For me, the perfect truck show consists of beautiful trucks, top-notch music and entertainment, fireworks, and excellent food. The first annual Large Cars and Guitars Truck Show took place May 5-7, 2022, in Kodak, TN and this event had all these things. Held in the parking lot of a baseball stadium, this show was a home run! This show was a charity event organized by music legend and truck driver Tony Justice, benefiting the Susan G. Koman Foundation. The primary sponsor of the truck show was RoadWorks Manufacturing.
Kodak is a short 20-mile drive east of Knoxville, TN near the popular tourist towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Kodak lies in the scenic western foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s one of my favorite places to visit, especially on a motorcycle or in a Mustang! The location of the truck show was on the property of the Tennessee Smokies. The Smokies are a Double A minor league team affiliated with the Chicago Cubs and a member of the Southern League. It was a perfect location to host this awesome event, which featured tons of concerts, along with a truck show.
I arrived in Kodak on Wednesday afternoon and checked in at the hotel where many attendees were staying for the weekend. This hotel was convenient because it adjoined the Smokies stadium property. Before going to dinner, I checked to see if any trucks had arrived for the show. At that point, a half dozen trucks had already arrived and were being detailed by their owners. This was a good sign for the coming weekend.
The entire show weekend had a full schedule of planned activities. Thursday morning, the first day of the show, turned out to be a near perfect day in Tennessee. With bright sunshine, high blue skies, and warm temperatures in the low 80s, it was to be the best day of the weekend. The show officially opened on Thursday with the beginning of truck registration and parking, along with sponsor/vendor set-up. A steady stream of trucks arrived throughout the day. Besides covering the truck show for 10-4 Magazine, I also assisted Evan Steger and Dave McKinney with parking trucks. It was my first time doing this, and I had a great time seeing all the beautiful trucks as they arrived and meeting the drivers/owners.
Thursday evening, a VIP dinner sponsored by Howes Lubricants was offered for pre-registered truck owners and drivers, sponsors, vendors, and all the volunteers. The food prepared and served by Travis Griffin was outstanding! The menu consisted of smoked jerk chicken quarters, along with smoked carnitas pork tacos, and served with sides of coleslaw, baked beans, and rolls. All proceeds from this dinner were donated to the SGK Foundation.
On Friday, truck registration and parking again started at 8:00 a.m. and continued throughout the day. The truck show “officially” started at 12 noon and opened to the public. The forecasted rain finally arrived early afternoon. There were periods of rain and sunshine throughout the day, but the inclement weather did not hamper the enthusiasm and participation of everyone at the truck show. After the rain subsided, the scheduled concerts began center stage. The acts playing Friday night included Taylor Barker, Paul Marhoffer, and Whey Jennings, the grandson of Waylon Jennings. I caught part of his set, mixing his music with some Waylon classics. The truck show officially ended at 11:00 p.m. but the partying continued well into early Saturday morning.
On Saturday, truck registration and parking continued until the noon cutoff. It turned out to be the most challenging day of the show regarding the weather. Strong thunderstorms passed through the area off and on all day. The severe weather and strong winds had a big impact on the activities, participation, and attendance to the truck show. Lunch was served by Food City Hospitality for all the registered attendees, sponsors, vendors, and volunteers, consisting of sandwich trays, vegetable and fruit trays, and free drinks.
In the afternoon, an auction took place center stage where several items and parade spots were auctioned off for the convoy. Steve Molanders of Tri-State and Massey Freight was the emcee for this event, and he made it both fun and interesting. The auction was cut short because another round of storms passed through the area. A custom Purgatory guitar was one of the higher ticket items, which sold for $2,300 to Jacob Bonham. Other notable items included several custom pictures, a pink guitar, and an autographed helmet.
Along with the items previously mentioned, they also auctioned off the first few spots for the convoy happening later that night, which brought in more money for the cause. The lead spot was sold to Robert Ebbins for $6,700! The next three spots were also auctioned off, with position two going to Bottomley Enterprises for $2,000, position three to Slone Trucking for $800, and the fourth spot to White Pine Paving for $1,500. All the items sold at the auction were donated by various people and businesses involved with the show and proceeds from these sold items and the convoy spots went to the SGK Foundation.
Despite light rain, the convoy took place after the auction, with many bobtail trucks participating in a scenic drive around the surrounding area. After the convoy, a full schedule of concerts took center stage beginning with an Elvis impersonator, then followed by Steven Molanders, Tony Justice, and ending with the Kentucky Headhunters. The music and personal stories were one of the highlights of the weekend. After an impressive 30-minute fireworks display from the Tennessee Smokies stadium concluded, the final planned activity for the weekend was complete.
Throughout the weekend, I was able to take many photos, some of which are in this show report. Some notable trucks I shot were White Pine Paving’s Breast Cancer Awareness dump truck, a purple Peterbilt combo with a large sleeper, a 1975 cream and red Brockway bobtail, and ETI’s red and white W900 combo. A few more included Midnight Shadow, a two-tone blue Pete combo, FT Trucking and their big black and red sleeper combo, Brubaker Trucking’s “Low-Life” custom Peterbilt, Tri-State’s red and gray “Bocephus” Peterbilt tanker combination, Ramco Trucking’s black and green Pete combo, and many other impressive trucks.
There were several sponsors who contributed their time, money, and other resources to make this a successful show. Following is a list of those generous sponsors: Bennett Family of Companies, Bottomley Enterprises, BullSnot, Davy Crockett TA Travel Center, Diesel Life, Diesel Pride, DPF Regeneration, Dunkin Donuts, Food Center, Good Ole Boys Golf Carts, Howes Lubricants, J&S Truck & Trailer Sales, the Mayberry Chrome Shop, Papa John’s, Pride Truck Wash, Road Pro, RoadWorks, Time 2 Shine, Travis Trucking, Tri-State, White Pine Paving, Wreaths Across America, and Xtreme Truck Repair. Thanks for your sponsorships and support!
Success has many masters. By all measures, this was a successful truck show where everyone involved was entertained. It was an ideal location, and the truck show received great support from the Tennessee Smokies, as well as the community of Kodak. Over 200 trucks were on display and, more importantly, $26,000 was raised for the Susan G. Koman Foundation – a very respectable amount for a first-year event.
This truck show had it all… beautiful trucks, fantastic entertainment, fireworks, delicious food, and great people. All that was lacking for a perfect weekend was better weather and carnival rides! The second annual Large Cars and Guitars Truck Show is tentatively planned for the first weekend in May 2023. Y’all come out to the Great Smoky Mountains. And, if you play your cards right, you might score a home run in Tennessee.