With two destructive hurricanes in it’s past, Biloxi, MS has proved its resilience and still remains an attractive location to visit, with beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico. Not only known for the views and the rich history, 2018 marks the 4th year the Gulf Coast Big Rig Show has called Biloxi home for their event and “Chrome On The Coast” competition, held this year on July 12-13 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.
The Gulf Coast Big Rig Show has become an annual event to showcase some of the finest trucks that run I-10 while promoting the trucking industry and, best of all, providing financial support to the Wounded Warriors Project. Unlike most shows, this event is held indoors for drivers and attendees alike to enjoy a nice atmosphere and air conditioning, while viewing some amazing trucks, and seeing what the vendors have to offer. Jim and Patti McCleney started out with a vision for a truck show, and in 2015 they brought that show to reality. Four years later, it is still growing and moving in the right direction.
I arrived in Biloxi, MS on Tuesday, July 10, to give me some time to get acquainted with the area prior to the show. I hit spots of rain along the way, and what little rain remained when I arrived in Biloxi, seemed to have evaporated. The people in town were very welcoming, and the atmosphere makes it a place you are glad to have taken the time to visit. Driving into Biloxi on I-10 there were plenty of large cars rolling on the interstate. I had great anticipation for the upcoming show, and to see what kind of trucks would be in attendance. Wednesday, July 11, brought on more exploring and getting to see where the coliseum was located, with an amazing view of the gulf from Highway 90.
Thursday, July 12, trucks started rolling in and getting parked inside the coliseum. The weather remained hot and humid, so there was much appreciation that the show was held indoors. I managed to catch a couple rigs as they were heading into town for the show, including Tony “Clown” Cheramie and his white heavy-haul 2007 Peterbilt 379 with blue stripes, along with Byron Boudreaux and his classically-styled maroon 2004 Peterbilt 379. Trucks were being parked inside in an orderly fashion, with good organization from the folks running the show.
Friday, July 13, was the first official day of the show. With a total of 31 trucks registered, some of them included rigs owned by MKS Transport, Shane Boullion, Mike Grice with R.R. Cassidy, Ashley Farms, David and Tyler Huval and Steelman Transportation. Kenworth brought out one of their limited-edition trucks featured in Moving On. As the day went on, there was a raffle that was announced, along with a moment when Jim McCleney took the stage to pay respect to each branch of the United States Military. Some of the show sponsors included Radio Nemo, Total Transportation of Mississippi, Thomas Anthony Details & Accessories, Madison Intermodal, Heavy Haul Mafia, TruckWorx and Empire Truck Sales.
Twice that day, on Friday, the lights went off and the truck lights came on, illuminating the entire area inside of the convention center, which had a polished and shiny floor, creating some awesome reflections. Chris Fiffie of Big Rig Videos was on-hand doing live videos of the show and of individual trucks with help from Buck Landry of Heavy Haul Mafia and George Parker of the George and Wendy Show. The early evening brought out an intimate performance by country singer/songwriter Tony Justice, as he played through a list of fan favorites, captivating the entire crowd.
Saturday, July 14, I caught up with Nigel Davis out of Texas with his baby blue Kenworth W900 and Keegan Sanchez out of Louisiana with his light blue Peterbilt 379 daycab, as they rolled onto the coliseum grounds. They did not register for the show but came to participate in the much-anticipated truck convoy happening later that day. The raffles continued throughout the day, and local band Radio MoJo played plenty of familiar tunes to keep it lively inside the building. The day was capped-off with the awards ceremony, where Ashley Farms’ purple and white Peterbilt 379 (a past cover truck from February 2014) took home a bunch of 1st Place trophies, while Rite Development and their red Peterbilt 379 earned a few nice awards, too, including the coveted People’s Choice.
As the sun started to go down, 35 trucks participated in the truck convoy, led by the Biloxi Police Department at first, and then handed-off to the Gulfport P.D. at the jurisdiction line on Highway 90. The trucks drove five miles to Jones Park in Gulfport by the marina. With no rain and a beautiful sunset, which cast some beautiful hues as the trucks made their way back to the grounds, this event marked the conclusion of the 2018 Gulf Coast Big Rig Show.
All in all, the Gulf Coast Big Rig Show was a great experience, and a show with plenty of potential in the years to come, to prove that it has the longevity to withstand the test of time. Maintaining a focus on the working trucks and providing more funds to the Wounded Warriors Project, I am already looking forward to the 2019 show! Mark your calendar for next year’s event, which has changed to the third weekend of the month (July 19-20, 2019). As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe. And this year’s winners were:
ANTIQUES: 1st LMJ Transport; 2nd The Chrome Shack; 3rd Bart Boudreaux.
FLEET-OWNED TRUCKS: 1st Ashley Farms; 2nd Superior Carriers; 3rd R.R. Cassidy, Inc.
WORKING TRUCKS: 1st Rite Development; 2nd Steelman Transportation; 3rd Wedgeworth Trkg.
BEST CHROME: Steelman Transportation.
BEST LIGHTS: Ashley Farms.
BEST INTERIOR: Ashley Farms.
BEST EXTERIOR: Ashley Farms.
BEST DUMP TRUCK: Chris Foret Trucking.
BEST CUSTOM TRUCK: Ashley Farms.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Rite Development.