It’s not always the size of the show that matters, but the folks you meet. The Color and Chrome Fantasy Truck Show, held in conjunction with the Keith County Fair on August 8th, 9th and 10th in Ogallala, Nebraska, is evidence of this. Though smaller than in years past, the quality of trucks certainly did not go down, nor did the quality of the people. Many folks attend truck shows to see the rigs, but often, for the drivers, going to the shows is as much about meeting up with old friends and making some new ones, as well. And that’s exactly what you do at the Color and Chrome Fantasy Truck Show.
With sunny skies and hot temperatures, beating the heat was the name of the game. As a laid-back, bring-what-you-brought sort of truck show, putting up a tent to hide from the heat is no problem at this show. And, with a cool-down station that provided free, ice-cold water, the heat was nothing to be afraid of.
Among those of us working against the hot August sun was Ernie and Carol Bates and their classic 1970 narrow-nose Peterbilt. This tried-and-true cattle-hauling rig is always a crowd favorite, and it’s easy to see why. With all of the right touches in all of the right places, the truck looks just right without being overdone. Another old friend that showed up was Kevin Schnug and his clean 379 flat-top Peterbilt. With a recently re-done interior, the truck is looking even better than before. Way Trucking and their classic 362 Peterbilt cabover was there, too, and it did not disappoint. The perennial trouble-makers of Tinker’s show, the Disher brothers and their rigs, were in attendance, as well.
Hi-Plains Leasing of Commerce City, CO was in attendance with three of their trucks, including Counterfeit, their cool two-tone green W900B Kenworth, as well as one of their 4-axle Petes and a clean Western Star. Jimmy Disher brought the wild toys, though, including his 1952 Kenworth race truck and Low Buck$, the chopped-down, low-slung, hot-rod cabover. But, perhaps more popular than this was Jimmy’s recent project – an insane work of sheet-metal centered around a heavily-chopped and modified Peterbilt cab, the “truck” also features a White grille, an extended pickup bed, and a stance more akin to a salt-flat racer than a truck. Powered by an air-cooled Deutz V12 industrial engine with “organ pipe” headers, this rig certainly attracted a crowd – especially when he fired it up!
Another truck of note included Shawn Carrol’s 379 Peterbilt. With a silver and maroon paint job, the truck had a distinctively-older feel to it that was reminiscent of some of the popular show trucks from the 1990s. The truck was a personal favorite for me because of its slightly different take on chrome and custom work.
A crowd favorite among the “new-comers” was John Blenz and his work-in-progress – a 1962 narrow-nose Kenworth. Hailing all the way from Alaska, John’s truck is home-built and has several unique features. With a wound-up 625-horse Big Cam Cummins, over 300-inches of rail and a custom big-bunk sleeper, the yellow KW generated a lot of interesting comments and conversation with everyone at the show.
Friday night was the light show, and as always, none of the rides disappointed. Whether it was hundreds of lights or only a few well-placed LEDs, everyone brought their A-game. Saturday night saw the convoy – cruising out of town, virtually every truck at the show participated in the convoy – and what a convoy it was. Running the back-roads to Brule, we all jumped onto I-80 and kicked the trucks into high-gear. Turning around at the TA and heading back into town, fun was had by most (except for a few wet blankets at the truck stop as we were turning around).
After the convoy it was time for some sleep before the awards and prizes Sunday morning. With temperatures finally cooling off (a little bit), Tinker handed out the Top 20 plaques and then everyone had their pick of great chrome prizes. The show may have shrunk a bit this year, but no one went home empty-handed. With cool donations from places like 4 State Trucks, PDI, Wilkins Oklahoma Truck Supply, Greybill and other companies and chrome shops, a great prize was had by all – from air-cleaner lights to train horns, seats, work lights, fenders and CBs, everyone had something to walk away with. We at 10-4 Magazine also awarded some “10-4 Bucks” ($104 cash) at the show. Though hard to choose favorites, it was Kevin Schnug and Hand Trucking that went home with the cash money tucked inside a magazine, this year.
Show producer Tinker Raasch got the best gift this year, however. Tinker and her husband Larry put a lot of time and effort into putting this show together, and it shows. Running two trucks full-time, Tinker still manages to make contact with all of the sponsors and supporters of the show, while also organizing permits with the county, the fair, and numerous other things that few people know go into putting a show together. Ernie and Carol Bates wanted to show their thanks, for all of us, for the amazing amount of hard work that Tinker puts into organizing this show. Though the venue has changed a few times over the years (for the better, we think), and although some folks may not always see eye-to-eye with Tinker, nonetheless, she has always made this show fun and enjoyable for everyone in attendance.
As a very special thanks, Ernie and Carol Bates had a photo album put together for Tinker showing the trucks and people who have attended over the past several years as the show has changed from the Chase County Fair Truck Show to the Color and Chrome Fantasy Truck Show. And what else would Tinker’s photo album be wrapped in but chrome? It was a fantastic and heart-warming moment of the show for Tinker to receive her album and personalized plaque.
With the show winding down, it was time for one last very special moment for a young man by the name of Darin Neben. At 8 years old, Darin has fought a harder battle than most of us see in our lives. Young Darin currently suffers from cancer, and everyone at the show pitched in to make sure Darin knows we’re all rooting for him. With donations from Hi-Plains Leasing, Inc., Rush Greeley Peterbilt, Walker Tank and many others, everyone at the show hopes it made for a special day for Darin when he received his gifts.
It’s not always the size of your show that matters – in fact, most of the time size is of no concern. It’s about the people, and Tinker has always done well to put the people first at her truck show. It may not have a million square feet of display space and the trucks may not be able to shut down for a week to start cleaning, but there’s fun and great folks to meet at her show. You may see bigger rides at bigger shows, but at Tinker’s show, you’ll have fun. And that’s what it’s about. We hope to see you there next year.
The Top 20, as voted on by the people at the event, were: 1) Ernie Bates of Burlington, CO; 2) Jeremy Reuter of Brighton, CO; 3) Larry Raasch of Champion, NE; 4) Shawn Carroll of Penrose, CO; 5) Kevin Schnug of Cheyenne, WY; 6) Jeremy Bley of Wauneta, NE; 7) Trenton Powell of Yuma, CO; 8) Russ Reichert of Benkelman, NE; 9) Hand Trucking of Ogallala, NE; 10) Robert Peterson of Hastings, NE; 11) Charles Slinde of North Platte, NE; 12) John Blenz of Ward Cove, AK; 13) Gene Andrews of Hudson, CO; 14) Kevin Way of Lamar, NE; 15) Aaron Smith of Goodland, KS; 16) Mason Fanning of Enders, NE; 17) Gary Disher of Commerce City, CO; 18) Stan Schnug of Cheyenne, WY; 19) Mike Fanning of Enders, NE; 20) Tim Powell of Yuma, CO.