Mother Nature has a way of impacting our daily lives, sometimes without warning, and in most cases, a well-planned weekend might be largely based on the local weather report. Such was the case as we traveled to the 5th Annual Busted Knuckle Classic Truck Show in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, held at Wilkins Oklahoma Truck Supply, on September 18-20, 2015.
With a forecast of isolated thunderstorms, some sun and humid conditions throughout the weekend, we were bracing for the worst. In previous years there has been nice weather, but this year Oklahoma has experienced more rain late in the summer, which has caused much of the state to remain wetter and greener longer.
With many trucks arriving early on Friday, the volunteer parking crew was not able to use a large portion of the grass on the north side of the Wilkins’ property due to the soggy and muddy conditions. Because of this, everything got tight in a hurry. But, it didn’t take very long to get the truck show in gear on Friday, as the vendors began setting up their booths and staking their positions under overcast skies.
We were headed north on the I-35 to the show in the early evening and were treated with a concert of heavy thunder and ground-striking lightning, with the clouds showcasing a beautiful light show to the beat of the XM radio for more than an hour in the far distance. The road was dry until we hit the Fountain Road exit, at the truck show location, and then everything changed.
It had rained off-and-on for most of the day, and upwards of an inch of water had already fallen. It was a slip-and-slide ride in the parking lot as everyone began to get lined-up for the convoy through Blackwell and back to the show. The rain didn’t stop anyone from getting hungry, and for the 3rd year in a row, Patrick Lund and his wife of Tyler, Texas, donated high-quality beef hamburgers for all to enjoy on Friday night. Doug, a trucker from Kansas, brought in his “Kansas Korn” trailer and smoked some delicious brisket, pulled pork, corn and more. And, for the chance to quench your thirst, locals Jimmy and Brian, from the Hideaway Bar & RV Resort, brought a trailer out and set-up a beer garden. Many folks hung out at “the garden” late into the night (we had a great time hanging out with Jerry Mies and his family).
Come Saturday morning, it was time to rise and shine and spend the day with fellow friends and truckers, looking to relax and just shoot the breeze. With a truck count just over 200 on the property and over 1,000 in attendance, Cliff Wilkins said, “This is the best show, so far!” He also mentioned that it was a well-behaved crowd, as well. This is a non-judged show, so there is no pressure to get super-clean or stressed-out, and everyone there seemed to enjoy that fact.
Walking the tight and wet show layout, we ran into Shannon Crenshaw of JD Specialized, along with “Trucker Ron” (Ron Pettijohn) and a bunch of happy cattle haulers shooting the bull. A glance over yonder, where it was getting louder with more laughter by the minute, stood the wild bunch, which included Spencer Flatt, Beau Kloeppel, Zach Barger, Zak Cooper, Justin Lang and his “best friend” Dustin Bates. It was also nice to meet other hard-working truckers, like Thomas Zullmallen, who was there with his stellar solid-blue W900. Casual events like this give us a chance to not only meet new people, but also to rekindle some old but long-lasting friendships. The Wilkins family always treats everyone like their own family, and it really impressed all of us in attendance at the event.
Kimber Wilkins said that everyone involved with the show were all related to the trucking industry in some way, and she just couldn’t stop thanking them. “It never hurts to have over 20 volunteers and family members to do whatever needs to be done,” said Kimber.
The vendors were in full swing, and the crowd got to see their latest and greatest. Kent Carpenter of Valley Chrome out of California was in attendance, as he has been since the very first Busted Knuckle show, when they had only a few trucks on the lot. Some of the other vendors included Iowa Customs, Dynaflex, RoadSknz, United Pacific, RoadWorks and more. Scott Rud and his beautiful Pete brought out the Minimizer display, which is a full-size trailer with slide-outs that features highlights of the company and the innovative and durable poly products they have created throughout the years, inside.
This year’s customer appreciation show started to take shape from the first day after last year’s record-setting show ended. The Wilkins ladies, Kimber and Kyla, started making contact calls to suppliers early-on, and it paid off, as they were able to collect about $30,000 worth of vendor-supplied gifts, which were handed out to a lot of happy truckers. Bumpers, fenders, LED lights, and the list goes on and on. The crowd on-hand was in such a good mood that when the beautiful sunset began to kick in, many joined in and started “lighting up the night” right along with it – and what a glow they created! Looking especially good was the bull hauler’s corner, where they were all parked together, with a stunning display of chrome and lights.
After the awards and gifts were given, Brett Wilkins and his crew cleared the area for the band to kick-start the dance floor and other activities (the band was right on, and the boots were kickin’ and clickin’ late into the night). The beer garden survived, needless to say. After a few hugs and a nighty-night, Sunday morning began with a few sprinkles and a Benediction by Curtis Smith, while others packed up and headed either north or south on the I-35.
And with that, the Tonkawa Thunder began to quiet, and the cleanup was done in an orderly fashion. And come Monday morning, the Wilkins Oklahoma Truck Supply store was pretty much back to normal, ready to do business, as if no show had taken place it all – but boy, it had. Mark your calendar for next year and be sure to attend this event. Help take the “Tonkawa Thunder” to yet another level, next year.