The 21st annual 75 Chrome Shop Truck Show & Big Rig Convoy took place Friday, April 26 through Sunday, April 28 this year in Wildwood, FL. This was the second year for the Big Rig Convoy to Leesburg, which coincides with the Leesburg Bikefest. This was my second time at this fun show, and although Mother Nature once again tried to ruin part of it with the chance of precipitation, the rain missed the mark and came on Thursday, leaving sunshine and hot weather for the entire show.
As 75 Chrome Shop did last year, registrants of the show were vying for positions in the 2020 calendar, as well as the “Prime Shine” and “People’s Choice” trophies. Calendar choices had to be difficult as there were so many beautiful trucks in attendance. Part of the proceeds from this year’s event, like the 2018 show, went to Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, FL which was founded to help provide children diagnosed with chronic or life-threatening illnesses an opportunity to experience a safe, fun, medically-sound camp experience.
I arrived in Florida on the Sunday before the show to be prepared for the trucks to start rolling in. Many of the registrants were already in attendance, but relocated to a lot across the street, while the final prep work, including cleaning and washing the parking lot, was done. Rain came in on Wednesday and didn’t stop until Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, the trucks were already being parked and drivers were wiping their trucks down.
It was great to see so many friends with their trucks – people like Kaleb Hammett of Hammett Excavating and his gray and red 2017 Peterbilt 389; Chad and Lisa Berry with their nicely restored gray and purple 1995 Kenworth W900; Dan Look with his yellow 1994 Kenworth W900; Jeremy Williams with his red 2005 Kenworth W900 with black stripes; David and Connie McKinney with their white 2016 Peterbilt 389 with blue stripes; and Aaron Kimball with his white 2009 Kenworth W900 and a matching reefer – just to name a few.
Also in attendance was my friend Evan Steger of Evan’s Detailing and Polishing, along with his crew, who shined-up many of the trucks prior to the show and came out for some good times. The shows are so busy these days there never seems to be enough time to visit with everyone. I know most of you can relate to this and feel the same way. Like most things in life, there never seems to be enough time to do everything.
Friday brought in more registrants and attendees coming in to see what trucks were already there. There was a variety of vendors including RoadWorks, Truck ECM, Diesel Life, Large Car Life, Big Rig Videos and Trux Accessories, who brought out their “Code Blue” 1997 Kenworth W900L show truck. Also, at the show, was the annual presence of the lovely ladies on stilts, along with a big variety of food vendors for every taste bud. For most of the day, everyone was anxiously awaiting one of the highlights of the show now, which is the Big Rig Convoy that evening.
As previously said, the Leesburg Bikefest was going on at the same time as the truck show, which meant an increase in spectators not only coming to the 75 Chrome Shop Truck Show, but also watching the Big Rig Convoy. Drivers were impressed by the vast amount of people watching the convoy, as it went through downtown Leesburg. Kerri Farkus from 75 Chrome said she had received a large amount of phone calls with inquiries on the time/route of the convoy, and many of those people, obviously, had positioned themselves along the route to watch the trucks roll by. By comparison to the 2018 show, with 63 trucks participating in the Big Rig Convoy, the 2019 show brought out 78 trucks – and a lot of spectators!
Saturday was a busy day at the show. With the remaining registrants finally parked, almost 100 trucks had registered for this year’s show, which was an increase from 2018. Attendees came in droves to see what the show had to offer, and Mother Nature was kind to us with a beautiful day. As the sun set, all the trucks lit up for the light show, and that was definitely a sight to see.
Sunday brought the last day of the show and the awards ceremony, which included a heartfelt speech by David Farkus of 75 Chrome. Gary Jones of SPB Trucking and his “Excessive Behavior II” 1999 Peterbilt 379 was awarded the coveted “People’s Choice” trophy, and Bill Rethwisch of Rethwisch Transport LLC got the “Prime Shine” award for his black and green 2019 Peterbilt 389 and 2020 MAC gas tanker. Also announced were the 13 calendar spot winners for the 75 Chrome Shop’s 2020 calendar, which I had the pleasure of helping to shoot. With an approximate calculation, I’d say about 10,000 people attended the show throughout the weekend.
The calendar spots went to: Chad and Lisa Berry (1995 Kenworth W900); Jarod and Sherry Hamel (1979 Kenworth W900A and 2017 Globe 55-ton Detach); Robert Robinson (2014 Kenworth T660); Nate Mason (1987 Peterbilt 359); Bill, Sayra, Owen and Luke Rethwisch (2019 Peterbilt 389 and 2020 MAC gas tanker); David and Connie McKinney (2016 Peterbilt 389); Gary and Dalton Tharp (1984 Peterbilt 352 and 1980 Wilson livestock trailer); Robert Hallahan (2019 Kenworth W900L); Chris VanSchaick (2019 Kenworth W900L and 2018 MAC end dump); Jeremy and Justin Williams (2005 Kenworth W900 and 2013 Benson trailer); Aaron Kimball (2009 Kenworth W900); Garrin Dunn (1992 Freightliner Classic); and Ryan and Cindy Wichtner (1982 Marmon). Make sure to watch 75 Chrome Shop on social media for the release date of their 2020 calendar.
Come Monday, the calendar shoots were finished up and it was bittersweet to see the lot cleared of show trucks and back to normal operations. Even though I was involved in shooting the calendar trucks, the show was wonderful, and I truly enjoyed myself. It is always great to see my truck show friends and meet new ones, as well. Special thanks to the crew at 75 Chrome Shop for hosting another successful event, Chris from Big Rig Videos for providing the light show images, and Cody Pride for providing the images of the “Prime Shine” and “People’s Choice” trophy recipients. As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.