Truck shows happen all across the country and abroad, with new shows popping up all the time. Charity events are very popular within the trucking industry and are always supported by those we see out on the road, as well as those behind the scenes who attend the shows as either spectators, vendors or even volunteers. 2021 marked the start of several new truck shows, but one in particular has set the bar to new heights with only a short five months to pull it off. The first annual Mayberry Truck Show in Mt Airy, NC started with a bang and quickly became the show everyone was talking about. The outpouring of support, trucks in attendance, and the monumental amount raised for Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC made this show not only amazing, but a truly historical event.
For those who don’t know, Mt. Airy, NC was the childhood home of Andy Griffith from The Andy Griffith Show, and this city became the inspiration for the show’s town of Mayberry. Those who take the time to visit Mt. Airy will see places to visit which include the name Mayberry, as well as attractions to take you back to simpler times, with recollections of the TV show, as well. Mitchell Bottomley knew he wanted the show to have Mayberry in the name and, for simplicity’s sake and a name that would be very easy to remember, the Mayberry Truck Show was born.
Preliminary talks about the show had happened between several people within the industry along with hosts Mitchell and DeAnna Bottomley. By the end of May (2021) it was go-time, and help was enlisted to move mountains, so-to-speak, with sights set on a huge turnout and meeting (or exceeding) a goal of $250,000 raised to donate to the children’s hospital. There wasn’t just one person with a hand in making this show possible. Mitchell had a vision and the facility to do what no other trucking company had done, and he had the fierce determination to succeed.
Driving straight from the 4 State Trucks Guilty By Association Truck Show in Joplin, MO to attend the show, being held on Friday, October 1st and Saturday, October 2nd, because I wanted to be there early to not only see the trucks coming in, but also to help where it was needed. Bel-Vue Trophy in Mt. Airy took care of the plaques for the show, which were the Top Notch 10, sponsored by Diesel Addict Photos, and the Fine Nine. I went to pick up the plaques Wednesday morning, September 29th, and trucks had already started rolling onto the show grounds.
Bottomley Enterprises opened up their shop for trucks to get polished by Evan’s Detailing and Polishing, which included the Nebraska franchise, as well as Pieter Williams’ crew from Almost Chrome. Along with the opening of the shop, the company’s wash bay was also free to use for show registrants if they needed it, which was a cool amenity to have access to. Early arrivals for the show included Jimmy Ganski, Don Wood, Rob Hallahan, Jacob Bonham, Bubba Branch and Mike Manuel. The truck parking had already started before Thursday even hit! From I-77, you couldn’t miss the big light boards announcing the show, or Don Wood’s truck stretched out on top of the hill.
Everything was in high gear as soon as the sun came up Friday morning. Trucks were non-stop coming in. Every truck was amazing, and everyone was so happy to attend. Trucker friends from all over came to the show, along with trucks I hadn’t ever seen before. Many vendors set up, including Lance from PDI, Troy Huddleston of RoadWorks brought their “Night Moves” combo, Tony Justice was on site in preparation for his concert on Saturday, Ralph from Hot Rig Apparel, Diesel Life had a tent, and so did Lincoln Chrome. Hungry? There were plenty of options to choose from including Mr. People Feeder, Chick-fil-A of Mt. Airy, White Elephant, BJs Fry Shack and 13 Bones Restaurant. The grounds opened to the public at noon, with anticipation for the big convoy that evening.
Mid-afternoon, Brenner Children’s representative, Angel Mitchell, who is their Collaborative Care Manager for Brenner Palliative Care, took the stage to speak about the children’s hospital and the impact that donations have on the children and their families. After her very informative speech, Mitchell spoke of the upcoming convoy and explained how auctioning off the spots would go. A friend of Mitchell’s, E.B. Harris, who is an auctioneer, came on board for this exciting moment to see how much this part of the show could raise. The first nine spots of the convoy had the option to go as a combo or a bobtail.
The show, for the top 26 convoy spots auctioned, raised a whopping $127,200. It was amazing to witness, and I found myself having tears rolling down my cheeks when spot number one went for $20,000 to PDI, the second spot for $16,500 from HaterMade, and the third spot for $16,000, which was won by Bill Rethwisch. This was hands down the coolest thing to witness. Awesome folks from the industry coming together for the good of the cause. In addition to the convoy spots, other items were also auctioned off to raise even more.
The convoy left at 6:00 PM, and the trucks had an approximately 32-mile scenic drive around and through most of downtown Mt. Airy. A total of 161 trucks participated in the convoy. The trucks returning to the grounds were a sight to see, since it was already dark, and all of them came rolling back to the grounds with their lights on. Trucks were re-parked in record-breaking time. The first day of the show was finished off with a light show that spectators and registrants alike really enjoyed.
The show resumed on Saturday at 8:00 AM and show-goers were already coming in. The Top Notch 10 and Fine Nice award recipients had already been picked, and Chris Fiffie and I drove around the lot to locate them and get photos of the Top Notch 10. Photos were needed because the plaques had plexiglass for a 10×8 photo of each truck. After the pictures were taken, I sent them off to be developed, picked them up around 11:30 AM, placed each photo in the plaques, and by the time I finished there was little time in between getting the plaques to the stage and the actual awards ceremony beginning.
Fun and laughter happened as the day went on with a stunt motorcycle performance in both the morning and afternoon, as well as the dunk tank, in which Mitchell Bottomley was one of the participants in the hot seat, waiting to see if someone had an arm good enough to dunk him. Funny antics ensued with a Barney Fife impersonator on site who definitely had many people laughing and interacting with him.
