When people think of truck shows, they like to think of big events like Louisville, Dallas, Joplin, and some of the other major headliners. While they all have their perks and good times, some of the best shows are often overlooked and lesser-known. While rummaging through some show calendars this spring, I ran across the Ohio Vintage Truck Jamboree – a show I had never heard of before – that was being held not too far from me. And boy, was I glad I found it.
Held at the County Fairgrounds in the cozy 21,000-person town of Ashland, Ohio, the Ohio Vintage Truck Jamboree was celebrating their 5th annual show. Running the weekend of June 18-19, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, in regards to the weather – clear skies and 89 degrees made it a great weekend to take the family out to see some historical old iron. The only downside to the timing was the 17-year locust swarm (actually, they were cicadas), which was predicted to emerge around this time – and it did. And these not-so-little insects were loud… they could drown out the sound of any straight-pipe truck there!
If you are like myself and can’t get enough of vintage rides and old trucking memorabilia, this show was like a dream. Over 250 vintage trucks and vehicles had shown up by 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, and they just kept pouring in. While there was an abundance of mainstream vintage rides such as Peterbilt 359s, Kenworth K100s and B-Model Macks, the amount of rare trucks was just as good. One of the rare rides that really stood out for me was a 1963 S-Model Kenworth daycab. Owned by Bubba’s Crap & Scrap in Mansfield, Ohio, this is one out of two S-Models built in America known to still exist. The KW S-Model is mostly known due to their great popularity in Australia.
When you wanted a little break from getting sunburned or attacked by the bugs, there were three buildings to tour that were jam-packed with trucking history. Collectors brought their collections of any memorabilia they had and put it on display for spectators to ogle and drool over. Models, books from dealerships on paint schemes, signs, truck parts, it was all there. One gentleman had a collection of every record of trucking music you could imagine, still in their original cases. Red Sovine, Smokey and the Bandit, C.W. McCall, Red Simpson, Dave Dudley, and the list went on and on. One of the buildings had a parts swap, and another had trucks from the 1900s through 1940s on display.
Over the two days, the show had many cool events for the drivers to participate in. On Saturday afternoon they held a drop and hook competition to see what driver had the quickest time backing under a trailer, hooking and unhooking, and then getting back to the starting point. Later in the day, many drivers participated in a somewhat humorous slow race, which was loved by the spectators. In the evening on Saturday, drivers convoyed 25 miles south to a country-style restaurant on scenic Ohio back-roads. After everyone filled their stomach, they convoyed back to the show grounds and ended the night with a light show. Sunday afternoon, once again, brought great weather and lots of fun. The show came to an end after a noisy but very entertaining Jake brake contest.
Special thanks to the Ohio chapters of the American Truck Historical Society and Mr. Bill Peters for putting on a wonderful event, and for helping me with this report, as well. The next time you’re looking for a truck show to attend, look into something new – you just might be pleasantly surprised at what you find, like I was. See you next year!