As the summer of 2014 came to a hectic close, most people hit the highway in different directions and for all the different reasons one can imagine to celebrate the Labor Day weekend. But for truckers on the west coast, many headed to the 5th Annual Central Valley Commercial Truck Show (CVCTS), held at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds in Clovis, California on August 30th and 31st. This is one of the very few, if any, truck shows held on Labor Day weekend each and every year, and they do it on purpose – for those who want to get off the couch at home and participate in a couple fun days with old and new friends, without all of the hassles, traffic and expenses of taking a full-blown Labor Day weekend vacation.
Sponsored and presented by A & L Truck supply, with stores in Tulare, CA, Fresno, CA and Union Gap, WA (Yakima), the Gonzalez family and their staff of volunteers did a great job of getting everyone parked and settled in. The trucks and vendors arriving first on Saturday would get the best parking and booth locations, so we got an early start. Leaving Southern California in the dark hours of the early morning and hitching a ride with the Stay Loaded Apparel guys (Fernando, Abraham and Edgar), we made good time and arrived in Clovis mid-morning to get ready for the noon kickoff. By the time we got there, Yahpy had already parked several rows of trucks in perfect position. While heading over to the Yosemite Falls cafe for the best breakfast in town, we saw many more shining rigs on their way to the event.
After an amazing breakfast, we went back to the Rodeo Grounds to finish setting up our booths, and the trucks just kept coming in – one after another – with the official count on Sunday topping out at over 100 rigs – a CVCTS record. With temps in the upper 90’s and clear skies, you could really feel the heat – even in the shade. Walking the lot, we saw several good-looking fleet trucks from AG Transport, Gardner, Hettinga, and many more – and most were loaded and ready to go back to work after the show (that Hettinga fleet just gets better every time we see them). Several past 10-4 cover trucks were in attendance, too, including rigs owned by Lil Ray’s Transport, Rollin R Enterprises (NAVA), Central Valley Transport, and Pinheiro & Milanesio Farms. There were also a few past cover truck owners, as well, but with different trucks, including the Maggini crew, Stan Alles, Rob Hilarides and Kris Gaare.
“Lil Ray” Rodriquez, who had just debuted his new ride the week before at the show in Dallas, Texas, continued to stop people in their tracks with his gothic, mural-covered “Wicked” Peterbilt 389. It was also great to meet our friend young Leon Murillo Jr. of Porterville, CA. Featured inside the magazine a few years back with his blacked-out 1999 short-hood Pete 379, Leon was sporting a newer ride in Clovis – a spotless, all-white Peterbilt 389. In addition to our 10-4 booth and the Stay Loaded Apparel display, some other vendors at the show included Sal from Dynaflex, Wally with Valley Chrome Plating, and the folks from Wheel Creations, who specialize in chrome wheels and parts for trucks.
Despite the brutal heat, crowds of people continued to arrive throughout the afternoon on Saturday, and when the sun finally set, the light show began. As we started shooting some night shots of the lit-up trucks, a staff photographer for the CVCTS asked us if we wanted to go up in a scissor-lift, so away we went, towering high above the full parking lot, for the best light shots. As the night drifted into the wee hours of the morning, it was the perfect end to a fun day, spending quality time with fellow drivers, family and friends – and, contrary to some past years, everyone was on their best behavior!
After a late Saturday night, Sunday Morning came early, as everyone returned to the Rodeo Grounds after a short nap to get settled back in before the awards were handed out, which was set to begin at 1:30. During this break in the action, we hatched a plan with Fernando, who printed the CVCTS event t-shirts, to donate some cool Stay Loaded shirts and a shot for one lucky winner to also get some “10-4 bucks” ($104 cash). We could have just chosen a random truck number to win the cash, but we wanted to have a little more fun with it, this time. After secretly taping shirts underneath a dozen of the hundreds of chairs in the air-conditioned building before the awards ceremony began, once it got started everyone was directed to look under the chair they were sitting on. Those with a shirt under their chair got a free shirt, but the lucky winner who got the special “10-4” Stay Loaded t-shirt won the cash, too. When it was announced that anybody could be sitting on the winning chair, everyone got up to look and many began waving their complimentary t-shirts in the air. A member of the Hettinga group took home the cash, and everyone agreed that it was a fun way to get the awards ceremony rolling.
After a large group picture was taken of everyone wearing their Stay Loaded t-shirts, the crowd gave a big “thank you” to the Stay Loaded gang for their generous donations and then some other prizes were handed out. Several items were donated by the vendors and raffled off, and then Liliana from A & L took it up another notch and gave away some nice stuff, including a $500 cash prize, then all of the truck winners, in their respective categories, were announced. The “Best of Show” trophy, a beautifully-crafted award made by Dynaflex Products, was won by Rolando Nava of Rollin R Enterprises in Oxnard, California. In addition to that prize, his bright orange 2005 Kenworth W900L was also named as the coveted “People’s Choice” winner, too. Congratulations to our March 2014 cover trucker for winning a double-header, because there was some tough competition out on that lot.
