The 3rd Annual Soza Memorial Truck Show was another success that raised both awareness and money for Dyslexia testing, care, and treatment. Every year this event gets better and show founders CG and Ashleigh Soza work hard to make it bigger and more fun than the previous year. Held on September 29 through October 1, 2023 (it was previously held in June), at a new location in Turlock, CA, this show had over 100 registered trucks, about 50 competitors in the new truck and tractor pull event, more vendors, more raffle prizes, and so much great food. CG and Ashleigh outdid themselves again.
The event was created by past 10-4 cover trucker CG Soza (December 2021) in memory of his son, AJ Soza, who suffered from dyslexia and passed away in a traffic accident while traveling to his tutoring program. CG established the AJ Soza Dyslexia Foundation Inc. (a 501c3 nonprofit organization) to assist parents who cannot afford the special tutoring and travel to dyslexia programs in and around Merced County in California. Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects reading, writing, and spelling. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people have dyslexia, and it can make it difficult to succeed in school and in life without some type of supplementary education.
This year’s event, which was moved to late September in search of better weather, was held at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds where there was more grass and more space. We arrived at the fairgrounds on Thursday night, the day before the show officially opened, along with Roger and Annette Ghidelli, who brought out the Maggini show truck and our 53-foot TFK show trailer.
My wife April and I brought our travel trailer and camped on-site at the location, which was really convenient. The rest of the crew, Dan and Shannon, arrived on Friday morning, and John Testa and Miss Julia got there later that day. Set up next to PDI’s show truck combination, the two of us looked pretty good parked out on the grass together, even though we were both a little off the beaten path from the other vendors.
Despite light rain on Saturday morning, the weather was otherwise nice, and spectators came out regardless to see the trucks and enjoy the annual event. At this year’s show, there were also 14 custom pickup trucks – some lifted and some lowered – competing in their own little competition on Saturday. Dozens of raffle prizes were given away, as well, including a rolling toolbox, an NFL football signed by 49er’s George Kittle, a baseball signed by members of the San Francisco Giants, Yeti cups and coolers, all sorts of miscellaneous gift baskets and, of course, a lot of truck chrome. Big thanks to Jeff Delacy for carving and donating yet another cool wooden truck. This year’s truck was a 379 Peterbilt hooked to a step deck. This is the third truck that Jeff has made and donated to the Soza truck show.
New this year was the addition of an exciting truck and tractor pull event on Saturday night that brought out local and regional drivers, pulling a weighted sled, with a lot of horsepower. Previously, I had only seen this on TV, so watching these up close, seeing the smoke and hearing the engines roar, was so much more fun and interesting. The pulls had 14 classes and lots of entrants. Although hard rain began falling halfway through the event, they continued until the end (it was about a four hour deal in total). The grandstands were about 2/3 full, and it was a good time, that finished with an amazing light show to end the day.
In addition to 10-4 Magazine and PDI, a shout out to all the vendors that took part in the event, which included Smith Chevrolet, Bobtail Apparel, 10 Lug Mafia, Tammy Ratajczak Scentsy, Aligntec, Borrachos Apparel, Prickly B Designs, Stay Loaded Apparel, Freitas Signs, West-Mark, Double E Trucking, Garage Built Kustoms, Bonander, E-Z Pilot, Pacific Auto Center, SicRigz By Caliva, Murgreen Consulting, Western Pacific Truck School, Elite Image, A&L Truck Supply, The Magnet Guy, Cab Air Systems, ITC Trucks, Keyes Truck Center, Northern Refrigerated and Pape Kenworth. Thank you, vendors.
This year had more food, and the variety of choices were awesome. With food vendors like Saucin’ It Up Fried Chicken, Crush It Lemonade, Fancy Sweets 209, Hillbillies Chillin, Dale’s Gourmet Kettle Popcorn, Big Boys BBQ, El Comalon, M&J Culinary Creations, The Mini Pancake Factory, Zodiac Drinkz, and Pro Mix 559, I put on five extra pounds just trying a little of everything.
