This is one of Wisconsin’s premier events – Waupun’s Annual Truck-N-Show! Situated in the northeast at the intersection of three major highways, this picturesque suburban city has hosted this trucking event since 1990 and features two parades, live music, food and dozens of truck vendors. In its 29th year, this family-centric show, held on August 10-11, is run by a nonprofit organization comprised of local volunteers and raises money for Special Olympics and the Make-a-Wish Foundation through many auctions held during the weekend. As an employee of Oshkosh-based Big Rig Chrome Shop, this event also provided an excellent opportunity for me to observe trucks equipped with products that came from our store.
A parade marshal is designated each year to lead events as an opportunity to showcase a company’s or driver’s truck. This year, that honor went to Jeff Bolstad from Menomonie, WI and his 2019 Pete 579, which features a slick flame design across each front fender. Jeff drives for Long Haul Trucking out of Albertville, MN. Like previous years, hundreds of working-class trucks drove onto the festival grounds the second week in August in hopes of earning an award in one of 150 judged classes. As my wife Jesaca and I made the trip to Waupun on Friday night, we figured that there would be a lot of beautifully-detailed trucks and trailers on display – and we were right!
Another unique feature of this show is the ability to witness two parades in two days. As Friday night approaches, the city of Waupun turns off all their street lights, so the trucks can be seen better. The participants of this “Lights of the Convoy” certainly stunned the spectators with dual-colored lights, stunningly-bright headlights, under-glow kits and dozens of innovative LED patterns all over the truck. With 200 trucks joining this parade, it may go long into the night, but their horns will certainly keep you awake.
Saturday is the main day, and the grounds and community center is packed with a variety of truck vendors such as PTI, Wisconsin Kenworth, Diesel Freak, Homer’s Towing and JX Peterbilt. First, I went to the Big Rig Chrome Shop booth, operated by Nick and Logan, to get the yearly Waupun shirt, then I headed off to be amazed by the trucks. And amazed I was! I came upon an outstanding 2013 Kenworth W900L, driven by Nick Kaufman, with a classic paint design integrated with several mesmerizing chrome accessories. Jake Robak’s “End of Watch” police tribute car hauler was polished to the nines, as well, and it is always a crowd favorite. A local milk and flatbed company, Retzlaff Trucking, entered nine trucks of their large fleet that featured custom body work and loads of lights.
In the afternoon, 260+ rigs thundered down the main street in the “Rides of Pride” parade. The spectators were treated to a variety of trucks, including dump trucks, cabovers, Western Stars, Macks and much more. The party continued well into the night, with the award ceremony, and then plenty of live music shortly thereafter.
This excellent show is not only a great salute to the trucking industry, but it also provides a means to raise donations for charitable organizations and residents in need. If you are in Wisconsin in August, make sure to attend this event, and also plan to visit nearby Big Rig Chrome Shop to see where these trucks get many of their cool custom parts and accessories.