I recently made a fun pit stop on my way to make a delivery in Oregon at The Jerry Porter Memorial Truck Show in Orland, CA. Put on by the Northern California Chapter of the ATHS, the event was held on Saturday, October 17, 2020, in the gravel lot in front of Porter’s Welding Service, where it has been held for the past 15 years. Previously called the Porter Truck Show, the name was changed in Jerry’s honor after he passed away from cancer three years ago. There were no entry fees and no trophies – just a bunch of truck nuts getting together for the day to have fun. And after a long year of quarantines and cancelations, everybody was excited to get out.
The show opened at 8:00 AM and trucks rolled in from states all over the west, including California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Arizona, and Montana. By the time the show reached its peak, about 135 trucks were on the lot! With warm temperatures and clear sunny skies, the weather was perfect. And with big names in the house like the Van Dykes, Ed Rocha, Dan Thomas, Charlie Cunningham, Dalton Trucking, Radco Trucking, Lemmons Trucking, Eddie Amaral, Stan Alles, and so many more, you can bet there was some quality old iron at this event – and a few newer ones, too. Most of these people (or companies) brought out several of their finest trucks to the show.
The Northern California Chapter of the ATHS was started by Bill Irvin, Jerry Porter, Tom Stephens, and Lynn Sammons in 2003. Today, the chapter has about 138 members, and runs like a well-oiled machine. The show usually raises money for the chapter through food sales, donations, and merchandise sales, but this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of those meals had to be canceled and the show was kept to just one day (usually guys make a whole weekend out of the event). They did sell hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch, and all 220 meals were sold in 2.5 hours.
Worried about possible problems from local law enforcement or maybe city officials, they called the event a “Black Smoke Matters” rally and put signs all over the show, just in case. At that point in time, protests were allowed but fun gatherings were frowned upon. Thankfully, there were no issues, and everyone enjoyed a fantastic day. And what wasn’t to like? There were so many cool trucks to check out and so many nice people to talk with, it felt like a “normal” pre-pandemic day. It was a nice break from all the craziness.
At the end of the day, me and my wife Ginger, who happened to be on this trip with me, hit the road and continued on our way to my delivery up north. It was a great pit stop along the way, and I look forward to attending this event again next year. It is always held on the 3rd Saturday in October, so the date for the next one will be October 16, 2021. We hope to see you there!