What a year! Who knew it would be this late into 2020 before we would attend our first show!! Every now and again this year, an event has slipped through the cracks and actually happened, so there have been shows to attend, but the Top Gun Largecar Shootout, held at the Rantoul National Aviation Center in Rantoul, IL on July 24-26, was the first one “Team 10-4” personally attended. The vibe at the show was pretty chill, and everyone seemed genuinely happy to be out and about with their trucking friends – including us (flying on an airplane was not much fun, but it was the price we paid to be there).
Arriving on Thursday, the weather was surprisingly pleasant, but everyone was warning us that hotter and stickier days were coming, and they were right. Setting up our booth on Friday morning, myself, my wife Shannon, and our sales and marketing guy (and friend) Eric Hill were on-site and ready to do truck show stuff. With free magazines and posters to hand out and t-shirts to sell, the crowds were a little thinner than usual, but we still ran out of most things by the end of the event. Last year this show had about 150 trucks, and this year the number topped 200, but I really had expected it to be even bigger, since there had been so few events to attend prior to this one.
Friday was a good day to walk around, talk to people, and get some pictures. With less chaos and craziness happening this year versus past events, one could have a longer and more meaningful conversation, which was nice. With a handful of vendors that included us, RoadWorks, Lincoln Chrome, PDI, Largecar Magazine, California Custom Polishes and OOIDA, to name a few, our booths were spread out all around the show. Due to some layout changes at the venue that presented challenges regarding truck parking and the typical placement of vendor booths, things were a little different this year, but the truck show crew did a great job of making it all work. Friday evening featured a “Parade of Lights” through town and beyond, and about half of the trucks in attendance participated in this event.
Saturday was jam-packed with stuff to see and do – and it was also extremely hot and humid! With temps in the mid-90s and the humidity level sitting at 90%, it was downright uncomfortable. Throughout the day, there was a Kiddie Pedal Pull, a Jake Brake contest, and a motorcycle show (that had a ton of cool bikes entered). With a party atmosphere that day, people were looking to have a good time, and many found it at Arlyn and Linda Workman’s “flatbed bar” on top of their Mac Conestoga trailer. Directly across from them was the latest creation from Davis Bros., which had a big stereo, and provided a good soundtrack for most the day.
The 2019 Peterbilt 389 with a 310” wheelbase was built by Davis Bros. last year and was the official RoadWorks show truck for 2019. After show season ended, they bought it back, did more customizing, and added an amazing RGN trailer behind it. Featuring black paint with silver stripes and lime green outlines, the combination is equipped with the largest (and loudest) sound system we have ever heard. There are speakers all throughout the truck, and when the trailer is connected and hooked to the tractor, it becomes part of the system. The truck has 22 speakers and the trailer has 48 more, and rumor has it the system is pushing 35,000 watts (the trailer alone has 26,000)! With speakers, amps, subwoofers and extra batteries mounted all over and under the truck and trailer, “Loud-N-Heavy” was the talk of the show, for sure.
As the day wound down, our friends Josh Rietveld and his wife Renee, along with their son Carson, drove down from northern Indiana and showed up to hang out with us. We don’t get to see them very often, so it was a nice visit. Once it got dark, the light show began. Unfortunately, many of the trucks did not participate. Normally, everyone does, and the party rages late into the night, but I think the heat and humidity in the day took the wind out of everyone and many called it a night early. The light show still had some amazing trucks, though, like Randy Victory’s “Wild Child” flamed Peterbilt combination, and Dennis Sikorski’s blue and black 1995 Peterbilt 362 cabover combo (which was awarded not only Best Lights in the Combo class, but also Best of Show Combo).
Some notable trucks that did very well at collecting trophies at this event included Tony Huttenstine’s (Fleenor Bros.) gray and maroon 2020 Kenworth W900L (Best of Show Bobtail), Chad Smith’s (STS Transit) white and baby blue 2019 Peterbilt 389 hooked to a matching 2019 Mac dump trailer (Best of Show Combo Limited Miles), Guthrie Waechter’s (C&J Trucking) blue and silver 2018 Peterbilt 389 (Best of Show “Over The Top” Bobtail), and our friends Aryln and Linda Workman’s bright red 2020 Peterbilt 389 and 2013 Mac Conestoga trailer (Best of Show “Over The Top” Combo).
A few other of our favorites that may or may not have earned awards included Richard Crouse’s gold KW W900A with a white stripe and matching flatbed, Kevin Geltmaker’s champagne and rose-colored V-8 powered KW cabover, Winston Miller’s slammed olive green and black KW K100 cabover with three light green stripes (one of my personal favorites at the show), and Ron Beer’s all-white Peterbilt 389 with a giant custom sleeper and a black trailer. The two trucks chosen to be featured on next year’s t-shirt were Derek Graham and his metallic green and black 2000 Peterbilt 379 and Wilson hopper, and Barry Myers and his white 1967 Kenworth K100 with black stripes and an old-school 1969 Fruehauf van.
