The second stop of our 2015 “Western Swing” landed us in Brooks, Oregon, for the annual show held there at the Pacific NW Truck Museum on the grounds of Antique Powerland, just north of Salem. Presented by the Oregon Trail Chapter of the ATHS and sponsored by Schott Parts and Accessories, as well as the All American Toy Company and Cummins Northwest, this year saw yet another record turnout of trucks – and it just keeps getting bigger every year!
Held on August 21-22, the first day is mostly just a “set up” kind of day, with exception to the light show, which happens that night. Vendors arrived throughout the day and got their booths ready, while the truckers parked their rigs and began cleaning them up. After flying into Portland and renting a car, we arrived at the show at about 2:00 p.m. and staked our claim by the show trucks, where we always like to be. Thanks go to James Davis and a few of his drivers at JDT, as well as Roger from Oldland Distributing and our PNW route driver Derek Williams, for helping us get all of our stuff to the event.
After setting up, we were invited by the folks at Schott Truck Parts and Accessories to participate in a unique and educational experience – a tour of their local family-owned hop processing facility. Hops (for beer) are a major agricultural crop in the area around the show, so we did not have to go far.
For four generations, Sodbuster Farms has been growing and harvesting hops, and we got to see the entire operation – from the trucks bringing them in from the fields, to the machines that strip and separate the hops from the plants, to the drying room (where hops for up to eight million bottles of beer can be dried at one time). Of course, we also got to sample a few beers in their tasting room, too. After the tour, about 15 of us headed over to a local watering hole called “The Hitching Post” for some amazing smoked prime rib with all the fixings. We would like to thank Sodbuster Farms and Denise Schott for allowing us to be a part of this interesting and fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
After eating dinner and playing a little horseshoes, we all headed back to the grounds for the light show. With most of the trucks now parked and cleaned for the next day, it was a pretty awesome spectacle, to see them lit-up in all their shining glory. We walked around for hours, took lots of pictures, and just enjoyed hanging out with our PNW friends, which we do not get to do as often as we would like. At around 10:00 p.m. things began to slowly quiet down and most people, ourselves included, called it a night.
Saturday morning came quickly – and so did a bunch more trucks! When it was all said and done, there were 343 total trucks on the grounds – 211 antiques on one side and 132 working-class trucks on the other. Unfortunately, due to a shift in the wind and about a dozen wildfires burning in eastern Washington and Oregon, most of the entire Willamette Valley, from Portland to Eugene, filled with smoke. By the end of the day, you could barely see 100 yards! This probably kept some people from coming to the show to walk around and check out the trucks, but it certainly did not chase the participants away that were already there. One good thing about the smoke was that it lowered the outside temperature down about 10-degrees cooler than was originally forecast.
With about seven or eight cool combos, parked side-by-side next to our booth, the JDT fleet was lookin’ good, as were the three fine rides from the George Van Dyke fleet that were at the show. Our resident “Poetry in Motion” writer Trevor Hardwick and his wife Alicia brought down their brown and gold Freightliner cabover, which just happens to be featured on our latest 10-4 shirt (and they were pretty excited about that)!
Grant Hays brought his sharp (and hard-working) yellow and white Peterbilt cabover log hauler out to the show, and Joel Olson Trucking brought out a few of their amazing red rigs to the show, as well. Brett Millard debuted his new white and purple 2016 Kenworth W900, hooked to a set of matching (and loaded) hay doubles, which was recently built by Kevin Pickett.
Over on the antique side, Mack was the feature truck this year, so there were plenty of bulldogs mixed in with all of the pristine 359s, A-models, bubble-noses and various makes and models of old cabovers. Ruth Fruehauf brought out her rolling Fruehauf Trailer museum and display for all to enjoy, and the All American Toy Company hosted a kid’s area featuring dirt beds and plenty of toy trucks to “drive” around. They also offered kids the opportunity to complete a toy truck driving course and earn their very own drivers’ license – which they actually typed up for the kids, on-site, on an old typewriter!
This is not a judged truck show, so there are no classes and there is no official competition. There are, however, a few awards handed out. People who wish to vote must purchase a raffle ticket, which not only enters them into a raffle for great prizes, but also allows them to vote one time. There are no limits as to how many tickets one can buy, since the money goes to charity, so it is fair game for anyone who wants to “stuff” the ballot box. This year, about $1,150 was raised for Liberty House, a local child abuse assessment and counseling center. 1st place went to Marc Dalport of Ram Trucking (1997 Freightliner COE), 2nd Place went to Ryan Van Dyke of George Van Dyke Trucking (2005 Peterbilt 379), and 3rd Place went to Bill Stubbs of May Trucking (2016 Freightliner Cascadia – the Oregon State rig).
Aside from a little smoke, it was a great event, like it always is. The working truck side of this show just seems to grow larger every year, partly because so many big rides are coming out of the PNW these days, and partly because it is a nice location with a laid-back attitude, which everyone seems to appreciate these days (the white-glove thing can get a little tiring and expensive). And with a huge amount of amazing antiques still representing the ATHS side, as well, this show will only get better as time goes on.
With stop two of our “Western Swing” complete, it was time to leave Oregon and head to our next western destination: Dallas, Texas! Yee-haw… run, run, run!!