The Waupun Truck-N-Show is an event I have attended the most since its beginning in 1990. Best guess, I have attended at least 17 of their shows. When I get to Waupun and drive into the show field, it feels like a second home to me. Every Waupun truck show I’ve attended has created many special and unique memories. The 34th Annual Waupun Truck-N-Show, held on Friday, August 11th and Saturday, August 12th, 2023, was no exception. This event provided me with new experiences for a truck show that I will share with you here in this report – but the best is yet to come!
Pre-registered rigs started arriving and getting parked Thursday, August 10th. Regular registration kicked off Friday morning throughout the day and continued through noon Saturday. The registration booth was again located on the west end of the property, near the Waupun Middle School on Spring Street, not far from the Community Center, the hub of activity during all of the show weekend. By early Saturday afternoon, over 300 pre-registered and registered trucks had been parked! The 10-4 booth was located directly across the street from the Community Center. It was a perfect location for all the foot traffic during the show and an ideal viewpoint for trucks passing by during the Saturday afternoon parade.
Trucks were registered for judging in two main categories: Bobtails and Combos. Other truck categories with separate awards consisted of pickups, antiques, dump trucks, milk trucks, straight trucks, and tow trucks. The combo groups were broken down further into several different classes including car haulers, dry vans, hopper bottoms, soft sides, and tankers. The Milk Truck category was judged, and awards were presented, on Friday night because these trucks needed to be back on the road hauling milk on Saturday. More than 25 judges with knowledge of trucks or directly involved with a truck business did the judging for the competition.
Drivers registered for this truck show spend a great deal of time before and during the show cleaning, detailing, and prepping for the judged contest. Over 100 trophies were presented to class and Best of Show winners at the awards presentation in the Community Center after the Saturday afternoon parade. All the trophies were on display in the Community Center on a flatbed trailer. Every truck registered for the Waupun Truck-N-Show was given a “Thank You” plaque for their support and participation in the truck show.
Something new and unique to this year’s judging was the Children’s Choice Awards. Kim and John Jaikes had a group of children pick their favorite trucks in the Children’s Choice Awards category and their Best of Show choice. It was fun to watch Kim and John lead these children around the show field and engage them in the judging and selection of their favorite trucks. This is a fun and creative way to get children interested in the trucking industry. Kim and John did a fantastic job with these kids!
Two highlights during the Waupun Truck-N-Show weekend are the Lights of the Night parade at 7:00 PM Friday night and the Rides of Pride parade at 12:15 PM on Saturday afternoon. The privilege of being one of the first 10 trucks in each parade comes at a price. The positions for the Lights of the Night parade are auctioned off on Friday, and the 10 positions for the Rides of Pride parade are auctioned off just before the parade on Saturday. The money raised from auctioning off these positions was donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation Wisconsin, Reach Foundation Waupun, and the Animal Shelter Foundation. The donations made to the Make-A-Wish Foundation make wishes and dreams come true for children diagnosed with serious or life-threatening illnesses.
As part of the truck show packet, a red letter was provided to all of the show participants, vendors, sponsors, and volunteers. In that letter was very interesting information provided about the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year, the Waupun Truck-N-Show was added to the “Super Stars Wall” at Make-A-Wish of Wisconsin for the significant contributions they have made over the years from this show. To qualify for this highly regarded designation, an organization must donate over $250,000. This is a huge accomplishment and something to be proud of for any truck show. This amount of money has made the wishes and dreams come true for a lot of young people diagnosed with critical illnesses. At one truck show I previously attended, a family was granted a wish to take a family vacation to Disney World in Florida, paid for by Make-A-Wish of Wisconsin. To experience this in person brings out a lot of emotion.
A variety of delicious food was prepared and offered in the Community Center by the Fox Lake Sno-Blazers Snowmobile Club. Friday featured the very popular Fish Fry dinner, prepared by the Sno-Blazers, which was made available from 4:00-8:00 PM. I have yet to partake in the Fish Fry, but I have been told by many people that it is a delicious meal at a reasonable price. It will be a priority for me to try it out on my next trip to Waupun. A favorite pizza place of mine I always make a point to visit while in Waupun is Tony’s Pizza. Their cheese bread and pizzas are outstanding!
