There’s nothing like that southern style – Southern Idaho, that is! This year marked the 7th annual Southern Idaho Truck Show, held once again at the Valley Recreational Center in Hazelton, ID. And, thankfully, it was one of the few shows so far this year not to be canceled. A small but rapidly growing event, this is definitely the place to be in June – especially if you like good food, cool trucks, and even cooler people!
Being the first time I had ever attended this show, I had high hopes, hearing about it over the last few years, and finally was able to make it out. Now, for a guy that mainly runs I-5, being able to run a load to Salt Lake City before heading to the show, I was able to catch the scenery firsthand, and man is it a beautiful area. Knowing I was going to be spending some time in his area that weekend, I got a call from a good friend of mine, Jake Bast, who informed me that he was going to be getting ordained and we would be having an impromptu wedding at his house for our good friend Keith Bothwell (who ran an immaculate maroon and silver A-Model Kenworth for Tri State Commodities out of Greeley, Colorado) and soon-to-be wife, Candie. How could I turn down that invite!
The fun all started on Wednesday when I was greeted with open arms by all the staff at Gary Amoth Trucking in Twin Falls, ID. The crew there treated me like family and offered more help than a guy could ask for (not to mention they have one of the best truck washes in the country). From there, we moved on up to Jake and his wife Kelli’s house just north of Twin, where we prepared for the wedding and added a few more trucks to the mix. Jake Knight from Honey Grove, TX made the trip in his cool blue 359 with 15 lbs. of fresh Mississippi catfish in hand. By wedding time, we had a group of about 6 or 7 trucks, about 20 friends, and catfish prepared in true Texan fashion – what a fun time it was! Congrats to Keith and Candie!!
On Friday morning, from Jake’s place, we had a convoy over to the show grounds. With Jake leading the way, followed by his wife Kelli in her ‘55 single screw KW, Mark McLeroy who is leased on to RAM Trucking out of Brownsville, OR, Jake Knight, myself, and Matt Neyens out of Nooksack, WA, we all chatted on the radio with each other along the way (one of my favorite pastimes). The location for this show is a really nice place, with great irrigation, and not a cloud of dust or a single rock was to be found on the lot, which is a big thing for us truckers.
By Friday afternoon, more trucks steadily pulled in at the show and were parked perfectly by Mr. Marty Miles. A big thanks to him for spending his whole Friday and part of Saturday taking care of probably one of the most tedious show tasks. Meanwhile, Matt Schilz and his crew were hard at work setting up camp and preparing the well-known “Friday Night Prime Rib Dinner” – a fundraiser for anyone there who was hungry – and it did not disappoint. Enjoying dinner, which came with salad, choice of mac or potato salad, baked potato, a fresh roll and cake for dessert, I learned that the proceeds from this dinner went to benefit and help run this awesome show.
I shook hands with familiar faces and met lots of awesome new people, which really is always the best thing about a truck show, to me. Some big names to mention from Friday night’s lineup was the amazing bright red Gary Amoth group, along with Elden, Sam, and Corey. A personal favorite of mine, (person and truck) was Kelli Bast and her old school cool 1955 “crooked” KW with a set of twin sticks, that she drives like a pro. The folks at Standlee Hay, located right there in nearby Eden, ID, made a strong presence with four of their triple trailer hay trucks, along with the United Hauling crew and the boys at Frasier Trucking. Enjoying a beautiful Southern Idaho sunset as we waited for the light show to kick in, it didn’t take long to realize that the guys around there know how to light it up. Also, I think it’s worth mentioning, that the Friday night truck count exceeded more than the entire show the previous year!
Saturday morning came around as more cool trucks were rolling in. Clyde Green out of Cheyenne, WY made the trip in his cream and maroon classic A-Model KW, along with Gene Petrosky of Pocono Coast Transportation, a few large cattle haulers from the Mascaro fleet, and Richard Hettinga, along with his older brother Steve and good friend Dustin De Mello, who rolled in sporting their cool Central California style rigs. Some other classic iron that I personally enjoyed seeing was Donnie DeVries’ two Pete cabover truck and trailer cattle trucks from Bliss, ID (definitely not something you see every day), along with my personal good friends Delton & Blayne Amoth (Aamodt Inc.) from Bonners Ferry, ID, and some of their awesome owner operator crew.
Lunch time came and the burgers were hot off the grill thanks to the Boy Scout Troop 139, serving hamburgers, cheeseburgers and hot dogs, donated by Scott and Stephanie Henderson, and the rest (chips, potato salad, and of course a cold drink) donated by the show itself. Allowing the troop to ring in all of the profits from the lunch, they raised $934 to help with Scout expenses throughout the year. This “little” truck show is their highest paying fundraiser of the year.
Moving on into the afternoon, with temps in the low 90s and a slight breeze out of the west, the silent auction and drawing contest took place, where kids were given a black and white truck drawing to color to their liking for a chance to win a new bike. Being a kid that spent more time drawing trucks in class than I should have, I was half tempted to enter in it myself!
After the drawing contest, we moved on to the awards, which were short and simple, the way it should be. First up was the Competitor’s Choice trophy – Steve Hettinga took top honors with his beautiful red and gray 2020 Peterbilt 389. For the People’s Choice awards, 2nd place went home to Tylor Lowe from Spurline Ventures and his 2020 aqua blue Pete 389, while the 1st place trophy, along with being next year’s t-shirt and trophy truck, also went home with Steve Hettinga (clearly a show favorite, and for good reason).
Last but not least, being my first year at this show, I had to learn about the Norwegian Award, in which a good friend of the show staff, Jan Asle Sele, travels all the way from Norway to the show and picks out his favorite truck. Due to COVID-19, Jan was not able to travel to the U.S. this year, but thanks to modern technology, Matt was able to Facebook live the whole lot, and Jan got to see all the trucks at the show and pick his favorite. This year’s Norwegian Award went to Blayne Amoth and his orange and burgundy 1996 Pete 362 cabover, but on one condition – he had to agree on video to return to the show next year with the truck so Jan could see it in person! Not a bad trade, if you ask me.
Unfortunately, this year, again due to that pesky coronavirus and some decisions made within the city, the show was unable to do their annual parade through downtown Hazelton. I was told this parade was a ton of fun, and I’m sure the kids missed out, too. The fireworks show that the city usually puts on was also canceled, so folks rounded up some fireworks and we still got to enjoy about 5-10 minutes of some Fourth of July fun, over the trucks, as people slowly rolled out with their lights glowing.
We would like to say “thank you” to the Valley Rec District for allowing the show to be held there for the last five years. The show’s proceeds this year will support the district itself. This facility hosts all the non-school sporting events for the Hazelton/Eden area. The Valley Recreation District has plans for some improvements (they will be making a full sports complex this year), and the money raised and donated by the show will help complete those plans.
Finally, a big “thank you” to Matt & Diana Schilz, along with their entire volunteer crew, who continue to make it the best event possible every year (and for years to come). If you have not yet made it to this show or experienced that “southern style” Southern Idaho has to offer, I strongly urge you to mark your calendar for next year. I promise, you will not be disappointed!