Those who are familiar with Utah and the surrounding states know that the higher elevation plays a key role in how we feel the temperature outside. For those that don’t, the sun intensity is pretty, well, intense. During this year’s Great Salt Lake Truck Show, held on August 13-14, 2021, there wasn’t anyone without a water bottle in their hand. But despite the heat, everyone enjoyed the show, the trucks, and catching up with old and new friends. The trucks were hot, the people were hot, the temperature was hot… heck, everything was hot!
Those close to me know that I am a big fan of this show and I truly love coming out to this area to catch up with friends, see some cool trucks, and view the beautiful scenery. What some may not know, is I am a mere replacement at this show, covering the event on behalf of 10-4 Magazine. Erik Sieben was a regular to this show, and I stepped in to help when he began getting sick in 2018. I never imagined I would continue going to the show to represent the magazine, and the legacy of Erik, as well.
This year, Sunne Wallace took on the task of being the lead organizer of this event, and she did an amazing job. Arriving early in the week, we had the chance to catch up over dinner, enjoy many laughs, and discuss the upcoming show. I was definitely looking forward to seeing everyone at the event since it didn’t happen in 2020. This year marks the 32nd annual Great Salt Lake Truck Show in Lehi, UT, which raises money to safely send dialysis and transplant patients and their families to “Kidney Kamp” in the Rocky Mountains.
By Wednesday evening, August 11th, trucks were already in the area and getting ready to start coming into the grounds first thing Thursday morning in preparation for the show to start. Some of these folks included Clyde Green with his 1982 Kenworth W900A, Jeremy Lusk of Tri State Commodities and his newly restored 1981 Kenworth W900A, and Eric Gibbons of EMH Transportation and his beautiful 1997 Pete 379. Along with Eric were a handful of his other trucks, including two owner operators, that were set to get parked right away on Thursday morning. Full of sunshine and plenty of amazing trucks, Thursday was a great day, and an easy one for me, but the show coordinators and volunteers were in full swing, parking trucks, and making sure everything was set up.
Another beautiful day, Friday was very busy for the show coordinators, as a bunch of trucks showed up first thing in the morning that needed to be parked. As the day progressed, the heat came in and everyone sought out shade wherever they could find it, or created it with tents that were brought in. Coolers were a common sight, with everyone trying to keep themselves hydrated. There was a slushy vendor on-site who had at least one customer in line all day long! The dunk tank provided some entertainment, as well, and with all the heat, it was easy to find volunteers to go in it.
Friday was a good day, but it was also a solemn day for me, remembering it was that day of the show in 2019 that I received the news of 10-4’s Erik (Big E) passing away. As I made my way around the grounds, searching for the truck I would choose for the 10-4 Sponsor award, ringing in my ears were my editor’s words, “It isn’t just about the truck, but the quality of the driver or owner, as well.” I came across a white Western Star that was dedicated to our United States Military. After a brief conversation with the nice couple that drives it, I knew this was the truck that should get the award. James “Scooter” Koopman of Tanis Trucking in Jenison, MI is the driver of this 2016 Western Star, pulling a 2017 Utility reefer, along with his copilot and wife, Jeri.
I had a chance to visit with my friend Ty Hofhine to catch up with him and his daughter, Tennille, who is his sidekick when it comes to cleaning and prepping the truck for the show. They brought in their newly built 2022 Kenworth W900 heavy haul truck sporting a 605 Cummins and an 18-speed transmission that he drives for Motus Excavation. Eric Gibbons had his whole family at the show, including his wonderful wife, Valerie. It is always great to be able to visit with them! I was also able to meet Jamie and Sawyer Norman who are a father/daughter duo with custom Chevy pickup trucks. Jamie’s truck is a 1977 model, and Sawyer’s is a 1979.
As I walked the grounds more that afternoon, I came across a sight that truly made me giddish. I was in Utah at the beginning of July for some photography work and happened to have been driving around town when I came across an old FLC, with intricate pinstriping, pulling a refrigerated trailer. Well, this particular truck was at the show. The owners were sitting in the shade by the truck, and I almost yelled out loud because I was so excited they were there. Garritt Martinez and his wife Dina, along with their son Kennan, brought the 1987 Freightliner FLC to the show, and we were finally able to meet in person. The truck has a CAT 3406B, a 13-speed Eaton Fuller, 3.73 Rockwell rears, and pulls a 2017 Great Dane 53-foot reefer trailer.