After the awards were handed out early Sunday morning, everyone cleared out pretty fast. By noon, the place was almost a ghost town! And with that, we packed up and headed out ourselves. We hope we get to go to a few more shows before the 2020 season completely ends, but only time will tell. It was great to see so many friends we hadn’t seen all year, and make a few new ones, as well. And you can bet we were glad to escape all that Midwest humidity and get back home to central California, even if it was 105 degrees (but hey, it’s a dry heat, you know)!
And the 2020 winners are:
BOBTAIL (2018 & NEWER):
1st Tony Huttenstine, Queen City, MO;
2nd Vance Holper, Ohio, IL;
3rd Dave Marti, Forrest, IL.
1st Jason Winters, Upper Sandusky, OH;
2nd Tom Ennen, Fulton, MO;
3rd Jordan Jones, Strasburg, IL.
1st Doug Cantwell, Toulon, IL;
2nd Brett Chastain, Flora, IN;
3rd Kameron Wilken, Crescent City, IL.
1st Andrew Baugh, Grant Park, IL;
2nd Don Emmons, Chesterfield, IL;
3rd Scott Horvath, Kankakee, IL.
1st Dill McKinney, Lexington, AL;
2nd Alex Vazquez, Lansing, IL;
3rd Tom Doolin, New Berlin, IL.
1st Dave Marti, Forrest, IL;
2nd Drew Plumer, Toulon, IL;
3rd Kevin Geltmaker, Floyds Knobs, IN.
1st Jordan Houtzel, Paxton, IL;
2nd Jason Winters, Upper Sandusky, OH;
3rd Tony Huttenstine, Queen City, MO.
1st Casey Conrey, Haubstadt, IN;
2nd Cole Johnson, Upper Sandusky, OH;
3rd Joel Anker, Dyer, IN.
1st Ron & Joan Beer, Orange, CA;
2nd Jon Nichols, Dolton City, IL;
3rd Jack Boehm, Carlinville, IL.
1st Rick Wann, Farina, IL;
2nd Paul Saline, Rio, IL;
3rd Steve Vermillion, Gifford, IL.
1st Tracy Bennison, Onarga, IL;
2nd Kelly Kocher, Rantoul, IL;
3rd No Other Entries in Class.
1st Dennis Sikorski, Bancroft, WI;
2nd David Marcotte, Momence, IL;
3rd Marty Bauer, Cissna Park, IL.
COMBO (1990 & OLDER):
1st Richard Crouse, Rio, IL;
2nd Chris Gebhardt, Neoga, IL;
3rd Jason Markley, Farine, IL.
1st Dennis Sikorski, Bancroft, WI;
2nd Randy Victory, Jonesboro, AR;
3rd Joel Anker, Dyer, IN.
1st Chris Gebhardt, Neoga, IL;
2nd Ron & Joan Beer, Orange, CA;
3rd Rick Wann, Farina, IL.
1st Kevin Geltmaker, Floyds Knobs, IN;
2nd Paul Marcotte, Momence, IL;
3rd Jerry Metzger, Huntington, IL.
JAKE BRAKE COMPETITION:
1st Brandon Lanoue, Ashkum, IL;
2nd Alex Castro, Aurora, IL;
3rd Jamie House, Oneida, WI.
Richard Crouse, Rio, IL – 1983 Kenworth W900A & 2021 Mac.
Gary Jones, Jr., Lawson, MO – 1991 Peterbilt 379.
BEST OF SHOW BOBTAIL:
Tony Huttenstine of Queen City, MO – 2020 Kenworth W900L.
BEST OF SHOW COMBO:
Dennis Sikorski, Bancroft, WI – 1995 Peterbilt 362 & 2007 Great Dane Reefer.
BEST OF SHOW LIMITED MILES BOBTAIL:
Tek Smith, Darlington, IN – 1984 Peterbilt 359.
BEST OF SHOW LIMITED MILES COMBO:
Chad Smith, Upper Sandusky, OH – 2019 Peterbilt 389 & 2020 Mac Dump.
BEST OF SHOW “OVER THE TOP” BOBTAIL:
Guthrie Waechter, Grand Mound, IA – 2018 Peterbilt 389.
BEST OF SHOW “OVER THE TOP” COMBO:
Arlyn & Linda Workman, Morrison, IL – 2020 Peterbilt 389 & 2013 Mac Conestoga.