Around 5:30 PM, Steven Molanders was on stage with some entertainment prior to Tony Justice taking over in a setting fitting for him to play – among a sea of trucks with all their lights on. The last day of the show ended with a bang, literally, with an amazing display of fireworks that was really awesome.
I’m grateful I had spoken with co-contributor Eric Hill prior to the awards as I really appreciate that he was able to get photos during the ceremony. The awards ceremony was nothing short of amazing, from those who got awards, to the most stellar part, the amount of money raised for Brenner Children’s Hospital. Remember that previously mentioned goal of raising $250,000? Some probably thought it was a crazy number, but the show beat that goal and handed a check for $351,466 to Brenner Children’s president, Alisa Starbuck, who was accompanied by Angela Carlton, Senior Philanthropy and Alumni Events Coordinator.
The trophies were won by votes from competitors to avoid complaints about judging. The “Great 8” trophies went to Chuck Hyde, Jimmy Ganski, Danny Kimball, Don Wood, Clayton Driskill, Rob Hallahan, Tyler Hintz, and Brandon Smith. “Best of” trophies went to Don Wood for Lowest Truck and Best Interior, Jacob Bonham for Best Lights, Rick Sowers for Oldest Truck, Chuck Hyde for Best Paint, Austin Kiser for Best Engine, Noah Lance for Furthest Driven (presented by Tony Justice during his concert), and Best of Show went to Robert Burleson.
The Top Notch 10 awards went to local trucks from Virginia and North Carolina. Recipients were Rick Sowers, Stoney Greene, Austin Kiser, Jimmy McHone, David Strickland, Brad Routh, Skyler Stanley, Casey Jones, Will Smith, and Josh Miller. The Fine Nine awards were chosen based on trucks with model year 1990 and older. The winners in this category included Nick Black, Patrick Underwood, Bob Vogel, Rick Sowers, Brian Kepley, Bruce Hill, Ben Cadle, David Strickland, and Mike Hatcher.
Along with the awards, the show is producing a truck show calendar and calendar spot holders were announced during the awards ceremony. The 2022 calendar spot holders are Don Wood of DSD Transport (cover), John Deschaine of Deschaine Logging and Clearing, Brandon Smith of Smith Transport, Nicholas Black of NA Black Trucking, Josh Teel of Teel Trucking, Jimmy Ganski of JC Ganski, Bill Rethwisch of Rethwisch Transport, Austin Kiser of Greg Kiser Trucking, Chuck Hyde of BCH Trucking Services, Jacob Bonham of Tri-State Heavy Haul, Rick Sowers of Sowers Construction Company, Bubba Branch of Atlas Heavy Haul, and Robert Burleson of Jack Hicks, Inc.
Sunday was a day of reflection, as most of the trucks departed from the show and either headed out for loads or back home. The weather couldn’t have been better for this show. To have had the opportunity to be a small part in helping to get this show off the ground was so exciting, but the most amazing thing was how everyone came together, excited by the vision Mitchell spoke of, and without hesitation, jumped on the bandwagon to help wherever there was a need. DeAnna Bottomley and me handled the organization of the 250 goodie buckets, which were filled with plenty of items from popular vendors including our very own 10-4 Magazine, Trux Accessories, Diesel Addict Photos, Big Rig Videos, Time 2 Shine Products, Equipment Express, Diesel Life, Davis Bros., and much more.
The stuffing of all the buckets was done on Thursday, and I had periodic help from Michele Bryant, Chris Fiffie, Kenny Kreier, and two of the lovely ladies who were part of the cleaning crew, Aurora and Elizabeth. Chris also helped with social media promotion, including a Rolling CB interview with Mitchell, with discussions of the event and the Mayberry Truck Show website creation and updates.
Evan Steger took the lead on truck parking, with help from several others, which if you attended, knew what a stellar job they did turning the parking lot into an amazing set up of beautiful trucks. Chad Violet headed up the job of getting the “Best of” and “Great 8” trophies designed and picked up, with the help of Mike Horan and the team at Dickerson Custom Trucks.
Backing Mitchell is a great team of employees, and so many of them were on hand, including president, Ken Kaelin, who helped in so many areas, Michele Bryant, who kept communications with Brenner Children’s Hospital and helped with truck registration, along with Abbie Wagoner. The guys from the shop were amazing at keeping up with the grounds, and the cleaning crew was on point. Scott and Stan from Bottomley took their duties very seriously and handled everything great, including the security detail that Stan had set in place. We had volunteers from the fire department on hand helping with both vehicle and foot traffic, and so many more people that showed a willingness to help.
This show was made possible by Bottomley Enterprises, many volunteers and sponsors, and gracious donations from all. It was so cool to witness the generosity of the many people that just randomly walked up to the registration tent and wrote checks to donate, along with individuals who couldn’t attend the show but wanted to donate, so they mailed a check. The Mayberry Truck Show was about something bigger than all of us. This show was proof of the giving and the big hearts of all those involved in the trucking industry.
Special thanks to Mitchell and DeAnna Bottomley for hosting such an amazing event, to Chris from Big Rig Videos for the aerial and extra show photos, and Eric Hill for his time in capturing photos during the awards. Also, thank you to Savannah Tally who was given an opportunity and a task by Chris, with one of his cameras, to shoot interesting subjects at the show, which are included in the photos.
With a total registered truck count of 302, this was a show like no other, and it all came together through the help of many, including everyone at Bottomley Enterprises and other members of the trucking community. Everyone at the show was a part of this historical event that promises to grow bigger each year, so mark your calendars now for the next Mayberry Truck Show, scheduled for September 30th and October 1st, 2022. As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.