Capping off the good day on Friday, everyone at the show was able to enjoy a wonderful Dutch oven meal for dinner. I don’t think anyone left hungry, as there was something for everyone to enjoy, including dessert and root beer soda. Later that evening, everyone enjoyed seeing the trucks with their lights on.
Saturday morning, I arrived early to do some peaceful photography of the trucks while everyone else was still sleeping. I love visiting with everyone at truck shows, but first thing in the morning, when it is just me and the trucks, is a very special and enjoyable time for me. As the sun finally popped up, people started coming back onto the grounds. Throughout the day, everyone was anxiously awaiting the auction and the awards ceremony. And even with the heat, the bouncy house on-site provided fun for the kids on both Friday and Saturday. As it got closer to the awards ceremony, people started searching for seats, and trying to get out of the sun.
The awards ceremony began with a variety of emotions. Past Kidney Kamp attendees Teresa and Troy Peterson went up to tell their story and then remained at the front of the room to help present the awards and take pics with the recipients. Eric Gibbons was presented with the Competitor’s Choice award, which also included $3,000 and, without hesitation, he handed the money back to be donated to the Kidney Kamp. These kinds of actions always get me choked up at the goodness we have in our industry. The runner up for the Competitor’s Choice was the new PDI build, which was a sharp truck, hooked to a flatbed.
The awards were nearly completed when it came time for me to present the 10-4 Sponsor award, and they called me up to say a few words. I was not quite prepared to speak in front of the crowd, but I did, and spoke mostly about Erik. I also discussed how we have decided to continue the tradition Erik started so many years ago with him handing out $2 bills to the kids in attendance. These bills will begin circulation at the 2022 show and keep Erik’s memory alive of the gentle giant we all knew and loved.
The show ended after the awards ceremony was completed and trucks immediately began firing up and making their way towards the exit. It always amazes me that no sooner that the show starts, it seems to quickly come to an end. It is always a wonderful experience to attend this event. A total of 87 trucks were in attendance, and the show raised an astounding amount – almost $50,000! Thank you to all the sponsors, vendors and volunteers who helped to make this year’s show such a huge success.
Special thanks to Sunne Wallace for always being so welcoming to me, as well as her parents, Jeff and Pat England. Like every year, after the show ended, I instantly started looking forward to the next one in 2022. Whether you came for the people or you came for the trucks, everything was hot in Utah this year! As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.
SPONSOR’S CHOICE AWARDS
1580 Utility Trailer’s Choice: EMH/Eric Gibbons.
Premier Truck Group’s Choice: PDI.
10-4 Magazine’s Choice: Tanis Trucking/James Koopman.
Advantage Transportation’s Choice: Francis Trans.
Alcoa Wheels’ Choice: Godfrey Trucking.
C.R. England’s Choice: Desert Transportation.
Carrier Transicold of Utah’s Choice: RoadWorks/Troy Huddleston.
Counteract Balancing Bead’s Choice: Pride Transport.
Cummins’ Choice: Clair Anderson.
Drivertech’s Choice: Stott Plumbing.
G.C.R. Tires and Service’s Choice: Godfrey Trucking.
Godfrey Trucking’s Choice: PDI.
Great Dane of Utah’s Choice: Stokes Trucking.
Hub International’s Choice: Pride Transport.
Ivester’s Transportation’s Choice: Ray Bethers.
Jack’s Tire & Oil’s Choice: JD Mason Trucking.
Jackson Group Peterbilt’s Choice: Jay Trans.
Mercer Transportation’s Choice: Equality State Transport/Clyde Green.
North American Trailer’s Choice: Ivester’s Transportation.
PDI’s Choice: Jamie Norman.
Pilot/Flying J’s Choice: Mountain Country Trans.
Pride Transport’s Choice: Stokes Trucking.
Savage Services’ Choice: Skidmore Transportation Services.
Smith Power Products’ Choice: Pride Transport.
Thermo King’s Choice: EMH/Eric Gibbons.
Utah Trucking Association’s Choice: Ralph Smith Co.
Swift Charities’ Choice: Milk Money Trucking.