If you are looking for a fun show to campout, the annual show in Brooks, OR is the place to go. Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest is home to some of the finest trucks in the nation, and every year, at the ATHS Brooks Truck Show, I am reminded of the generations of hard-working people that came before us and made all this possible. I am also reminded of the younger generation that is now taking the wheel. This show always proves that no matter the age, we all share that same passion and pride to run cool trucks – and have fun.
Over the last decade or so, the Powerland Museum in Brooks, OR has invested a lot of time and resources into expanding their grounds and building on its infrastructure, including adding new museums, more buildings within old town, and additional camping spots. When you combine all that, you end up with a family friendly weekend getaway, sporting some of the nicest trucks, old and newer, from across the country!
This year’s two-day event officially kicked off on Friday, August 26, even though many of the trucks and campers had started arriving two to three days before the actual start of the show. This has become a trend over the years. My son Lincoln and I pulled in on Thursday, and there were already over 100 trucks there! My good friend and one of the show organizers Frank Merrill was kind enough to round up a golf cart for us, so I grabbed my camera, Lincoln jumped in the driver’s seat, and we were off.
Our first stop was Gus Hulstein’s camp, where I was able to catch up with many greats including our resident 10-4 poet Trevor Hardwick, along with his wife Alicia, and good friends Jeremy Mick, Matt Neyens, and Mike Todd. Trevor’s “tin hood” Freightliner FLC was in fine form, and Mike Todd’s white and blue 359 gentleman’s street rod absolutely blew me away! And then, to find out Mike and his dad did the build themselves, that just made his truck even cooler. It was hard to stop drooling on those trucks, including Matt Neyens’ black 359, but onward we went.
Right around the corner we ran into the Rusty Bradeen crew – Rusty, Brian Grissom, and Chuck – camped between their pressed-out lineup, which including Brian’s cool grey W900, which was fitted with some of the best lighting at the show. Further down party row we were able to catch up with the sons of a past cover feature trucker, Josh Sanaski (January 2019), as they proudly brought their dad’s rock solid black and red rat rod Pete needle nose out to show off. Definitely one of Lincoln’s favorite rigs, and one of my favorite families.
After visiting with the Sanaski family, we headed out, and before my eyes was Greg Zehner’s total homerun silver Peterbilt 362 cabover with grey stripes, with the pull trailer all decked up like the pro that Greg is. Right next to Greg was Jesse Bounds, who was blowing the hay industry away with his new Piercing Orange Roadrunner squeeze.
By now we were getting hungry, so what better place to go than the camp of Toby and Melissa Van Altvorst, where we found Toby’s kids, Spike and their younger daughter Anna, along with Toby’s parents, Ron and Teri, who drive the beautiful white and green Shamrock Kenworth A-model, restored by our friend Jeff Patterson, and featured in our August 2017 issue. Toby found the last remaining Shamrock “A” over on the Pacific Coast and snatched it up earlier last year, and then hauled it up to the show on his lowboy, all rusted out, and parked it next to his dad’s beautifully restored Shamrock A. What a treat! Thank you, guys, thanks to you, Lincoln and I didn’t starve.
After filling our bellies, we went over the trolley tracks to the vintage side of the show and filled our eyes up with a bevy of amazing old iron. Along the way, we ran into many great icons in the industry including past cover trucker Ed Rocha (September 2005) and his row of sharp two-tone blue beauties, past cover trucker Larry Lemmons (January 2021), who was in full swing with his flawless fleet of rare restorations, along with his crew, Wes and his son Kurtis, and past cover trucker Jeff Zonneveld (September 2010), who brought out his dark green 1976 Pete 359 dry van truck and trailer. The Van Dyke family was in fine form, like they have done at this event for over 25 years, since the show was in just one field, and had maybe 50 trucks.
We continued to cruise around, like always, in awe, checking out Kris Pickle and his cool group of at least four of his JK Pickle Trucking rigs, my buddy Willy Shapeley and his classically cool red 359 Pete with a full load of wood, and Bryan Semingson of Semi Inc. and his clean lineup of red and white trucks. We also ran into our friends Clyde and Melody Green, who always treat me and my son like their own, and this time was no different. Lincoln jumped up into Clyde’s cab and, with a big smile on his face, Clyde let me take a little rip around the lot in their truck with just the two of us. A priceless memory.
There were so many cool rides at this show it would be very hard to mention them all – but I’ll mention one more – one of the best lowbedders in the PNW, Derek Louvring, and his clean black Kenworth T800, loaded to the gills with a massive Caterpillar D11T crawler dozer. With 360 total trucks in attendance, they beat their past record by three trucks! Wow!! And the light show on Friday night, man, it was epic!!! While riding around we came across one of the best industrial photographers in the land – Colby Williams and his team, Travis Gallatin and Cody Reeder – and I had to admit, “Guys, you are all way better at photography than me, so can we use some of your images?” Colby and crew, thank you for providing many of the great photos for this report.
Packed with campers and trucks, this year’s Brooks Truck Show was one for the books. It has such a fun, laid back vibe, in part because there are basically no awards, except a few, sponsored by Schott Parts and Accessories, that are voted on by the public with tickets they purchase, to raise money for charity. With an area devoted to the old iron and a section “across the tracks” (literally) for the younger crowd, this show is just a good ol’ party and a cool campout for everyone who has a passion for trucks and trucking – no matter their age. If you missed it or have never gone, we hope to see you next year!