We have been going to truck shows for almost 20 years, and there are only a few we have never attended. Each year, we throw a show (or two) into the regular show circuit mix to try out something new – this year we headed to the land of corn and soybeans for the 6th Annual Top Gun Largecar Shootout in Rantoul, IL. Organizers Tom and DaVeda Reitz welcomed 10-4 Magazine with open arms and Midwestern hospitality.
Held at the huge Rantoul National Aviation Center, the location had plenty of room and a nice mix of paved and grassy areas. And with cool temperatures and fluffy white clouds to break up the sun, it was the perfect setting for strolling around, talking, and shooting pictures of the amazing collection of trucks in attendance.
Despite his recent health challenges with cancer, Tom was there “putting out fires” like always. And with a record-setting number of entrants (nearly 150 registered and competing trucks), there were a few fires that needed his attention. But from what I could see, things ran pretty smooth. Tom & DaVeda wanted to thank each and every one of their sponsors, because without them, the show would not be possible.
Meeting up with Dan and Erik from 10-4, along with Mickey Gwillim and his son Tyler in the morning for breakfast before the show, it was great catching-up with everyone. Then, I had the pleasure of going to the show for the first time and getting “put to work” taking pictures and interviewing drivers all day. I saw some old friends and met some new ones, too (including a lot of great drivers). And, of course, the reason we all were there – the trucks.
Spread out in a beautiful mostly-grassy setting with lots of room in between the trucks, the parking crew did a fantastic job. One of my new friends is Blake Wurmnest – I met him while shooting pictures of the fun they were having throwing bean bags. While I was chatting with the guys playing, Blake came over and told me that his engine had almost a million miles on it without an overhaul. I said, “Is that supposed to impress me?” I went on to tell him that my engine had 1,818,000 miles on it before it had its first overhaul, so I knew a little bit about trucks. We both got a big laugh out of that, and then started a more serious conversation about his dad. Blake really lit up when he started telling me stories about his dad – he is gone now, but his memory is very much alive. I also got to meet Blake’s wife, Brenda, and then found out that they were celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary at the show! Now THAT is a good wife!!
I was also welcomed into the Mid West Large Cars family, which has since made a name change to Mid West Loudn Proud. They had their own little community set up at the show, complete with a grill and a canopy. Everyone in the club pitched in for the food, which included hot dogs, hamburgers and brats. I wanted to give the master of the grill credit, but he asked to remain anonymous. This show was exactly what truck showing should be – everyone helping everyone else, and having a good time doing it!
Another member of the Mid West Loudn Proud family is Shawn & Penny Brownfield. Their new “Creepin” truck, which was featured in the February 2013 edition of 10-4 as one of Clint’s Creations, was hooked to their new matching reefer – and it was lookin’ good! After the show, lots of their family and friends helped them win the Shell Rotella Virtual SuperRigs Contest online by just 12 votes. They not only won $500, but pictures of their truck will also be used in some advertising for the company next year.
In addition to all of the great people and great trucks, there was also some pretty good entertainment at this event. This was the first time I had seen a kiddie tractor pull, and it was fun. Pulling a special kiddie sled, the young participants piloted their pedal-powered tractors on a pre-measured course on the concrete – and some of them did really good. And although the seriously-determined looks on some of their faces made them look otherwise, they all seemed to be having a great time.
The Hot Rods & Hooligans Motor Club was also there on Saturday – they held their own car and bike show in conjunction with the truck show, and all of the money raised was donated to the Illini Shrine Club. Matt Coleman also came out, and he and his talented band played a loud set to close out the festivities on Saturday night. This show was truly a family event in every sense of the word, and the weather, the people, and the trucks could not have been nicer.
Like for any show, there is a winner’s list, but I have to say, I really feel that every truck and driver that was in this show was #1. The relaxed atmosphere made it such a pleasure to walk around and talk with everyone. This is how I get ideas for future stories, and believe me when I say, I got a lot of great ideas at this show that you will be reading about in future editions of 10-4. You guys know who you are!
We at 10-4 would like to thank Mike Horan and Scott Whitley of RoadWorks Mfg. for not only bringing our magazines to the show for us, but for also letting us set up a rack and distribute them in their booth. We also wanted to thank Darren Parker from Lincoln Chrome for sharing all that great pizza with us (it hit the spot), as well as Tom & DaVeda Reitz and the rest of their crew, for making us feel like family.
I had to laugh at Dan’s excitement about seeing his first firefly. Being from California and not having spent much time in the Midwest in the summer, he had never seen a firefly before, so he was pretty excited when he did. In fact, he took a video of one with his phone and sent it to his wife and kids at home – they loved it, too! Living here, we have been seeing them fly around for years, so it is no big deal to us, but it was fun to see him so excited about it (another first).
