With so much negative surrounding our industry these days, it’s nice to share a very positive event that is held on The Mall in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. For the last few years, truckers have gathered on or near October 4th as a sign of unity and to bring awareness to the issues in trucking. Held in the shadows of the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol building, the event is slowly gaining momentum and acceptance and, hopefully, helping to bring some change regarding the rules and regulations that are currently strangling our industry.
In April of 2018, Brian Brase started jumping through all the hoops to secure a permit to park trucks on the National Mall in Washington D.C. and, along with a dedicated team of like-minded individuals, they made it happen. The idea was to hold an event on October 4th (10-4 Day). The motto they came up with then and it is still their motto today is: “It’s Not About You, It’s Not About Me, It’s About Us!”
They wanted to get as many trucks as possible to park on the Mall, both owner operators and company trucks, all together. This is not a truck show, this was designed to be an event to talk to legislators about concerns in our industry and educate as many people as possible, walking through the Mall, on their way to a national monument or the historic buildings that surround the Mall. People stop and ask, “What’s going on?” That question opens the door for drivers to talk to them and educate them about our industry and how to drive safely around trucks on the road. One thing I have thought for many years should be mandatory in driver’s education is to let people sit in the seat of a big rig and see exactly what it’s like up there, in an effort to give them perspective.
The event and organization saw major advancements this year. The Board members are Brian Brase, Todd Campbell, Courtney Simmons, Mark Davis, Ruben Carrion, David Lewis, and Fred Bowerman. They have also become a recognized 501c3 nonprofit organization, so everything you donate will be tax deductible. They have a new website (www.tenfourdc.org) and it is now up and running. Go there to check out everything about the event and the organization that runs it.
This year, there were 45 trucks parked on the Mall, which is an amazing backdrop for pictures. Several drivers were there for the first time, but for others, it was their fourth event. Next year, the permit is going to be good for 500 trucks, so if you are interested, mark your calendar now. Let’s fill the Mall with trucks and show the public how important we really are! Registration will begin about three months before the 5th Annual TenFour DC in 2022.
Everyone meets at the fairgrounds in Fredericksburg, VA, where everyone drops their trailers, and then at midnight on the Wednesday night before all this begins, everyone convoys in together to the Mall and gets parked. Trucks are parked on the Mall Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, then everyone convoys back to the fairgrounds. They try to get back there around noon on Saturday, and then everyone has to be out of the fairgrounds by noon on Sunday.
This year, three women – Joannie Sprouse, her sister Malinda Roberts, and their friend Stephanie Orem – all got tattoos in honor of TenFour DC. In addition to a picture of a truck of their choosing, the TenFour DC slogan was tattooed from their shoulders down their arm, along with an outline of three girls with angel wings. These three have been dubbed the TenFour DC Angels. It’s pretty serious how much these beautiful ladies believe in the event, to actually tattoo it on their arms forever – that’s pretty amazing!
Trucker Tax Tools sponsored the lunches on the Mall Thursday and Friday, Davidson Trucking & Warehousing in Bradner, OH sponsored the breakfasts on the Mall, and Trucker Tools were the sponsor of the Saturday BBQ back at the fairgrounds, featuring OTR Smokehouse Barbecue, which did a great job. They are now the official BBQ of the event. Heniff Transportation of Oak Brook, IL sponsored the music and equipment for Taylor Barker to do a performance at the fairgrounds on Saturday night.
This year, Joe DeLorenzo, who is with the FMCSA, came out to talk with the drivers and answer questions. It was suggested that they set up a Truckers Workshop next year and have a booth, that will be a place for drivers to get answers to their questions and share suggestions they might have. All of this is designed to raise public awareness and educate the driving public.
There was also an auction that included five old toy trucks decaled for TenFour DC. There was also one truck that was decaled like the Truckers Final Mile truck and trailer, along with a custom mailbox that looked like a truck and trailer, custom wood burned flags, and lots of stuff donated by Trucker Tools, Trucker Tax Tools, and Road Pro. Some of this stuff was for the auction, and some were door prizes. There were also 13 flags donated in memory of the 13 marines recently lost in Afghanistan.
Taylor Barker was the auctioneer, and at the end of the auction, they had raised nearly $28,000. The auction helps with the expenses for next year’s event, and the rest is divided between Truckers Final Mile and the Honor History of Fredericksburg, which helps out with a Veteran’s Honor Flight. This event also benefits Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank, and this year Pioneer Packing in Bowling Green, OH donated over 20,000 pounds of ribs, along with a bunch of non-perishable food, donated by the drivers attending the event, which they are asked to bring and donate.
Once back at the fairgrounds on Saturday, it’s time to have some fun, and celebrate the success of the event. In addition to the auction and raffle, the BBQ, and the entertainment, it’s time to relax and build the friendships, share experiences from the weekend, and plan for next year’s “family reunion” on The Mall in Washington D.C.
Next year they are planning to step up the entertainment by planning a full-on concert at the fairgrounds. Remember, this is a private party for participating drivers, their family, and friends, so if you want to come, you must register and participate in the event. And why wouldn’t you want to come out and help be a part of the solution? I mean, it’s a no-brainer, Ten-Four DC!