Six years ago, a small group of truckers from southern Idaho got together to have fun and raise some money for a good cause. Each year since, that small group has grown and participants now come from all over, but the event still feels like a local get-together. Hosted and produced by Matt Schilz and his wife Diana, along with their kids and several friends, the 6th annual Southern Idaho Truck Show was held June 28-29 at the Valley Rec District in Hazelton, Idaho (about 10 miles east of Twin Falls). Wanting to stretch our legs and meet some new friends, we jumped in the car and headed to this event for the first time ever, and really had a great time.
Arriving in Twin Falls on Thursday evening, a day before the show started, we took a little time on Friday morning to enjoy the sights before heading over to the show. And, surprisingly, Twin Falls had some sights to see! Although the “Twin Falls” which the city is named after are now only one (the other was diverted through a power station) and the one remaining fall is not that impressive, Shoshone Falls, a few miles downriver, is awesome. Known as the “Niagara of the West” for obvious reasons, Shoshone Falls on the Snake River drops 212 feet (that’s 45 feet more than Niagara Falls) and flows over a rim nearly 1,000 feet wide. Another cool sight was watching BASE jumpers with parachutes leap off the Perrine Bridge, which is a four-lane truss arch span that carries U.S. Highway 93 over the Snake River Canyon. With a length of 1,500 feet and running almost 500 feet above the river below, this is the 8th highest bridge in the U.S.
Heading over to the show grounds on Friday afternoon, by the time we got there, several trucks were already parked, and participants were either cleaning or just hanging out. As the evening approached, event coordinator Matt Schilz, who had been smoking eight prime rib roasts in his homemade smoker all day, rang the dinner bell. The $20 dinner, which also featured baked potatoes, potato salad, macaroni salad, sliced watermelon, rolls and cake for dessert, was an additional fund-raiser for the show. And for a guy like me, who likes to smoke meat, as well, it was a highlight of the event! Shortly after the dinner ended, the wind really kicked up, cutting the night short for some of us who did not have a truck at the show.
Saturday morning greeted us with warm temperatures in the upper 80s and clear skies, and besides a bit of humidity, the weather was absolutely perfect. The venue was a smooth, flat and soft grassy field, which made for easy parking, less dust, comfortable walking and great photos. With just over 50 trucks and a handful of vendors, the atmosphere was slow and relaxed all day – a nice change from the typical chaos at many events.
Throughout the day, a silent auction took place, featuring all donated items, along with a coloring contest for the kids, with brand new bicycles going to several of the winners. Lunch was cooked and served by Boy Scout Troop 139 from Jerome, ID as a fund-raiser for their pack. Super huge thanks go to Beckstead Trucking for supplying the burgers and dogs. The troop raised $890 to go towards their expenses this year.
Each year, the event raises money for a specific cause or family – this year’s show was held as a benefit for the Beckstead family that has a son named Cardon with a rare disease. All the money left, after paying the show’s expenses, went to this nice family – a whopping $10,088.32! That is a huge amount to be raised in less than 24 hours!! At the beginning of the brief awards ceremony, this family came up and talked about Cardon’s condition and the challenges it creates. This money will surely come in handy when paying for his extensive medical bills and necessary supplies. Having fun at a truck show is one thing but raising money for a local family with exceptional needs and then meeting and seeing them in person, took this event to a whole different level of special.
When it was time to hand out the plaques, there were only a few – four to be exact – so everyone was on the edge of their seat. The first award is the Norwegian’s Choice, which went to our July cover trucker Jake Bast and his black and blue Peterbilt 359. This award is chosen by Jan (pronounced yawn) Asle Sele, a truck driver from Norway, who has attended the show several times. This year, he couldn’t make it to the event, so Matt live-streamed a video showing Jan all the trucks, and he made his choice from that. The next award given out was the Competitor’s Choice, which went to J.K. Hoss Inc. and their metallic red Peterbilt 389 with cream stripes hooked to a multi-axle cattle trailer.
The final awards were the People’s Choice, 1st and 2nd Place. The 1st Place winner not only gets bragging rights for a year, but their rig will also be featured on the plaques and shirts next year, so that is a pretty good one to win. 2nd Place went to Dale Kelly of Pocatello, ID and his Heritage Edition Peterbilt 567 painted Legendary Black Cherry, while 1st Place went to a very surprised and excited Scott Barnhart of Scottie B Trucking based in Laurel, MT. Scott’s silver and purple KW and matching reefer trailer were standing tall, and this young man runs his combination in some of the harshest weather Montana and Idaho can throw at it every day.
In addition to the winners, there were lots of cool trucks to mention – like Jay Transport’s lineup, which had six or seven top-notch Peterbilts, in various color combinations, with nice stand-up sleepers, several of Gary Amoth’s bright red rigs, including his two stellar A-Model Kenworths, and a bunch of nice green equipment from United Hauling (along with their yellow Pete 359 show truck and a pink and white Peterbilt done up for cancer awareness). Other standouts included a black and blue Ford LTL9000, a two-tone brown Pete COE owned by Standlee Hay Trucking, a rare white and baby blue Diamond Reo cabover, and a slick old-school black and red heavy-haul 379 Peterbilt brought out by McAllister Enterprises. But my favorite was a weathered and faded old dark blue Peterbilt cabover cattle truck and trailer owned by DeVries Cattle out of Bliss, ID. This older rig was certainly showing her years, but something about the setup just got me excited!
Once the awards were presented, it was time for the trucks to start lining up for the evening festivities. Held in conjunction with the truck show, the city of Hazelton and its surrounding communities host an annual 4th of July celebration adjacent to the truck show on Saturday night which include food vendors, a live band, a parade through downtown Hazelton and a firework show. The parade featured floats from local businesses, first responders and their vehicles, hot rods, local dignitaries, farm equipment (some of those things are huge) and, of course, the trucks from the truck show. Lasting over an hour, the parade participants either threw candy to the spectators in the street or blasted them with water guns! It was fun.
After the parade, the trucks made their way back to the show venue and then turned on their lights for an impromptu light show as we all waited for the grand finale – the fireworks. Since it gets dark really late in this part of the country in the summer, the firework display did not begin until 10:15 PM. Lasting for almost 15 minutes, it was a sight to see all those fireworks exploding above the grassy lot of lit-up trucks! If that doesn’t make you feel patriotic, then nothing will! It was a great way to end the night – and the show.
Next year, this event will probably be changing venues, as the city of Hazelton is planning to build a baseball diamond on the current site. But, rest assured, show producer Matt Schilz said they will find another nice place with plenty of grass, because nobody likes a truck show held in a dirt lot.
This event is far more than just a truck show – it is a family reunion where lifelong friendships have been forged and lots of money has been raised for those less fortunate than ourselves. As Matt put it, “This is why we do what we do.” We at 10-4 Magazine were proud to be a small part of this event and want to thank Matt and his crew for making us feel so welcome in Idaho.