Trucking is a very serious profession. With deadlines, dangerous loads and dangerous roads, the stress the average driver or trucking operation experiences can be enormous. So, it’s good to know that, ever so often, we can blow off a little steam and have some fun at a truck show. And that’s what all truck shows should be – fun! The Color and Chrome Fantasy Truck Show, held in Ogallala, Nebraska on August 9-11 at the Keith County Fair Grounds, was just that – a show devoted to relaxing and having a good time.
A development of the Chase County Fair Truck Show, previously held in Imperial, Nebraska, and also put on by Tinker Raasch, the Color and Chrome Fantasy Truck Show made the move this year with fun in mind. After a few glitches occurred at the show last year in Imperial, Tinker made the choice to move locations to keep the fun and ditch the politics that were surrounding the previous event. And the move to Ogallala proved to be quite fruitful.
Taking place alongside and in conjunction with the Keith County Fair, the show featured an expanded vendor line and it was a much more effective and driver-friendly location. In previous years, if reservations hadn’t been made months or more in advance, lodging for the Imperial show was either done in the sleeper or a 40-odd mile drive north to Ogallala. With the move to Ogallala, a good hotel room and a wide variety of food choices were now no more than just a couple miles drive away. The move to Ogallala, which is located right along I-80, one of the most heavily traveled truck routes in the nation, drew in a wide range of trucks to the show. In the past, the show was almost exclusively a local show to Western Nebraska. With the move closer to I-80, both vendors and trucks from as far away as Missouri and Virginia appeared at the show (including Bryan Martin of 4 State Trucks and the Chrome Shop Mafia), with more significant representation from Wyoming and Colorado, as well.
The move to Ogallala helped the show grow to a more regional status than just local, and the array of trucks was nothing to balk at. Notable competitors at the show included Ernie Bates of Burlington, Colorado, and his totally classic 1970 narrow-nose Peterbilt bull-hauler (which I featured in the May 2012 edition), as well as another well-known bull-hauler, Chad Blackwell, and his wild ’08 Legacy edition 379 (which was featured on the May 2013 cover). Gary Disher arrived in force at the show with his 1990 W900B Kenworth “Counterfeit” (featured in the February 2013 issue), as well as a clean Freightliner cabover and two of his fleet trucks. Some other cool entries included Tri-State Commodities of Greeley, Colorado and their clean “Class of ‘78” long-hood W900A (a display-only truck at the show), as well as Kevin Schnug’s clean blue and white 379 flattop. No doubt, the caliber of the trucks at this show was impressive.
Aside from the rows of beautiful rigs, the show also provided some great entertainment with Jimmy Disher and his crew doing burnouts in their junkyard racers. “Freddy” provided the “fastest shifts in the west” starting in fifth gear and grabbing gears in the middle of his burnout, Jimmy provided plenty of smoke in his sinister, chopped and channeled cabover Kenworth, and Charnie, Jimmy’s cute little thirteen year-old grand-daughter, showed that the girls could do it just as well as the boys in her narrow-nose KW. And with music, livestock and barbecue alongside the truck show at the fair, the event had plenty of things to see and do for everyone.
Having had to deal with rain in previous years, this year’s show featured great weather all weekend long. With some occasional cloud cover, the show enjoyed the perfect mix of sun and clouds, keeping the temperatures cool enough to beat the humidity, but not a single drop of rain to mar the hours of preparation that went into the many rigs that arrived. Parked out on the grass, the location had great accessibility, which proved useful for the Friday night light show and parade. Lit up from front-to-back, many of the rigs in attendance participated in an impromptu cruise through Ogallala. Herbst Towing took the cake with their wildly lit-up wrecker, featuring everything from beacons to LED strip lighting, all wired to flash in unison. Needless to say, the truck does not lack visibility at night!
Sticking with the laid-back feel of the rest of the show, Tinker carried over her signature from the Imperial show. There are no classes at this bobtail-only show – you simply arrive with your rig and the crowd votes for their favorite rides. At the end of the show, the votes are tallied and then the Top 20 rigs are announced. With generous donations from sponsors including 4 State Trucks, Wilkins Oklahoma Truck Supply, Greybill Chrome, Rockwood, Steering Creations, and many others, the Top 20 trucks got first pick at a wide array of prizes. Some of the prizes this year included a new air-ride seat, train horns, a full set of lug-nut covers, free oil changes, work lights, and other great products and services. But, the best part is, once the Top 20 got their pick of the prizes, the numbers of the remaining trucks are randomly drawn and those drivers got to pick goodies from the prize table, too. In the end, no one goes home empty-handed from Tinker’s show. And for those who were at the awards ceremony, “How about those mud-flaps!”
As amazing as the big shows can be in sheer size, we at 10-4 love finding the small, local and regional shows that showcase the most important thing about showing your rig – having fun. If it isn’t fun, why would you want to do it, anyway? Tinker’s show does not disappoint in this aspect. With a distinct flavor all its own, with a little bit of “country” and a whole lot of cool, we look forward to seeing Tinker’s show grow even more than it already has next year.
The Top 20 trucks this year, listed in order, were: 1) Ernie Bates of Burlington, CO; 2) Chad Blackwell of Greenville, VA; 3) Larry Raasch of Champion, NE; 4) Justin Herrick of North Platte, NE; 5) Kevin Way of Lamar, NE; 6) Gary Herbst of North Platte, NE; 7) Dave Hand of Kearney, NE; 8) Shawn Maloney of Holyoke, CO; 9) Kevin Schnug of Cheyenne, WY; 10) Trent Powell of Yuma, CO; 11) Curtis Mentzer of Early, IA; 12) Clyde Green of Cheyenne, WY; 13) Tim Powell of Yuma, CO; 14) Russ Reichert of Benkelman, NE; 15) Gary Disher of Commerce City, CO; 16) KC Peterson of Lewellen, NE; 17) Kevin Way of Lamar, NE; 18) Jim Disher of Commerce City, CO; 19) Kelly Beard of Imperial, NE; 20) Charles Slinde of North Platte, NE. Our congratulations go out to all of the 2013 winners!