After ten long days in the Midwest, attending two trucks shows and doing photo shoots in Nebraska, Illinois, and Iowa, we ended our Summer Tour at the Top Gun Largecar Shootout. Held again at the decommissioned Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, IL on July 29-31, 2022, this show had a record number of trucks thanks to some perfect weather, fantastic sponsors and vendors, and some special tributes in honor of some of our recently fallen trucking friends.
Arriving at the show on Friday morning, the weather was absolutely perfect. Temps were in the mid-70s, the humidity was low, and the blue sky was filled with light, fluffy clouds. We could not have asked for better conditions! Our friend and contributor Stephanie Haas was on her way to Utah to cover a truck show, so she made a detour through Rantoul and was able to hang out with us there on Friday and Saturday. Since we don’t get to do this with her very often, we made great use of the time, and had a lot of fun. She was so excited to be at a truck show and not have to work – she was just there to spend time with us and enjoy the event – and she did!
With 235 trucks in attendance, that number narrowly beat out the show’s previous record. And coming home with over 420 pictures in my two cameras, it was hard to choose just a handful for this report (I will put more on our website when this story gets posted there). With a handful of vendors onsite that included Diesel Pride Apparel, OOIDA, Timpte Trailers, CIT Trucks, Lincoln Chrome, California Custom Polish, Dickerson Custom Trucks, and RoadWorks, there was plenty to see and do during the day. Friday night featured the Parade of Lights through Rantoul, which is always well-received by the community. Once the trucks got back from the rolling light parade and parked, a static light show proceeded until late into the night.
Saturday was a little bit warmer, but still really amazing weather for the Midwest in July. In addition to the vendors and truck show, Saturday also featured a motorcycle show, which had about 60 cool bikes, a kid’s pedal pull contest, a Jake Brake competition, and another light show at night. In honor of Troy Huddleston, who passed away on June 7, 2022, his blood family and his trucking family at RoadWorks brought out his 1991 Freightliner FLC “Roll With The Changes” to display. Seeing his truck was a touching sight, and many were sad, but glad it was there.
Walking around and looking at all the trucks, there was some truly amazing iron out there in Rantoul. One truck that really stood out to us – and obviously the judges – was the latest build from J&L Contracting in Springfield, MO. Brought out by Matt Schreiner, the truck is a red 1987 Peterbilt 362 service truck with black and silver stripes. Complete with a boom and every accessory and tool a service truck could have, this rig, which will eventually be used to maintain the J&L fleet, took four 1st place trophies, including Best of Show Bobtail Limited Miles, and was also chosen to be on next year’s show shirt.
With the awards happening at 9:30 on Sunday morning, tributes were made and awards were presented in honor of Troy Huddleston, Kameron Wilken, Paul Marcotte, and Top Gun show founder Tom Reitz. There were plenty of tears, but also smiles, as people paid their respects for these inspiring individuals. Some of the big winners included Arlyn & Linda Workman, Don Wood, Jordan Houtzel, Chad Smith, and Conrad Shada. All of these folks took home “Best” awards in their classes.
A few more standouts for us, that also got some awards, included Richie Foster’s white, silver and turquoise 2022 Peterbilt 389 and XL RGN trailer, which took home the Best Lights Combo trophy and 2nd place in his class, Terry Aslinger, who’s newly reworked 1996 Pete 379 and car-hauler trailer bagged two 2nd place trophies, and Dabney Trucking’s latest creation, brought out by Troy Manuel – a gray 2020 Kenworth W900L with orange and black stripes and a matching Westmor bottle, which also took home two 2nd place awards.
Some other trucks we liked at the show were Dave Marti’s red and white 2011 Peterbilt 389, Steve Moss’ gray and red Peterbilt 389 with a Double Eagle sleeper, and Craig Morrison’s 2013 green and cream Kenworth T660. One of my personal favorites was brought in by Jason Horning of Ephrata, PA – a dark blue Peterbilt 379 with a small flattop bunk. Featuring a black stripe and black fenders, this simple truck was super clean, and really caught my eye.