Saturday morning, the Lions Club held its annual pancake breakfast at the Waupun Middle School cafeteria. This was my second year of partaking in the pancake breakfast and, as usual, the pancakes and sausage were delicious. It’s an all-you-can eat affair that I have not taken full advantage of, simply because I must work after breakfast. There were several food trucks parked at the truck show that offered a variety of foods and desserts. One particular food truck I made sure to visit was Ben’s Soft Pretzels. The wait was worth it, as the salted pretzel came hot out of the oven and was amazing. I liked them so much I admit to visiting their truck more than one time over the three days.
Two great bands provided live music over the weekend, with Grand Union playing Friday night from 8:30 to 11:30 PM and Sonic Circus playing Saturday night from 8:30 to 11:30 PM. There were several activities available for children that included caricature drawings by Rebecca Good, face painting by Rock Face Painting, and Children’s Choice judging. John Seidl, the owner of Trucking Wins, provided seminars Friday and Saturday in the exhibitor area on several pertinent topics to truckers.
As everyone knows, sponsors are the lifeblood for all the truck shows and events we attend. Some forty different businesses provided funding for the trophies and plaques, or direct financial support to the truck show. An additional 18 businesses provided sponsorship by donating their time or support over the show weekend. Five companies provided sponsorship for the bands who presented entertainment Friday and Saturday night in the Community Center. And, finally, 46 different vendors and businesses had exhibitor booths on the show field at the WTNS. All these sponsors combined made significant contributions of time, money, products, and services, and helped make the 34th Annual Waupun Truck-N-Show yet another memorable, unique, and successful event.
Weather at this event was typical for a midwestern summer. Most of the time days are warm to hot, with moderate to high humidity, and there is always the possibility of an afternoon or overnight storm. This year was no different on Thursday and all day Friday. By Friday afternoon, everyone was checking the weather for the evening on their phones. Word quickly spread around the show field that severe thunderstorms were forecast for around 9:00 PM on Friday night. As afternoon turned into evening, the dark clouds started rolling in from the north/northwest. The wind increased and temperatures started falling with the realization that a major storm was now moving into the area.
I have been attending truck shows for over 45 years. This was my first experience of a show being shut down, most activities cancelled for the evening, and participants being directed into a building (Community Center) for shelter and safety from the storm. Police cars were driving up and down Spring Street telling everyone on their loudspeakers to immediately move to the Community Center. All of the vendors quickly closed their trailers, took down their canopies, and shut down their booths for the evening. I believe it was the fastest I have ever dismantled the 10-4 Magazine booth! I waited out the weather in the comfort of a friend’s motorhome. The storm was intense and there were even tornado warnings, but fortunately things were not as bad as forecasted. One of the major casualties of the Friday night cancellations was the Friday Lights of the Night parade, which was a really big disappointment to everyone.
As many of you may know, this year marks the 30th anniversary of 10-4 Magazine, which started in September 1993. As part of the celebration, a poster was created with pictures of many trucks that have appeared in 10-4 Magazine over the past 30 years. Several trucks that appeared on this poster were past winners at this show in Waupun. The 34th Annual Waupun Truck-N-Show was a big hit and a success by all measures. Thanks to Nancy Kutschenreuter and the WTNS team for organizing and putting on another great event. But the best is yet to come next year, with a special 35th anniversary celebration planned for the Waupun Truck-N-Show, scheduled for August 9-10, 2024. Make plans to be there because I have a hunch it will be a very special and memorable weekend you won’t want to miss!
The Waupun Truck-N-Show has a tremendous number of classes and a lot of winners – far too many to list them all here! Following is just a short list of some of the biggest winners this year (2023), but our congratulations go out to ALL of the trophy and class winners.
Best of Show / Antique Truck:
Kate Whiting – Cherry Pie
Best of Show / Show Truck:
Tracy & Eric Bauer – Midlife Crisis
Best of Show / Working Show Truck:
Zach Strayer – Strayer Sow Farms
Best of Show / Working Truck:
Lisa & Chad Berry – Berry Trucking
Brian Pete – Pete Transport
Cameron Leet – BRT Services, LLC
Ron Vande Zande Memorial Trophy:
Munoz Brothers Trucking, Inc.
Bernie Werra Memorial Trophy:
Tracy & Eric Bauer – Midlife Crisis
Brian Lauedersdorf Memorial Trophy:
Brandon Zastrow – BZ Services
Milk Truck Winners:
Kevin Retzlaff & Adam Peppler – KR Transport