Losing a friend or loved one is always hard – especially when it happens way too soon. On the weekend of May 26-27, 2023, about 100 trucks gathered at the Jasper County Fairgrounds in Newton, Illinois to remember and honor a legend of the trucking world, Troy Huddleston, who we lost suddenly last year on June 7, 2022. The skies were full of sunshine and temperatures were in the mid-70s for a perfect weekend full of memories, laughs, and cool trucks amongst those remembering Troy.
Highlighted at the center of the show was Troy’s personal Freightliner Classic, known for its gull-wing style opening doors, parked at the center of attention where all of the fairground’s roads intersect. Flanking its left was the previous (last) RoadWorks “Unwound” show truck that Troy designed and drove. To the right was the latest truck by RoadWorks with their demo trailer. The homage to Troy was heartfelt as everyone that passed by could see the story within those few trucks.
Trucks backed in under the tall cottonwood trees along the main drive near the registration check-in while an adjacent grass lot behind the grandstand housed the rest of the trucks. Delicious smells coming from the many food trucks filled the air, joined with sounds of kids playing in the kid’s zone and playground. There was plenty to do all weekend long for the entire family.
The convoy on Friday evening was the main event and was nothing short of amazing. Every truck lined up behind the Newton Police escort and Troy’s Freightliner, driven by David McKinney, with Troy’s daughter Alivia riding beside him. The convoy traveled through the streets of Newton, out into the country, passing Troy’s home, and eventually back into town to the fairgrounds.
The town’s people lined the roads and sidewalks in lawn chairs, pick-up truck beds, and back of flatbeds as the parade of trucks slow-rolled the route. Kids and adults alike were pumping their arms and giving thumbs up as train horns blasted, Jake brakes cackled, and the chicken lights sparkled. On the roads throughout the countryside, each driveway and intersection had crowds of families and friends waiting for the procession to pass. It was awe-inspiring to see so many people come out to pay their respects. As the trucks filed back into the fairgrounds, a trail of spectators followed, to enjoy a night of lights.
The main event on Saturday night was a huge concert that featured Tony Justice, The Kentucky Headhunters, and Confederate Railroad. All the bands played their classic hits for the fans to enjoy. The music filled the fairgrounds as people were dancing and singing along as if they didn’t want the last night of this memorial event to come to an end. Saying goodbye is always hard.
This weekend was one that touched hearts in so many different ways. Whether you were a friend, family member of Troy’s, or didn’t even know him at all, you could feel the laid-back vibe and special essence in the air. There were no trophies, special awards, or notoriety. This show only had one purpose – to honor and remember Troy.
If you’re reading this, there’s a great chance that you had an opportunity to have met Troy in some capacity at a show, in a truck stop, or down at the local co-op, and if you have, you know how infectious Troy’s big personality was. He was a great ambassador for this industry, and there’s no doubt that he was there riding along with David and Alivia during the parade, and enjoying every minute. Godspeed Troy!