Once the awards were handed out, it was time for everyone to head home, or on to their next load. We stuck around for a bit longer to shoot pictures of all the big winners and the trucks for next year’s show shirts, then it was time for us to get to the airport and fly home. Our ten-day Summer Tour 2022 adventure was over, and now it was time to head home for some much-needed R&R. Thanks to everyone who made our trip enjoyable and memorable – you all know who you are. And congratulations to DaVeda, Reuben, Joe, and everyone else involved for putting on another fantastic event! Thanks for having us!!
BOBTAIL (2014 & NEWER): 1st Jordan Houtzel, Paxton, IL – 2019 Peterbilt 389; 2nd Doug Leistenschneider, St. Henry, OH – 2021 Peterbilt 389; 3rd Todd & Kenzie Workman, Morrison, IL – 2022 Peterbilt 389.
BOBTAIL (2006-2013): 1st Mark Fief, Momence, IL – 2007 Peterbilt 379; 2nd David Marti, Forrest, IL – 2011 Peterbilt 389; 3rd Craig Morrison, Lower Salem, OH – 2013 Kenworth T660.
BOBTAIL (2000-2005): 1st Stegall’s Truck Shop, Perryville, MO – 2003 Peterbilt 379; 2nd Michael Bolyard, St. Peter, IL – 2002 Peterbilt 379; 3rd Kale Kaufman, Onarga, IL – 2004 Kenworth T800.
BOBTAIL (1999 & OLDER): 1st Scott Hutchens, Mowequa, IL – 1999 Western Star 4964FX; 2nd Matt Nebloch, Bradley, IL – 1995 Kenworth W900; 3rd Andy Anthony, Windfall, IN – 1998 Kenworth W900.
BOBTAIL LIGHTS: 1st Randy Victory – 1986 Peterbilt 359; 2nd Drew Plumer, Toulon, IL – 1983 Kenworth W900; 3rd Jordan Houtzel, Paxton, IL – 2019 Peterbilt 389.
COMBO (2014 & NEWER): 1st Arlyn & Linda Workman, Morrison, IL – 2020 Peterbilt 389 & 2013 Mac; 2nd Richie Foster, Darlington, PA – 2022 Peterbilt 389 & 2019 XL RGN; 3rd Josh Easton, Olney, IL – 2016 Peterbilt 389 & 2022 Westmor Bottle.
COMBO (2006-2013): 1st Ben Flaugher, Cerro Gordo, IL – 2013 Kenworth W900L & 2020 Timpte Hopper; 2nd Joseph Pointer, Chesterfield, IL – 2011 Kenworth W900 & 2022 Great Dane Dry Van; 3rd Lee Campbell, Windsor, IL – 2008 Peterbilt 388 & 2021 Wilson Hopper.
COMBO (2000-2005): 1st Terry Schultz, Strasburg, IL – 2001 Peterbilt 379 & 2021 Mississippi LP; 2nd Ben Abrassart, Bradley, IL – 2000 Peterbilt 379 & 2015 Reitnouer Flatbed; 3rd Wesley Ward, Maynardville, TN – 2004 Peterbilt 379 & 2014 Mac Flatbed.
COMBO (1999 & OLDER): 1st Paul Waibel, Lexington, KY – 1999 Kenworth W900L & 2022 Reitnouer Step Deck; 2nd Terry Aslinger, Marquad, MO – 1996 Peterbilt 379 & 2020 Auto Cover; 3rd Clint Leemon, Hoopeston, IL – 1998 Kenworth W900 & 2023 Wilson Hopper.
COMBO LIGHTS: 1st Richie Foster, Darlington, PA – 2022 Peterbilt 389 & 2019 XL RGN; 2nd Terry Aslinger, Marquad, MO – 1996 Peterbilt 379 & 2020 Auto Cover; 3rd Brandon Jones, Pana, IL – 2019 Kenworth W900 & 2021 Wilson Hopper.
BOBTAIL (LIMITED MILES): 1st Matt Schreiner, Springfield, MO – 1987 Peterbilt 362; 2nd Matt Neblock, Bradley, IL – 1985 Peterbilt 362; 3rd Peter Norton, Thorntown, IN – 1991 Mack RD.
