With the weather forecast looking not so favorable, fingers were crossed, and prayers were said, as folks prepared for the 11th Annual Ohio Vintage Truck Reunion. Held on June 24-25, 2023, at Ashland County Fairgrounds in Ashland, OH, there was a 40% chance of rain and thunderstorms predicted for the weekend of the truck show. But thankfully, a June miracle occurred, and it ended up raining everywhere else except at the Ashland County Fairgrounds. And the show went on to have a record-setting year!
This year there were over 323 trucks registered, breaking the previous record set in 2017 with 317 trucks. The show also featured over 200 exhibitors, a truck model contest, a dinner cruise, and memorabilia displays. Typically, this show is held over Father’s Day weekend, but they decided to push it back a week, which prompted a lot of different trucks to show up. Also, the previous weekend dates always competed with the Antique Truck Club of America show held in Macungie, Pennsylvania. By changing the dates, more people came from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
One of the first trucks to catch my eye was a 1974 Dodge Bighorn with a 750 Holmes wrecker body, owned by John Kessler of Richwood, WV. John has a bunch of old Dodge trucks in his collection, and all are in great condition. He enjoys talking to people about these trucks and hearing the stories from the guys that used to drive them. Brody and Danielle Glover of Mansfield, OH brought a gray 1988 Mack R686 ST. He and his father stretched the frame, so it had a nice wheelbase, polished tanks and wheels, and was looking great.
Next, I saw a blue and silver 1986 Freightliner FLC owned by a young man named Kyle Piscione of Burbank, OH. I started talking to Kyle’s mom and she gave me the basic history of the truck, which was a glider kit when it was new. Kyle really wanted to buy it, even though he had only been driving for a short while. Since purchasing the truck, he has been making modifications to it while working it every day. Kyle has a great attitude, and we wish him well with this old truck. He used to show cattle when he was younger, so a cow tag is painted on each side of the hood with the number 86 painted on it.
Brandon Smith of Mt. Vernon, OH came to the show in his grandson’s 1971 Ford Highboy Custom 250 4×4. With his grandson being only eight years old now, when he turns 16, he will have a very cool truck to drive. Brandon has been trucking since 1976 and has been an owner operator since 1979. I really enjoyed talking to him about trucking and the trucks he has had over the years. He also told me that he enjoys reading our magazine! Thank you, Brandon, for coming out to the show.
Chad Keegan and Dane Scott are two guys that have YouTube channels, and both attended this show. Chad recently went back out on the road and stopped for the weekend with a new trailer for J.B. Hunt, that he had just picked up at Wabash Trailer, hooked to his 1983 red, white, and blue cabover Kenworth K100C that is powered by a 350 Cummins Big Cam III and a 9-speed. Dane came out with his 1990 Peterbilt 379 called Mint Chip, which features a two-tone green paint scheme and a brown interior.
I also enjoyed talking to Trooper Dan Harrison of Medina, OH. He drives a 2009 Peterbilt 387 with a Cummins and a 13-speed that was seized during a drug bust. Trooper Harrison served in the Army as a heavy equipment operator, and after getting out of the Army he got his CDL, thinking he’d end up working for one of the mega carriers. In the end, he became an Ohio State Trooper, but he still gets to drive a big truck.
Saturday afternoon there were a few contests including a Jake Brake competition, a slow race, and a contest to determine who had the loudest horn. John Hosta with his red 1984 C-30 Chevy regular cab dually with a Detroit and a Jake Brake won the Jake Brake contest. Fitted with a 10-speed Fuller Roadranger RT 610 transmission, a Spicer 3-speed auxiliary transmission, and a Dana 70 rear axle, it looks better than an actual factory installation. But it will never be for sale, as John’s son has already claimed it! The slow drag race was won by John Dechant, and the loudest horn was won by Kevin Jones with his 1984 Peterbilt 359 with a double bunk that he works every day hauling steel.
The winners of the truck model contest were announced on Sunday. There were three categories – Youth, Novice, and Expert. In the Youth class, the winner was Brian Lorents. In the Novice category, the winner was Scott Buggrat. In the Expert category, the winner was Arthur Idler, who built a 4-axle Western Star tractor with a 3-axle jeep, along with a 3-axle RGN trailer with a 3-axle booster, and he had an International Payhauler 350 dump truck sitting on the deck as the load. Arthur builds his models in the wintertime, and it took two winters to build his entry. Great job to all those who entered.
We shall see what happens with next year’s show. They are talking about changing a few things around, such as changing the days (instead of Friday to Sunday they are considering maybe
doing it just Friday and Saturday). Three days is a long time, and many folks pack it up and leave on Saturday afternoon or night anyway. Stay tuned for further information when it becomes available. But nevertheless, I had a great time. I got to see some good old trucks, meet some awesome new people, and it didn’t rain. See, miracles do happen!