July 31st through August 2nd marked the sixth annual Color and Chrome Fantasy Truck Show held in Ogallala, Nebraska. And although it may not be the biggest show on the calendar each year, it definitely is one of the hidden gems. A good time can be had by all at any time during this show, and we are always glad to be there and be a part of all the excitement and fun.
Held in conjunction with the Keith County Fair in Ogallala, Nebraska, the show has grown into a great local event for the entire high plains region around Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming and, of course, Nebraska. Lacking the pretensions of some of the bigger shows on the calendar, there are no classes and no “official” judging. Opting for a “Top 20” system rather than the traditional 1st, 2nd and 3rd, the show is entirely based on an anonymous, public vote. There are no score sheets and there’s no white gloves. It’s a show where the little guy has as much a chance as the high-dollar shop build, and that’s part of what makes it a great show. It’s not about how deep your pockets are – it’s about pride in your ride and having a good time (and going home with some cool free stuff, too).
An all-bobtail show (there is an off-site drop lot for those who arrive with trailers), the first day of the event was the last day of July, and it was sunny and hot, but perfect weather for showing off your shine. Free water and sodas were available to help fight the heat, especially while polishing in the sun. Playing strongly on the no-pretension aspect, virtually every truck on the lot showed up under its own power – and with the bugs on the grill to prove it. And whether you needed to do a full wash job or just some minor touch-ups and wipe downs, the atmosphere was friendly and cooperative, with fellow drivers even helping others to clean their trucks.
By day two, the show was getting busy as attendance picked up. Along with some familiar faces, there were plenty of new competitors, as well (as well as some new competitors that were familiar faces). Clyde Green was in attendance with his recently rebuilt long hood W900A KW, along with Ernie Bates and his always-spot-on narrow-nose Peterbilt. Shawn Carroll, as well as Jeremy Reuter, both returned with some new features to their already clean rides, too. Other trucks included Jimmy Disher’s full stable of race trucks, along with “Freddy” (AKA the fastest shifter in the West). Tinker and Larry Raasch’s blue 379, no doubt, was on the lot (they are the creators and producers of this event), as well as some very cool older iron, including a Diamond Reo Raider wrecker, a cherry little-window 359, and a barn-fresh narrow-nose Kenworth.
With the mid-day heat hitting hard, many were looking for something cold to drink and some shade, which was in plentiful supply at the Keith County Fair. After looking the rigs over, spectators and competitors could walk the fair, partake in a few carnival rides, enjoy some fair food, and best of all, find some shade.
Meanwhile, back at the show, both Friday and Saturday afternoon, Jimmy Disher and his crew did wild burnouts in their racing trucks to entertain the crowds. And though the “old man” himself, Jimmy Disher, got his Low Buck$ K100 Kenworth to lay down some rubber, spectators were more impressed with his grand-daughter Charnie who, at the ripe old age of 15, spun off some amazing burnouts in a narrow-nose Kenworth. After that, “fast shifter” Freddy and his old two-stroke Detroit-powered 359, ran through the gears until he hit overdrive, going nowhere fast, in a huge cloud of rubber smoke! Needless to say, it was an impressive display.
Following the Saturday afternoon burnouts it was time for dinner, as all of the competitors were treated to a great barbecued meal, thanks to Elite Diesel. With the sun setting on day two, it was time for the convoy and light show – and what a convoy it was! Bobtailing out, every truck was lit-up from front to back, cruising out on the backroads around Ogallala and then back down I-80 into Ogallala, until all the rigs were parked back on the fairgrounds and lit-up for the night. Whether it was full-bore top-to-bottom lighting or a bare minimum, each truck had its own look and style at the memorable light show.
And with the votes cast and tallied, Sunday morning brought the awards. Making sure all go home happy, each truck in the Top 20 received a Rockwood plaque, commemorating the show, along with a goodie bag and their choice of prize from the prizes provided by the show’s sponsors. And with the prizes ranging from seats to steer tires, cab lights to GPS systems and more, there were some great things to choose from. But, even if you don’t get in the Top 20, once they finish calling the Top 20, competitors’ numbers are randomly-drawn and then they get to pick something from the prize table, too. No one goes home empty-handed from the Ogallala show.
And with that, it was time to head home in the hot, humid Nebraska heat. We often like to evaluate a show based on the numbers – how many trucks, how many sponsors, how many classes, how many trophies, how many people, etc. – but, with some shows, that just doesn’t work. It doesn’t have to be the biggest, the oldest or the wildest show to make your calendar, it just needs to be fun. And that is exactly what the Color and Chrome Fantasy Truck Show is.
The “Vendor’s Choice” award went to Clyde Green, while the “Top 20” trucks (competitors) for 2015 were: 1) Clyde Green; 2) Ernie Bates; 3) Jeff & Raelyn Daly; 4) Justin Mason; 5) Toby & Nicole Johnson; 6) Larry Raasch; 7) Kevin Schnug; 8) Kelly Beard; 9) Jack Collins; 10) Charles Slinde; 11) Corwin Koehn; 12) Shawn Carroll; 13) Kevin Way; 14) Shawn Maloney; 15) Aaron Smith; 16) Robert Peterson; 17) John Dison; 18) Gary Disher; 19) Mike Fanning; and 20) Troy Miller.