The Big Iron Classic in Kasson, MN has always been a highly talked about show in my area, so it was decided that I would attend this year’s 17th anniversary show to see what it was all about. Annually held the weekend after Labor Day, this show was my last event to attend for 2016, but it was by far my favorite to date. The show was a 2-day event starting Friday, September 9, 2016. Held as a charity event, toys are collected for deserving children. As always, admission to the show is free, but donations are appreciated. The Big Iron Classic is the largest “Working Class” truck show in the Midwest and one of the biggest contributors of toys to several local charities.
I wasn’t able to get to the show Friday, but I left after work that day and made the 4-hour trek westbound to get there that evening. I was informed by fellow truck photographer and friend Philip Recker (“Hoperism Restored” on Facebook) that the rain had caused the grounds to become a muddy mess. As I made my way west, the sun disappeared way before the typical time of sunset, as I caught up to the rain. It rained most of the day in Kasson, and most of my trip to get there. I checked into my hotel around 10:30 p.m. and made a quick trip to Walmart to see if they had any rubber boots. $25 later, boots in hand, I was prepared for whatever condition the grounds were in.
After minimal sleep the night before, I set out Saturday morning to get to the grounds early, around 5:30 a.m., to get some sunrise photos – too bad there was no sunrise. Even though it was dreary and overcast, I still got some awesome pictures. It seemed to be never-ending rows of trucks which kept me smiling. Thank God for the boots, because many of the shots I wanted entailed trudging through the mud. Thankfully, at around 8:30 a.m., the sky broke and the sun started shining through. It turned out to be a beautiful day!
I met up with friends who were showing and in attendance and enjoyed some great conversation. The parade started promptly at 3:00 p.m., with 75-80 trucks running the route. The parade was followed by the truck pulls at 6:00 p.m., at the track on the grounds. 64 trucks were entered in the pulling competition, split up in five different classes, with a trophy awarded in each class. Brandon Tapp with his 1976 white Kenworth took 1st place in the Antique Class; Eric Gostomczik and his 1985 red “Clifford” Peterbilt took 1st place in the Road Class; Luke Cornelius took 1st place in the Modified Road Class with his 1967 green and red Peterbilt; Michell Scott and his 1992 red Freightliner took 1st place in the Modified Electronics Class; and show favorite Pat Eilen, with his 2005 Peterbilt, took 1st place in the Open Class. Saturday night concluded with live entertainment from the “Badlands House Band,” who played late into the night.
When it was all said and done, 545 trucks were in attendance at this year’s event. That number was down from the previous year, which saw a whopping 705 trucks pass through the gates, but the trucks in attendance and the show itself did not disappoint. Even though the rain came at the start of the show, it ended wonderfully. There were trucks in attendance that were old, new and everything in between, for everyone to enjoy. And with no judging, it was completely relaxed and drama-free. It was nice to see such a wide variety of beautiful rigs as I made my way through the grounds. It was also nice to see that the mud didn’t deter drivers from bringing their rides to the show.
I left Minnesota Sunday morning, happy to have attended the show, grateful to have captured so many wonderful pics, and excited to attend next year’s event. Jim and Brenda Finn and their staff of volunteers did a fantastic job of running the show. Hopefully, this “Mud, Wet and Gears” event collected enough toys to make hundreds of kids happy – I know the big kids in attendance were very happy, with myself being one of them! As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.