It was nice to see a lot of happy people with their families enjoying the two-day event, but the real winners are the kids in need of glasses and hearing aids in the Clovis, California area. Charlie Roberts, President of the Clovis Lions Club, was there with a dedicated group of young adults, cooking up a storm in the kitchen and selling cold drinks for the fund-raiser. And as the show came to an official close, the youngsters had the Clovis Rodeo Grounds cleaned up and back to the way it was before the event in less than an hour!
As we started to say our goodbyes, with the trucks rolling out, we had a little extra fun when Charlie asked if we needed any extra ice for our coolers. Well, sure we did, but Edgar took a full bag of ice, and as Lil Ray was about to leave the show, he challenged him to take an “Ice Bag Challenge” – which he accepted – and the look on his face was priceless as that full bag of ice was poured over his head, cooling him off after two very hot days in the sun. And that was only the start, as we emptied coolers on each other’s heads for the last hour before starting the trip back home. We had a lot of fun and was told that the Central Valley Commercial Truck Show will be moving to the Fresno Fairgrounds next year, as this Labor Day celebration gets bigger and more fun. We hope to see you there is 2015! This year’s winners were:
NON-WORKING ANTIQUE: 1st Roger Ghidelli of Maggini Trucking; 2nd Paul Anker of Anker Trucking; 3rd Stan Alles of Stan Alles Transport.
WORKING ANTIQUE: 1st Ray Rodriquez of Lil Ray’s Transport; 2nd Max Mondragon of Mondragon Trucking; 3rd Stan Alles of Stan Alles Transport.
PETERBILT (1990-2000): 1st David Arroyo of Arroyo Transport; 2nd Joseph Arrezola of Gardner Trucking; 3rd Mayito Salinas of Salinas Trucking.
PETERBILT (2001-2006): 1st Antone Lewis of TJL Trucking; 2nd Colton Pounds of Central Valley Transport; 3rd Bubba Teixeira of Maggini & Son.
PETERBILT (2007-2012): 1st Ronnie Garcia of Long Valley Hay; 2nd Leon Murillo of Leon Murillo Trucking; 3rd Hector Fernandez of Fernandez Trucking.
PETERBILT (2013 & NEWER): 1st Henry Bosma of Bosma Trucking; 2nd Timmy Miller of Miller Trucking; 3rd Rick Thompson of RM Parks.
FREIGHTLINER (1990-2000): 1st Ken Sandberg.
FREIGHTLINER (2001-2010): 1st Adrian Gonzales Jr. of Gardner Trucking; 2nd Chris Hergsheimier of Custom Produce Transport.
FREIGHTLINER (2011 & NEWER): 1st Carlos Mendoza of CM Transport; 2nd Rick Zuniga of Gardner Trucking; 3rd Terry Helmor of Cal Ag Products.
KENWORTH (1990-2002): 1st Udo Klein of Klein Transport.
KENWORTH (2003 & NEWER): 1st Manuel Martinez of M & R Transport; 2nd Alfredo Delgado of M & L Transport; 3rd Rafael Delgado of RD Transport.
INTERNATIONAL: 1st RJ Johnson of Gardner Trucking.
SPECIALTY: 1st Seth Martin of Martin Milk; 2nd Louie Gonzales of Stan Alles Transport; 3rd Mike Barcelona of Hilarides Trans.
CABOVER: 1st Anthony Garcia; 2nd Markie Pounds of Central Valley Transport; 3rd Darren Ananian of Darren Ananian Trucking.
PROFESSIONAL SHOW TRUCK: 1st Ray Rodriquez of Lil Ray’s Transport.
COMBO (TRACTOR 2006 & NEWER): 1st Brad Gunderman of Hettinga Trans; 2nd Juan Covarrubias of Tradewinds Transport; 3rd Bobby Maestaz of Hettinga Trans.
COMBO (TRACTOR 2005 & OLDER): 1st Ray Rodriquez of Lil Ray’s Transport; 2nd Jesus Saucedo of Nava; 3rd Cody Frye of Coelho Custom Chopping.
TOW TRUCK (HEAVY DUTY): 1st Jason Bates of Action Towing.
TOW TRUCK (LIGHT DUTY): 1st John of Action Towing.
BEST FLEET: AGT Transportation.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Rolando Nava of Rollin R Enterprises.
BEST OF SHOW: Rolando Nava of Rollin R Enterprises.