The 8th Annual Ohio Vintage Truck Jamboree was held on June 15-16, 2019 at the Ashland County Fairgrounds in Ashland, Ohio. This is always an amazing event, but due to some darn rain coming in and the fact that a few other shows were happening nearby at the same time (Father’s Day weekend), it was smaller than usual this year – but by no means small! Typically, this show brings in over 300 historical trucks, but this year it dropped to 217, which is still a respectable amount, considering.
Gates opened Friday evening and people started getting their RVs and campers set for the weekend. Saturday morning people and rigs began pouring in the gates and it was looking to be a good turnout. With rain in the forecast, which is not typically the case, I was bummed that it wouldn’t be in the mid-80s and sunny like usual. One of the things I like most about this show, besides the amazing old iron, is the nice weather, the sunshine and the people involved. And with over 150 exhibitors, which is 40 more than the previous year, things were still looking good.
Around two o’clock on Saturday, the “Slow Race” started. The object of this event is to see who or what vehicle can go the slowest! You’re not allowed to use your brakes or ride the clutch, and you must keep it in gear – the lowest gear you can – and creep along! It comes as no surprise that the reigning champion, Earl Feller and his little green and black 1947 IH K-11 tractor, was able to beat the 2nd place finisher, Ken Spero and his monstrous white 1978 Oshkosh M-911 HET equipped with a 475-hp 8V92 and an Allison automatic, which has been converted to a heavy duty wrecker.
Steve Crook, part of Facebook’s Kenworth K100 club, debuted his 1982 KW K100 at this event. Steve spent over a year and a half meticulously restoring the cabover to show quality condition. After seeing it on FB and watching the updates he posted, it was worth the wait! After stripping the cab completely down to bare metal and then repainting it, he threw a classic cream and brown 70s-style stripe scheme on it. He also re-did the interior and updated the dash. Hopefully, we will see much more of this excellent truck in the future.
Kevin Jones, another local guy who never disappoints, always brings out something interesting and different. This year, he brought a white and red 1969 Peterbilt 352 that he bought and picked up from Montana, that he is currently working, pulling a flatbed for Ace Doran. In the past, he showed up with a Peterbilt 352 H that was featured in the December 1976 issue of Overdrive Magazine (that rig was originally bought at Consolidated Peterbilt of Massachusetts), an original White Freightliner and the very first Greyhound van liner, which has since been sold to someone now restoring it. Two years ago, he brought a Kenworth Bullnose cabover. I always look forward to seeing what Kevin brings.
Jeff Miller brought a two-tone green 1958 Peterbilt 351 that I didn’t see until Steve Crook parked next to it. Originally an equipment hauler from California, this truck spent much it’s life building roads as a dump truck and a water truck, before being converted back to a road tractor. The restoration began in 2012, and it now spends its time in Ohio. The truck has a 335 Cummins with a 5×4 transmission, along with a Bentz sleeper, made to look like an old Mercury unit. Congratulations to Jeff for a job well done – this rig is perfect!
Another truck that got my attention was Eugene Bradmon’s red and white 1979 Kenworth W900A with a 36” bunk. It has a 400 Cummins Big Cam with a 13-speed transmission and rides on a 204” wheelbase. He has only done a little painting, cleaning and fixing of a few minor things since owning it, but this rig was looking sharp as-is.
Bubba Davis brought in a few trucks to the show, but the one that caught my eye was a bright red 1966 F model Mack cabover that was in the barn for over 30 years. Brand new in 1966 it cost $17,364.48! The Mack has a Kysor roof-mounted air conditioner, and if you’ve ever been in one of these cabovers, they are known for the roof vent – and the one in this truck has never been opened. This rig, which hauled steel up until the 1980s, has a Mack 711 engine with the Duplex transmissions and is a single axle with a tag. Creature comforts include an 8-track player, AM radio and a 23 channel CB. The COE has no power steering, but it does still have its original carbon fire extinguisher. Bubba simply charged the batteries, fired it up and brought it to the show.
Congratulations to Rodney Dean for winning the model truck building contest. His Ertl International Transtar Eagle cabover with two-tone blue paint and a spread-axle Ertl Great Dane reefer trailer was looking top-notch, and really impressed the judges.
Thankfully, the rain held off for most of the day on Saturday, but a lot of people left early due to the impending forecast. That put a little damper on the Dinner Convoy and light show, as well. The Dinner Convoy, which had 35 trucks and 75 individuals, is a little road trip with the vintage trucks, that takes them through Ashland County from the fair grounds to Der Dutchman in Bellville, Ohio, an Amish-style restaurant famous for its good food and generous portions.
With a packed schedule of events for both days, most of the events that were scheduled on Sunday had to be canceled due to the weather, including the Jake-off. I was looking forward to that event, after getting a preview, when a few of the would-be competitors rolled in – you could hear them coming from a couple blocks away, shifting gears and hitting their Jakes when stopping! On a brighter note, a van full of food and over $5,000 was collected and donated to the Ashland Food Bank and Shriners Transportation Fund.
Even with this year’s challenges, I am still looking forward to next year’s show. There is always a good turnout of trucks and equipment and lots of great folks. Plus, you never know what people are going to bring, and that is always exciting. Special thanks to Donald Burge who helped distribute 10-4 Magazines for me at the show and for helping me with some of the details that I missed on Sunday. Hopefully, there will be none of that darn rain next year!