The American Truck Historical Society (ATHS) once again hosted its annual National Convention and Truck Show in Reno, NV on June 8-10, 2023. This was the second time that Reno has hosted this massive event (the last time was 2019). Held again at the Grand Sierra Resort, the show had 837 trucks on display in the various parking lots around the casino and resort, in addition to some convention halls inside. Along with the truck show, the three-day event featured an awards banquet, meetings, seminars, vendors, presentations, and assorted tours of local attractions.
Arriving on Wednesday to get our vendor space set up, Roger and Annette Ghidelli of Maggini & Son Trucking hauled out our Truckin’ For Kids (TFK) show trailer with Maggini’s amazing yellow 1962 Peterbilt with green flames. We cannot thank Roger and Annette, and the entire Maggini family, enough for everything they do for TFK and 10-4 Magazine! Parking us in a perfect spot between RoadWorks and Courtland Truck Works, we waited until Thursday morning to set everything up because the weather had been so unpredictable. We actually got rained and snowed on going over Donner Pass on I-80 when heading to Reno earlier that day, then, after we dropped off the mountain and rolled into Reno, it was like 83 degrees!
Wednesday night we enjoyed a great BBQ dinner with a bunch of friends hosted by our 10-4 Magazine partners Tim and April Sieben. They live in Reno, so we were in their hometown. Tim grilled all sorts of meats including brisket burnt ends, chicken skewers, smash burgers, and tri-tip. We were also joined by our friends and contributors John and Kim Jaikes, along with a few of their friends from Australia, and our past cover trucker and friend C.G Soza. It was a great night, filled with great food and great friends! Thank you, Tim and April (and the rest of your family) for treating us all so well.
After getting our booth set up, which included one side dedicated to 10-4 Magazine (free magazines, posters, centerfolds, and t-shirts and hats for sale), and the other side a dedicated “lounge” filled with tables and chairs for everyone to hang out, we enjoyed perfect weather until 3:00 PM, when we got an hour or two of heavy wind and rain. Once the inclement weather passed, it was back to business as usual. With a light show happening later that night, we decided to order 12 pizzas and sides, and proceeded to host a “pizza party” in our booth for anyone who wanted (it was shocking just how fast all that food went). At about 9:00 PM the light show began, and maybe half the trucks in attendance participated (these ATHS shows don’t typically have light shows, so it was kind of unusual to have one there).
Friday turned out to be kind of a slow day, in general, but the weather was nice, so we took the opportunity to drive around in the golf cart and take pictures. The quality of iron at these big ATHS national shows is phenomenal. Many of the trucks I had seen before, but there are always new things to look at and drool over. I will let the pictures do the talking here, because with over 800 trucks on the lot, trying to pick and choose favorites to talk about would be really tough.
I will say we were definitely “hanging with the cool kids” (like one of our shirts says) because the row of trucks parked in front of our booth was a who’s who in the world of cool trucks. There were two trucks from Hettinga Trans (an orange 389 Peterbilt and their cattle-pot pulling Peterbilt cabover), three yellow trucks with green flames from Maggini (one of them a past cover truck), Scott Diller’s red and black 1981 W900A (a past cover truck), Rolan Nolt’s brown 1995 W900L and matching 2014 Great Dane reefer, C.G. Soza’s red and blue car-hauling KW (a past cover truck), CJ Donovan’s amazing silver and maroon 1984 Peterbilt 362 cabover hooked to a matching 2023 Great Dane reefer, and cool trucks owned by Matt Kanagy, Nate Heiderscheit, and Nick Van Dam, just to mention a few I remember.
Although we did not attend, Friday night featured an ATHS Awards Banquet, where companies and individuals were honored for their involvement and years of service to the trucking industry. There were Golden Achievement Awards given to seven individuals and two companies with 50 or more years of service, an ATHS Distinguished Service Award given to Bobb Williamson (from Canada), a Chapter Member Service Award given to Mark and Diane Christensen (from Yucaipa, CA), and two (yes two!) 100 Year Company Awards presented to Lee and Eastes and Kenworth.
In addition to all the old antique trucks in attendance, there were also plenty of newer trucks on display, as well. There are no awards at this event, it is just a time to hang out, have some fun, and talk trucks. And having a truck show at a giant hotel and casino makes everything a little easier. You could walk to the show from your room, and there were plenty of things to do at night. If gambling wasn’t your thing, there were also great restaurants and bars, a bowling center, movie theater, laser tag, arcades and game rooms, a pool and full-service spa, stores for shopping, and even four escape rooms! But with 7,000 of our trucking friends in attendance, there really wasn’t time to partake in much besides the truck show (although we did go bowling one night).
When Saturday rolled around, it got busy outside again. Plenty of people were walking around and visiting the over 100 vendor booths and displays, which kept us on our toes all day. The weather was great again for most of the day, until about 4:00 PM, near the end of the show, when the sky opened up and rain poured down, forcing us to pack up our stuff about an hour before the show actually came to an end. And with that, the massive event was over. After we got everything packed up and put away, which took about two hours, we headed inside the resort for some dinner with friends and a little video poker at the bar in the casino, which was packed with all our trucker friends. It was a great way to end the show and the weekend.
Leaving on Sunday morning, like most folks, we said goodbye to “The Biggest Little City in the World” and headed toward home. Next year’s ATHS National Convention and Truck Show is scheduled for June 6-8, 2024, in the “White Rose City” (York, Pennsylvania). As always, for more information about this and any other ATHS shows and events across the country, visit their website at www.aths.org today.