The 5th annual Guilty By Association Truck Show (GBATS) was, as it always has been, one of the best events on the circuit. Hosted by the Martin family, the show was held on September 27-28 in the parking lot and surrounding areas at 4 State Trucks in Joplin, Missouri. Featuring almost 300 of the finest trucks, all sorts of fun events including a huge convoy for charity, a downtown concert/party, and a full-on truck and tractor pull, this show just gets bigger and better every year – and almost everything is FREE.
Although the show does not officially begin until Friday, there is always a “V.I.P. Dinner” for early arrivals, the volunteers, and the vendors. And this is no hot dog or hamburger meal – this year, they served Pork, chicken, cheesy mashed potatoes, rolls, and drinks to about 400 people. After dinner, homemade cake (in the shape of a truck) and ice cream (sponsored by us at 10-4 Magazine) was served to anyone who had any space left in their stomach. Heck, some didn’t have any space left, but they ate it anyway!
With perfect blue skies overhead and just enough wind to keep you comfortable, the show kicked-off early Friday morning. Riding around in style in our personalized 10-4 golf cart, wrapped by the folks at Thunder Grafix, we could cover a lot of ground in a hurry. And with 290 registered trucks in attendance and the threat of rain on Saturday, we knew Friday was the day to take all of our truck pictures. So that, in addition to handing out free magazines and posters in our booth, kept us pretty busy for most of the day. Friday also featured shop tours, special parts sales (in a big tent), and the first-ever golf cart pull.
Sponsored by Merritt, about 20 golf carts pulled a special miniature sled down the clay course, attempting to get a full pull. Since there were about eight full pulls and they were running out of time, those eight names were put it into a hat and the winner was randomly drawn. Our friend and past cover trucker Truett Novosad from Caldwell, TX was the lucky winner – and he walked away with the $500 cash prize.
As Friday evening approached, it was time to start getting ready for the convoy. The first order was to auction off the first five spots, but in the end, they auctioned off the first fifteen spots! Once again, our buddy Truett Novosad was the highest bidder, so he got to lead the convoy. This year, the convoy left the shop and headed into downtown Joplin. Once there, everyone parked on the streets and then enjoyed a free concert from Matt Coleman, who performed on the deck of a flatbed trailer. The entire downtown area was closed to through traffic and it was just one big, fun party until about 11:00 PM. After that, everyone fired up their rigs, headed back to the shop, and then got re-parked – and everything went off without a hitch! Special thanks go out to Patrick Tuttle at the Joplin Convention & Visitor’s Bureau for helping to make it all happen.
This convoy has been held at the last few shows, and it is always a big hit, but this year it was the highlight of the show – and it was all for charity! Each truck that entered the convoy made a $100 donation – and there were 234 trucks. Add to that all of the money earned at the auction for the front spots, and this year’s convoy, which benefits the Southwest Missouri Special Olympics, raised $47,400. Special thanks go out to Robin Anderson for all her help with this event.
After all of the great weather and fun on Friday, it was a bummer to wake up to pouring rain on Saturday – and it rained all day! We spent most of the day under our tent, trying to stay dry. Every once in a while it would stop raining for a bit, and during one of those breaks, the kid’s pedal tractor pull was held. We also had a “high-striker” game in front of our booth – you know, one of those “test your strength” carnival games where you try to ring the bell. Many swung that big hammer, but few rang the bell. The champion, if there was such a thing, was Bob Brinker, who hit the bell five times in a row!
The biggest concern about the rain was that it might force the truck and tractor pull to be canceled. The track was covered all day, but if it was raining, the event, sponsored by Speedco, would have to be scrapped. But, by the grace of God, it stopped raining right as the event was scheduled to begin, and it never started again.
The pull started out with a bang, literally, as Lincoln Chrome brought out “Mr. Bomb” who crawled into a small box and then blew it up with himself inside. If you look at one of the photos, we got a perfect shot of the explosion (you can even see Mr. Bomb still crouched on the ground where the box used to be). After that spectacle, the Martin family announced the winners of the truck show and handed out the trophies.
There were only two show awards – Best Bobtail and Best Combination – and both were only voted on by the competitors in the show. Chad Blackwell and his turquoise and peach Peterbilt (our May 2013 cover truck) took the Best Bobtail award, while Dustin Dickerson and his blue and gray Peterbilt and matching MAC end dump (this month’s cover truck) took top honors in the combo class. Dustin narrowly beat out last year’s combination winner, Dusty Berry.
In addition to the truck show awards, every year the Martin family gives out a special Larry Martin Memorial Award to one deserving individual – and this year’s award went to Jim Finn of Mantorville, MN. Jim is the organizer of The Big Iron Classic truck show held every year in Kasson, MN for charity. Chosen for his strong family values, his diligent work ethic, his kind and positive attitude, and his unwavering support of those in need, Jim, who was obviously shocked and surprised, accepted the award in front of the huge crowd with tears in his eyes.
Once the truck and tractor pull started, it was loud and fast-paced action for the rest of the night. Featuring work trucks, pulling trucks, hot rod tractors and professional pulling tractors with multiple engines, the competition was hot and heavy. From inside a truck cab on stilts, Bryan Martin and Danny Frossard had fun calling all the shots. Dave Amick, Bryan’s regular emcee partner, had an emergency and had to cancel at the last minute so Danny, a local guy, was called in to cover – and he did great.
As the night came to a close and the last pull was ran, fireworks, courtesy of FASS, began to explode overhead. After the fireworks display, the trophy was handed out for the “Pull of the Night” to Nathan August who did a 280-foot pull in his “Work in Progress” blue W900 KW. Special thanks go out to Mike Barrett of Speedco for all his help with the truck and tractor pull.
Some other sponsors that deserve some thanks include Dynaflex, who provided two meal tickets in every goodie bag for all the truck show participants, and Hogebuilt, who gave away a set of stainless steel full fenders to the winner of the poker run. The Martin family also wanted to thank the over 100 workers and volunteers that stepped-up and helped make all this happen.
Somehow, this show just gets better every year, and we are sure that next year will be no different. We would like to congratulate the entire 4 State team for another job well-done! We hope to see you next year at GBATS 2014.