BOBTAIL LIGHTS (LIMITED MILES): 1st Matt Schreiner, Springfield, MO – 1987 Peterbilt 362; 2nd Peter Norton, Thorntown, IN – 1991 Mack RD; 3rd Don Emmons, Chesterfield, IL – 1999 Peterbilt 379.
COMBO (LIMITED MILES): 1st Chad Smith, Upper Sandusky, OH – 2019 Peterbilt 389 & 2020 Mac Dump; 2nd Troy Manuel, Decatur, IL – 2020 Kenworth W900L & 2021 Westmore Bottle; 3rd Cole Johnson, Upper Sandusky, OH – 2019 Peterbilt 389 & 2021 Muv-All RGN.
COMBO LIGHTS (LIMITED MILES): 1st Chad Smith, Upper Sandusky, OH – 2019 Peterbilt 389 & 2020 Mac Dump; 2nd Troy Manuel, Decatur, IL – 2020 Kenworth W900L & 2021 Westmor Bottle; 3rd Cole Johnson, Upper Sandusky, OH – 2019 Peterbilt 389 & 2021 Muv-All RGN.
INTERIOR: 1st Todd & Kenzie Workman, Morrison, IL – 2022 Peterbilt 389; 2nd Arlyn & Linda Workman, Morrison, IL – 2020 Peterbilt 389 & 2013 Mac Curtain; 3rd Matt Neblock, Bradley, IL – 1995 Kenworth W900.
INTERIOR (LIMITED MILES): 1st Matt Schreiner, Springfield, MO – 1987 Peterbilt 362; 2nd Peter Norton, Thorntown, IN – 1991 Mack RD; 3rd Cole Johnson, Upper Sandusky, OH – 2019 Peterbilt 389 & 2021 Muv-All RGN.
ANTIQUE: 1st Randy Menkel, Springfield, MO – 1985 Peterbilt 359; 2nd Kate Whiting, Chetek, WI – 1973 Kenworth W900A; 3rd Dill McKinney, Rogersville, AL – 1993 Peterbilt 379.
JAKE BRAKE COMPETITION: 1st David Marti, Forrest, IL; 2nd Brett Tobin, Caney, KS; 3rd Andrew Ferguson, Rensselaer, IN.
THE REITZ STUFF AWARD: Brandon Jones, Pana, IL – 2019 Kenworth W900 & 2021 Wilson Hopper.
COMPETITOR’S CHOICE: Ryan Shanahan, Grand Mound, IA – 2018 Peterbilt 389 & 2017 Reitnouer Flatbed Conestoga.
BEST WORKING BOBTAIL: Jordan Houtzel, Paxton, IL – 2019 Peterbilt 389.
BEST WORKING COMBO: Arlyn & Linda Workman, Morrison, IL – 2020 Peterbilt 389 & 2013 Mac.
BEST BOBTAIL (LIMITED MILES): Matt Schreiner, Springfield, MO – 1987 Peterbilt 362.
BEST COMBO (LIMITED MILES): Chad Smith, Upper Sandusky, OH – 2019 Peterbilt 389 & 2020 Mac.
OVER-THE-TOP BOBTAIL: 1st Conrad Shada, Anamosa, IA – 2020 Peterbilt 389; 2nd Dustin Lopedota, Franklin, IN – 1990 Peterbilt 379; 3rd Bruce Jones, Bourbonna, IL – 2000 Peterbilt 379.
OVER-THE-TOP COMBO: 1st Don Wood, Denmark, WI – 2003 Peterbilt 379 & 2021 Mac Conestoga; 2nd Ryan Shanahan, Grand Mound, IA – 2018 Peterbilt 389 & 2017 Reitnouer Flatbed Conestoga; 3rd Jesse Betz, Hilliard, OH – 2017 Kenworth W900L & 2023 Benson Flatbed.
EVENT SHIRT TRUCKS 2023: Matt Schreiner, Springfield, MO – 1987 Peterbilt 362 AND Troy Huddleston, Yale IL – 1991 Freightliner FLD.