Some of the show’s big winners included Double E Trucking, with a few different trucks earning Best Tanker, Best Interior, Best Fleet, Best of Show and People’s Choice, and our recent November 2023 cover truckers, Bert and Lisa Greene of Greene Trucking, who went home with trophies for Best Lights, Best Engine, Best Construction, and the coveted Competitor’s Choice for their cool white and purple Peterbilt and MAC end dump. North Coast Wine took a few trophies home, as well, including Best Professional Show Truck. Another notable winner was our current cover trucker, Kenny Campos at Heet Trucking, who won the Best Freightliner award.
“We were pleased with the turnout this year,” said CG. “It’s very important to raise awareness about dyslexia, and we’re grateful to everyone who came out to support the foundation. I would also like to mention my wife Ashleigh, my son CJ, and all our volunteers for the many hours and hard work they all put in to make this event successful.” Brian Massetti, owner of MLM Motorsports, who put on the truck and tractor pulls, was shocked when the winners of the pulls offered 100% of their earnings back to the AJ Soza Dyslexia Foundation. The fundraiser raised about $30,000 this year, which will be used to support many programs, as well as financially assist those who can’t afford treatment.
Plans for next year include the same venue and the same date, basically, being the last weekend in September. And yes, there will be a truck and tractor pull again in 2024! Also, next year, they plan to have all the great things from this year again, including the live band, the DJ, and even more vendors. With the space allowed at this new venue, there is plenty of room for growth, and CG said he expects that Ashleigh will want to add something new to make the 2024 event bigger and better than all the previous years. We’re looking forward to seeing what she comes up with! This year’s truck show winners were…
TANKER COMBO: 1st Double E Trucking; 2nd North Coast Wine; 3rd Joe Gomes & Sons.
CATTLE TRUCK: 1st J.M. Mascaro; 2nd Scooby Mancia; 3rd 406 Livestock.
REEFER/DRY VAN COMBO: 1st Mario Moreno; 2nd Airbourne Logistics; 3rd SSB Transport.
FLATBED/CURTAIN SIDES: 1st Double E Trucking; Stingray Transport; 3rd Arreche Hay.
CONSTRUCTION: 1st Greene Trucking; 2nd Silva Trucking; 3rd Silva Trucking.
SPECIALTY: 1st C. Rocha Enterprises; 2nd West Coast Hauling; 3rd Arreche Hay.
TOW TRUCK: 1st 40 Transport; 2nd All Brauns Towing.
LIGHTS: 1st Greene Trucking; 2nd North Coast Wine; 3rd Silva Trucking.
FREIGHTLINER: 1st Heet Trucking; 2nd C.R. England.
KENWORTH: 1st Figueroa Trucking; 2nd Dedicated Trucking; 3rd David Lopez.
PETERBILT (1991-2000): 1st Lil Ray’s Transport.
PETERBILT (2001 & NEWER): 1st North Coast Wine; 2nd Harvey Trucking; 3rd ARJR Trucking.
NON-WORKING ANTIQUE: 1st Lil Ray’s Transport; 2nd Jerry Salinas; 3rd Maggini & Son Trucking.
BEST WORKING ANTIQUE: Stan Alles Transport.
PRIDE IN YOUR RIDE – BEST COMPANY TRUCK: 1st Jeff Seidman of Vernon Transportation; 2nd Juan Martinez of Vernon Transportation.
BEST HOT SHOT: Saltwater Transport.
BEST POLISH: Stingray Transport.
BEST PAINT: ARJR Trucking.
BEST INTERIOR: Double E Trucking.
BEST ENGINE: Greene Trucking.
BEST LADY TRUCKER: Kellie Cone.
BEST FLEET: Double E Trucking.
KID’S CHOICE: ARJR Trucking.
AJ’S BEST PICKUP CHOICE: Marcio Leal.
AJ’S BEST SEMI CHOICE: Bruce Cone Trucking.
BEST PICKUP: Mike Lopes, Valley Vibes.
BEST PROFESSIONAL SHOW TRUCK: North Coast Wine.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Double E Trucking.
COMPETITOR’S CHOICE: Bert & Lisa Greene of Greene Trucking.