On Saturday, May 3, 2014 in a small town in rural Minnesota, a band of brothers (known in the trucking community as the Minnesota Mafia) were watching months of planning come together. What started out as just one of Brandon Washburn’s crazy ideas to get a few of his trucking buddies and their rigs together for a small show to generate some donations for a local trucker and friend, Michael Lentsch, turned into something amazing.
Michael, who was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer in January of this year at the young age of 30, is a lifelong trucker – and a trucker who is very passionate about trucks. He’s the guy who might not know you by name, but tell him what truck you drive, and then he’ll recognize you.
That Saturday morning, everyone pitched in to get the event started. The locals got their trucks parked by 9:30 a.m. and began setting up tables and barriers. By 10:00 a.m., more trucks started showing up, and then they just didn’t seem to stop coming. In fact, nearly seventy polished-up trucks and hundreds of people filled the small streets of Hector, MN by noon!
Truckers from northern Minnesota to as far south as Britt, Iowa took time out of their busy lives to show a trucking brother that he isn’t in this fight alone. Many did not even know Michael personally. As a close friend of Michael and a trucker myself, it was the most amazing thing I have ever been a part of. To see that bond and brotherhood between truckers is incredible, and unmatched by anything. The event ended with the largest convoy we’ve ever participated in and donations amounting $40,000.
As we all reminisced about the weekend and its success, we came to the conclusion that the “18 Wheels Against Cancer” truck show will be an annual benefit put on by Brandon Washburn and his Minnesota Mafia crew. On behalf of Michael Lentsch and his entire family, we would like to thank each and every person who not only took part in this awesome event, but donated money to the cause. Banding together as a family, a trucking family, we can help give Michael a fighting chance at beating the odds!
EDITOR’S NOTE: We would like to thank our friend Jim Stolz for bringing this amazing and inspiring event to our attention; Nicole & Brandon Washburn for helping us get the write-up and pictures; and Matthew Rath for writing the text. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Michael and his entire family as they embark on this epic fight for his young life.