Thanks to bad weather and Covid, it’s been a few years since I attended the annual truck show and gathering hosted by Paul Riggle and Sons at their facility in Apollo, PA. The last time I attended this event was back in 2018, so I was really excited to hear the news that the show would be happening this year on Saturday, June 5, 2021. It is always worth the long drive for me, even after working (driving all night) the night before, then getting in my personal car and making the trip to Apollo, which is 35 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, PA. And with a bunch of amazing rides that I had never seen before, it was definitely worth making the trip.
With great weather in the mid-80s and mostly clear skies, it was a perfect day. Pennsylvania is a state that had some of the harshest Covid-19 social restrictions in the United States, so it was great for everyone to finally get out and have some fun. The Riggle family took bold steps to provide a good show atmosphere complete with great music, provided by a DJ and a local band called Americana, that played country music from the 50s to the 80s. Food is always important, and this year they had two vendors – Hot Ash Wood Fired Pizza and Del Vecchio’s Sausage and Fries.
The purpose of this event, put on by the Riggle family, is for local (and not so local) drivers to show up and show off what they have, and just relax and enjoy the day. This year they had about 60 trucks and around 20 cars and pickup trucks. The show had competition with this year’s ATHS National Convention and Antique Truck Show being held in Harrisonburg, VA on the same weekend. With that event happening, some of the usual crowd wasn’t there, but the trucks that were there, were awesome.
Kenworth of Pennsylvania brought out a few trucks, including the newly updated “Next Gen” T680, along with a T380/T480 medium duty truck. They also brought a beautiful 2000 K100E Aerodyne – the last K100 ordered through Motor Truck Equipment Co. Originally set up as a moving van with a drom, the original customer couldn’t make it work, so it was resold to Dick Mease of Jacksonville, FL who pulled a reefer with it up until his retirement. Motor Truck Equipment Co. was able to purchase the cabover and fully restore it. Wow – what a great looking ride!
Coltin Stutzman recently restored a cool looking 1985 Peterbilt 359 with a 400 Cummins and a 13-speed, riding on a 290” wheelbase, with a 66” ATG sleeper. The cab, hood and sleeper are painted gold, and the frame is Midnight blue. At first, I was thinking it had a Double Eagle sleeper, but nope – ATG (Alliance Truck Group). Based out of LaGrange, IN, ATG makes custom sleepers no matter what size (width, length, height) you want. They also do conversions and refurbish existing units, making your old sleeper look new again. And they will repair any sleeper, no matter the manufacturer.
Matt Hurney strolled into the show with a 1976 Kenworth W900A extended hood with a 36” sleeper, painted blue and gray, that caught my eye. Talking to Matt, he told me a brief history of the truck and about himself. After buying the truck, it underwent a ground-up restoration that took seven years. Being a Cummins technician at Cummins Bridgeway of Belle Vernon, PA, Matt overhauled and installed an 1,100-hp Cummins ISX. As I was talking to him about the truck, his wife Holly retrieved a book that she had made for Matt as a gift that had pictures of the truck in various stages of the rebuild, from start to finish. Matt also shared with me that he is a colon cancer survivor. On a personal note, I lost my father to colon cancer in 1989.
Another amazing A-model was brought out by Tom McClarran – this one was a 1978, painted black with red stripes, with a 36” sleeper. Loaded on his step deck trailer was a 1980 Pontiac Trans Am. Tom’s ‘78 has a 3406C Cat engine connected to a 10-speed, riding on a 252” wheelbase. This truck gets a lot of attention wherever it goes, because people recognize it from years of it running up and down I-95 on the eastern seaboard by a previous owner. Tom has had the truck for the last five years and works it in the northeast part of the United States. This summer he’s running around Pittsburgh and other parts of the state. A work in progress, this old rig is still earning her keep.
One more standout rig to mention is Chad Walker’s black and white Pete 359. Although a bit tattered now, the paint scheme initially caught my eye. Originally purchased by Smith Transport of Roaring Springs, PA, the rig is a 1985 glider kit titled as a 1987. Powered by a 400 Cummins Big Cam and a 13-speed, riding on a 250” wheelbase, Chad bought it off the second owner, who had it from 1991 to 2020. The previous owner had it painted in 2008. The truck has been all over the country but has maintained a home within 30 miles from where Chad has lived his entire life. Since buying the truck, Chad has installed a custom air ride front end with a 5” drop steer axle. His nephew Taylor Walker has been busting knuckles and turning wrenches right alongside his uncle on this 359. Chad said he is the 4th generation in the family to truck, and who knows, maybe Taylor will be the 5th generation.
The Riggle family has created a great way for people within the trucking community to get together and enjoy a nice Saturday in June, just hanging out, and showing off what they drive or own. And with tons of cool trucks, plenty of good food, great music, and even a few local vendors showing off their products, as well, I am very happy I took the time to go to this fun and relaxed non-judged show. Stay tuned to Facebook and the 10-4 Magazine calendar of events for 2022 (on the website) for the date of next year’s show. I promise, if you make the trip, you won’t be disappointed!