Bob Martin.
ROADWORKS BEST USE OF CHROME & STAINLESS (BOBTAIL): Scott Diller, Red & Black 1981 Kenworth.
ROADWORKS BEST USE OF CHROME & STAINLESS (COMBO): Jeremey Graves, Brown & Gold 2011 Peterbilt with 2010 Mississippi Tank.
BEST PETERBILT IN SHOW: Jeremey Graves, Brown & Gold 2011 Peterbilt with 2010 Mississippi Tank.
JAKE EILEN MEMORIAL AWARD: Vinnie & Kim Diorio.
BEST OF SHOW WORKING BOBTAIL: Bob & Shelley Brinker, 2000 Freightliner with Murals.
BEST OF SHOW WORKING COMBO: Jerry Beaudoin, Orange 2003 Peterbilt with 2011 Mac End Dump.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Jeremey Graves, Brown & Gold 2011 Peterbilt with 2010 Mississippi Tank.