The Ohio Vintage Truck Reunion is always a fun show with a great turnout and cool stuff, year after year – and this year was no different. Held at the Ashland County Fairgrounds in Ashland, OH on June 19-20, 2021, this event is hosted by several different chapters of the ATHS, including the Black Swamp Chapter, Penn-Ohio Chapter, Central Ohio Chapter, Northeast Chapter, and the Greater Cincinnati Chapter. This show features a large display of vintage trucks, a swap meet, a trucking memorabilia display, a truck light display, a truck model building contest, a “Country Convoy” dinner cruise, and more.
Heading down to the show on Saturday morning, June 19th, it rained on me for most of the way down. After the rain eventually cleared, the temp’s settled in the mid-80s with plenty of humidity. Then, with the threat of rain coming back again in the evening, some guys left early and did not stick around for the Country Convoy. This “Country Convoy” is a group of trucks that get together, ride through the countryside, and head to an Amish restaurant called Der Dutchmen in Bellville, OH (they have really good food there). Sunday, June 20th, had some early morning showers and thunderstorms, but they cleared out around 11:00 AM. After that, the temps were in the upper-80s.
The trucking memorabilia display featured some very cool stuff to look at like trucking music albums, brochures of various truck manufacturers, old truck magazines, a display of belt buckles, and a truck patch collection of trucking companies, past and present, and truck builders. The swap meet is held in another building and basically has old truck parts, truck books, and other trucking-related memorabilia. In this same area, they had some old copies of 10-4 Magazine, but you had to get there fast, because they didn’t last long. In another building there are vendors selling model truck kits, along with neat die-cast toy trucks and trailers.
A model truck building contest was held in another one of the buildings. This was a great display of models and the boxes they came in, as well as some resin offerings by certain makers. There were three categories – youth, novice, and expert. In the Youth category, the winner was Bryan Lorentz with his black W900 Aerodyne AMT 1/32 scale kit. In the Novice category, the winner was Charles Helman and his 1/16 scale Kenworth W900 flattop with a Fruehauf flatbed trailer. The winner in the Expert category was Jon Minard and his 1964 Autocar cattle hauler, which was a full-on diorama, featuring an entire scene.
I had a chance to talk to Brandon Carpenter of Haul’er Back about his blue and white 1981 W900A with a 14-liter Series 60 Detroit Diesel, which he put in it a little while ago. I saw him last year and talked to him briefly and found out that he had just put the Detroit under the hood. Over the past year, he was able to get all of the bugs worked out and get the motor running as it should. Both the truck and its owner have an interesting story. Brandon has been able to collect a lot of cool information about the truck’s history since owning it.
I got to talking with Chad Adams of Bulter, OH as he was sitting in front of his dark red single-axle Peterbilt with a single bunk and plenty of pinstriping, and he mentioned the fact that he had a copy of our October 2017 issue. Chad went into his truck and showed me the magazine, which featured a picture of his truck in the report on this show that year, which was pretty cool.
Another truck that caught my eye was Chad Keegan’s blue and white 1983 Kenworth K100 cabover. This tractor, with a short wheelbase, reminded me of the trucks from the 70s. With red and white stripes, mud flaps on the front bumper, and steel wheels all around, it was just a cool truck. Then, a week or two later, I was on YouTube and saw he has a YouTube channel (look him up).
Cowen Truck Line of Perrysville, OH brought a freshly restored red 1969 W900A with white stripes, a 36” sleeper, a short wheelbase, and a Cummins 350. Bob Cowen has had the truck since 1970. Cowen has had a very impressive fleet of trucks throughout the years, with a lot of big sleeper rides, so this older truck with a small sleeper certainly stood out – for a multitude of reasons!
Ohio State Troopers, Patrolmen Mills and Brown, were on-hand to talk about their “Slow Down and Move Over” campaign to protect the troopers as they work. Talking to drivers and anyone willing to talk to the patrolmen, both told their stories about difficult and dangerous situations they have had to deal with in the past. It’s always good to talk to patrolmen like these, in any capacity, to share stories and build relationships, because you never know what will happen out there. Please do me a favor, when you see flashing lights on the side of the road, move over if you can, and if you can’t, at least slow down. Everyone should be able to go home to their families at the end of the day.
Usually, the show wraps up on Sunday, but there is still plenty going on. Oftentimes, people going home from other shows that weekend, stop by to check it out. One person who I always enjoy talking to is Gary Blizzard, who sells hand-drawn truck t-shirts. His company, Truckwear, can be found on Facebook. Gary is always talking about cool trucks, telling truck-related stories, and chatting about famous people in the trucking world. He shared a story with me involving Alfred Hitchcock and actor Chuck Napier, known as Hammer, in the TV series BJ and the Bear.
All told, there were 200 registered trucks at this event, but the people who really benefit from it is the Ashland Food Bank and The Shriners Transportation Fund. This show raised almost $6,000 for the two organizations to split. I would like to thank Roy Franks, Bill Peters, and Collin Vannewkirk for providing me information for this article. Also, a big “thank you” to Joey Ols for allowing me to take his cool 1978 blue and white J20 Jeep pickup truck to the show. Man, that thing is built like a tank, but it sure was fun to drive down there!