Hanging out with friends at a truck show is one of our favorite things to do. And when you can raise money for a good cause while hanging out with your friends at a truck show, well, that is even better. The Galt Market Grounds in Galt, California was the site, once again, for the 10th Annual Shriners Cool Truck Show on May 6-7. Hosted by Bob Hitchcock of Cherokee Truck Parts in Stockton, the show drew in about 70 big rigs and a handful of hot rods to raise money for the Shriners Hospitals for Children. And although it was not the largest turnout, it was still fun – and it still raised over $7,000 for the cause!
With temps in the low 70s and clear skies, the weather could not have been nicer – except for the wind! Kicking up around the end of each day, we could hardly keep our magazines and posters from blowing away and our pop-up cover, even with heavy sandbags on each leg, almost took off on us a few times. But once the sun went down, the wind subsided, and it was time for the light show. After walking around and taking some pictures, we headed over to Kent Carpenter’s RV where he and some friends, including Joe Liming from Panelite, were cooking up a small feast for anyone who was hungry. After enjoying some spicy hot links and brats, potatoes and a few pieces of awesome toasted bread, it was time for us to call it a night.
Throughout the event, there was always something going on. Friday afternoon we got to enjoy some great live music performed by three very talented young people calling themselves the Campbell Creek Gang. With just two fiddles and a guitar, this small group played some great bluegrass and country jams! After that, Bob held a live auction, selling various donated items, raising money for the charity. On Saturday, a local band called Kast & Crew played classic rock hits throughout the day, and then, a few hours before the awards were handed out, Bob made some special plaque presentations – one to Officer Kevin Gibbons of the CHP for their continued support, and another to a representative from the City of Galt.
To bring down costs this year, Bob only offered two trophies – one for Best Truck and the other for Best Hot Rod – all voted on by the participants and attendees at the show. There were no 2nd or 3rd place awards, no specialty classes, and no differentiation between combos or bobtails, which really cut down the expenses to produce the event, leaving more money for the Shriners. Jeff Botelho and his family also gave out the “Old School Cool” award in memory of Jeff’s dad, James Botelho. Jeff and the guys at his shop created a unique trophy out of an old blue headlight and a bent engine rod, and then embellished it with pinstripes and an engraved chrome placard.
The James Botelho “Old School Cool” Memorial Award went to Mike Gonzales of Susanville, California for his 1995 Peterbilt cabover. Painted John Deere green and white, the “Hay Hustler” features a quick-change hay bed that can be swapped out with a cattle box when necessary and a 1974 Utility pull trailer, built by Precision Trailer out of Stockton. Mike built this truck to use in the winter, when he parks his green and white conventional Peterbilt, which won Best Combo at last year’s show. This cabover is just one of six trucks that Mike uses to haul hay and cattle throughout the west.
The Best Truck award went to Monte Orsi of Redwood Valley, California for his long and low 2002 Peterbilt 379. Many of you might remember this grey and black rig when it was featured on our cover in October 2003. Back then, Jeff England owned the truck, which was later sold to Wayne Baker, and then to Monte about a year ago. With a hood that was stretched 12 inches, handmade running boards and an engine covered with carbon-fiber panels, this truck has always been a crowd-pleaser. When Wayne owned the truck, he stretched out the wheelbase to 330 inches and added purple flames to the panels under the doors. Since buying the truck, which gets used five or six times a month to haul wine, Monte has upgraded the electronics inside, painted a few parts and added more chrome under the hood.
The Best Hot Rod trophy went to a local from Galt named Bill Hildenbrand for his flashy 1963 Ford Econoline E100 pickup. Painted bright yellow with red flames, this custom pickup features a chopped top, a 479 cubic-inch Big Block Chevy running on alcohol and sitting in the truck’s bed, a large wing, and big fat drag-racing slicks. Pumping out about 1,400 horsepower, Bill laid down a little burnout before putting it back on the trailer to take it home. Bill also had one of his 15 trucks on display at the show, which he uses to haul U.S. Mail throughout California – something he has been doing for over 30 years.
As the show came to a close late Saturday afternoon, the wind came back with a vengeance, forcing some to pack up and leave a little early. And after having a few tacos with our friend Lil Ray, it was time for us to hit the road, too. But not before saying goodbye to some of our old friends like Kris Gaare and Angelina Lopez, Jeff Zonneveld, Stephen Ashburn and Fred Rivera, and to some new ones, too, including Matt Meza and his family from Logolights and Greg Petties of GP Express. Thanks to everyone who came out to the show and supported a great cause. Because of events like this, thousands of sick kids will get the medical care they need for free at one of the many top-notch Shriners Hospitals for Children across the country.