Dan and Erik both enjoyed their time in the Midwest – meeting new people, seeing new trucks, and attending a new show – and they were amazed at the seemingly-endless fields of corn and soybeans. Personally, I hope they liked it well enough to come back and see us again next year, because I am already looking forward to 2014! Here is the list of winners for 2013:
BOBTAIL (2008-2014): 1st Nick Baudino of Kinsman, IL; 2nd Ryan Almon of Owensville, IN; 3rd Kevin Defenbaugh of Manville, IL.
BOBTAIL (2007): 1st Corey McCord of Anderson, IN; 2nd Chad Blackwell of Greenville, VA; 3rd Matt McCord of Alexandria, VA.
BOBTAIL (2000-2006): 1st Scott Lynch of Witt, IL; 2nd David Emmest of Jamestown, IN; 3rd Rick Wann of Farina, IL.
BOBTAIL (1996-1999): 1st Dave Wood of Kankakee, IL; 2nd Hank Robey of Momence, IL; 3rd Mowrey Auction of Milford, IL.
BOBTAIL (1987-1995): 1st Troy Huddleston of Yale, IL; 2nd Matt Kelley of Rockport, IN; 3rd Mowrey Auction of Milford, IL.
BOBTAIL (1974-1986): 1st Jason Ogden of Marseilles, IL; 2nd Doug Ogden of Marseilles, IL; 3rd Jason Grove, Sr. of Manteno, IL.
BOBTAIL (LIGHTS): 1st Troy Huddleston of Yale, IL; 2nd Nick Baudino of Kinsman, IL; 3rd Scott Lynch of Witt, IL.
BOBTAIL (INTERIOR): 1st Chad Blackwell of Greenville, VA; 2nd Scott Lynch of Witt, IL; 3rd Corey McCord of Anderson, IN.
COMBO (2012-2013): 1st Curtis Mentzer of Early, IA; 2nd Tim Duvall of Carmi, IL; 3rd Scott Shipp of Omaha, IL.
COMBO (2007-2010): 1st Brian Dabney of Minier, IL; 2nd Greg Smith of Dyer, IN; 3rd Clay Snider of Queen City, MO.
COMBO (2005-2006): 1st Mike Miller of Jerome, ID; 2nd Jeff Peterson of Wenona, IL; 3rd Joel Anker of Dyer, IL.
COMBO (2002-2004): 1st Joe Davis of Lebanon, IN; 2nd Steve Vermillion of Gifford, IL; 3rd Mark Keeney of Van Buren, MO.
COMBO (2000-2001): 1st Jordan Houtzel of Paxton, IL; 2nd Mowrey Auction of Milford, IL; 3rd Jason Markley of Farina, IL.
COMBO (1996-1998): 1st Kenneth Fisher of Muscoda, WI; 2nd Chris Abbott of Conesville, IN; 3rd Tom Doolin of Pleasant Plains, IL.
COMBO (1953-1995): 1st John Dunnigan of Bloomsdale, MO; 2nd Dave Marcotte of Momence, IL; 3rd John Gallagher of Sadorus, IL.
COMBO (LIGHTS): 1st Dave Marcotte of Momence, IL; 2nd Joe Davis of Lebanon, IN; 3rd Nick Hamann of Grant Park, IL.
COMBO (INTERIOR): 1st Mike Miller of Jerome, ID; 2nd Brian Dabney of Minier, IL; 3rd Joe Davis of Lebanon, IN.
LIMITED MILES (BOBTAIL): 1st Jason Alt of Lafayette, IN; 2nd Dave Friend of Rossville, IN; 3rd Aaron Huls of Hoopeston, IL.
LIMITED MILES COMBO (2001-2014): 1st Brian Davis of Owensville, IN; 2nd Stephen Harrison of Owatonna, MN; 3rd Dustin Dickerson of Lebanon, IN.
LIMITED MILES COMBO (1973-2000): 1st Brian Zelhart of Momence, IL; 2nd Rodney Sanders of Hillsboro, IN; 3rd Randy Huddleston of Willow Hill, IL.
LIMITED MILES (LIGHTS): 1st Brian Davis of Owensville, IN; 2nd Dustin Dickerson of Lebanon, IN; 3rd Stephen Harrison of Owatonna, MN.
LIMITED MILES (INTERIOR): 1st Stephen Harrison of Owatonna, MN; 2nd Dustin Dickerson of Lebanon, IN; 3rd Brian Davis of Owensville, IN.
BEST SMALL FLEET: Paul Marcotte Farms of Momence, IL.
BEST OF SHOW LIMITED MILES BOBTAIL: Jason Alt of Lafayette, IN.
BEST OF SHOW LIMITED MILES COMBO: Brian Davis of Owensville, IN.
BEST OF SHOW WORKING BOBTAIL: Chad Blackwell of Greenville, VA.
BEST OF SHOW WORKING COMBO: Mike Miller of Jerome, ID.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Dave Marti of Forrest, IL.