On Friday, September 13, 2019, a group of truckers gathered together in Joplin, MO to celebrate the life of 10-4 Magazine’s co-founder, Erik Sieben, who passed away on August 9. Erik was larger than life and never failed to make those around him feel special. In his honor, Bryan Martin of 4 State Trucks hosted this special event, while Truett Novosad of Equipment Express handled the planning and coordinating, with lots of help from Crystal Murphy. Memorials for friends and loved ones are meant to celebrate their lives and remember the good times, but no one can be prepared for the emotions they feel in the presence of others sharing that same grief – it was a fun day, overall, but there were some somber moments, too.
Arriving in Joplin Thursday afternoon, there were already a few trucks in the parking lot getting cleaned up. With some rain in the forecast, about 15 of us headed to dinner at Red, Hot & Blue – a Chrome Shop Mafia favorite with all the things a trucker would ever want – beer, ribs, brisket, sausage, steaks and all the fixins! At this dinner, there were a lot of stories and experiences about Erik (Big E) shared. It was obvious that Erik had left a very big impression on many of these people’s lives. After a great meal, we headed toward the door to leave but then realized we were in the midst of a huge thunderstorm. After waiting a few minutes for it to subside, we gave up waiting and just made a mad dash to the truck – but we still got soaked!
The next morning, before heading over to the show, we stopped at a Waffle House next to our hotel and loaded up on more good grub. Once we got to 4 State Trucks, we could see that the parking lot in front of the store had filled up with around 20 or so of the nicest trucks around. Along with the trucks, of course, were some of the nicest folks in the business. Shutting down for the day, they all came together to show support and love for their buddy, Big E, who brought them all together. After some morning showers, the sun came out and everyone wiped down their trucks one more time, and then spent the rest of the day relaxing in foldout chairs, in a circle between the trucks, talking and telling stories about Erik.
Focusing on inviting folks that were near and dear to 10-4 Magazine and Erik, there were many familiar folks in attendance. Some past cover truckers at this event included Tim Cody Jr., Eilen and Sons, Kevin Pascavis of Rollin Transport, Truett Novosad, Randy Supak, “Way-To-Go-Mike” Briseno of Lindamood Demolition, Buck Landry and Kaleb and Gaylon Hammett. Some other friends at the show were Tom Davis, Evan Steger, Gayland Johnston, Terry and Kasey Aslinger, David McKinney, Everett Ford, Troy Huddleston, Chris Fiffie and so many more.
Around 6:00 p.m., everyone made their way across the road to a big tent 4 State had set up for a genuine Cajun shrimp boil, which included shrimp (of course), onions, corn, sausage, potatoes and plenty of heat! In addition to the food, a memorial table in honor of Erik was set up with photos of him, printed on aluminum plates by Carl Carstens of Rockwood, along with a book for those in attendance to sign. After grace was said, the food, which was spread across the tables in true southern style, was served. When dinner concluded, several people took the mic and spoke from the heart about Erik.
Bryan Martin kicked off the testimonial portion of the evening. He shared several different stories about Erik, including a funny one about a 10-4 golf cart. Truett Novosad, Troy Huddleston, Christopher Fiffie, John Testa and Eric Hill all shared their stories of Erik, as well. Each person who spoke got emotional, in varying degrees, as they shared their stories. Everyone in the audience was listening intently, and some in the crowd got emotional, too. Everyone hung on each word and each story shared about Erik, and after each person spoke, there was a resounding round of applause. One story that stuck out were two people in attendance that once got “10-4 Bucks” ($104 cash) from Erik, and these guys, some five and nine years later, still have those same “bucks” in their wallet. It is safe to say that the common theme was how Erik drove everybody crazy, but they still loved him anyway!
To conclude, it was a day filled with good times, happiness and sadness when talking about Erik and sharing memories, new acquaintances and friendships made, old friendships renewed and refreshed, and great fellowship. The only bummer was that Erik was not around to hear all the wonderful things said about him – or, maybe he was. He may not have been there in person, but he was there in spirit, flashing that Big E smile and listening to us from his place in heaven. Many people said throughout the day that they were looking forward to passing through those pearly gates and seeing Erik once again. And we couldn’t agree more.
Some trucks left on Friday night, and by Saturday morning, only a handful remained. It seemed like such a short event with so much left to talk about, but life must go on. But as long as we keep his memory alive in our thoughts, Erik Sieben will never completely leave us. And although he wasn’t present to enjoy this time with all his friends, he remains in all our hearts – he may be gone, but he will never be forgotten.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to John Testa, Eric Hill and Stephanie Haas for their contributions to this article, and for traveling to Joplin to represent 10-4 Magazine at this event.