Mid-America Round-Up
Spring time in Kentucky

To most folks, March means basketball, spring flowers, and severe weather. But to truckers, March means Louisville, KY, and the Mid-America Trucking Show, reputed to be the second largest transportation trade show in the world (topped only by the Munich, Germany, auto show). This year 1,077 exhibitors covered more than one million square feet of exhibit space with the latest in trucks, trailers, and associated products and services. More than 76,118 attended the show during its three day run. Thousands of truckers also attended concerts featuring Alabama (hosted for the twelfth straight year by Kenworth), the Beach Boys (hosted by Freightliner), and Brooks and Dunn (hosted by Volvo).

Our nomination for coolest exhibit at Mid-America. Trace Engineering submerged its top of the line inverter/charger in this giant aquarium to prove it can light this display, even in the worst conditions.

The folks at Kenworth had more than just a dazzling array of trucks to attract truckers to their booth this year. Lisa Thornhill, costar of "Eighteen Wheels of Justice" (TNN, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. CST), signed autographs on Friday. Lisa plays Cie Baxter, an extraordinary technician who oversees the Kenworth T2000 advanced technology truck that also stars in the show.

TWNA announces new officers

Results of a recent election of officers were announced at the general meeting of the Truck Writers of North America March 23, at the Mid-America Trucking show. David Kohlman (Truck Sales and Leasing magazine) who served as president of the organization for four terms, was succeeded by Rolf Lockwood (Today's Trucking). Kohlman was officially declared "out of service" and given the red tag to prove it by Land Line's technical editor, Paul Abelson.

Officers who will serve for the next two years include Lockwood, Bill Hudgins of Road King Magazine (vice-president), freelancer Bob Deierlein (secretary/treasurer), Tom Berg of Super Scribe, Inc. (director), Ruth Jones of Land Line (director), Deborah Lockridge of RoadStar (director), and Mike Pennington of Meritor (allied director).

Outgoing TWNA President David Kohlman (left) receives a gift in recognition of his service to the organization from new President Rolf Lockwood.

William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys autographs a photo for a trucker at the Mid-America Trucking Show. Golden was joined by fellow band members Duane Allen, Richard Sterban, Joe Bonsall, and trucking radio legend Bill Mack in the WBAP booth on opening day.

This Western Star featuring bold OOIDA graphics attracted a lot of attention outside the entrance to the south exhibition hall. OOIDA members are eligible to receive discounts on new Western Star trucks.

Chuck Johnston talks to truckers gathered at the OOIDA booth to take advantage of a truck show membership special and to sign petitions urging Congress to enact a mandatory fuel surcharge. More than 5,000 signatures were gathered and 830 truckers signed up for membership in OOIDA. Those new members pushed OOIDA's total membership over the 51,000 mark.

This was the second American truck show for Mark and Amanda Robinson, from Sittingbourne, Kent, England. While on holiday to Las Vegas last June, the Robinsons took in the International Trucking Show. Learning that there was an even bigger show in Louisville in March, they decided to cross the pond again to check it out. Mark has been a trucker for eleven years in England, hauling fruits and vegetables. (He met Amanda when he delivered to a warehouse where she is a supervisor.) Both Mark and Amanda are overwhelmed by the size and amenities found in U.S. trucks. In England, where many towns are hundreds of years old, cabover daycabs and short trailers are the norm.

NAST elects two to board, awards Truck-Lite trophies

The membership of the National Association of Show Trucks (NAST) met March 24 at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY. Members were updated on the reorganization that took place in January whereby former NAST president Bob Guy was appointed by the board to the associations's newly-created position of executive director. Bob will organize truck shows and sponsorships as well as oversee the day-to-day running of the association.

Members elected Roger Hogeland and Darian Stephens to fill two vacancies on the board of directors. Officers are Bob Drummond, president; Dave Sweetman, vice-president; Suzanne Stempinski, secretary; Gena Kemner, treasurer; Paul Abelson, parliamentarian; Bob Holland (Borg Warner) associate director; and Neal Holsomback, Hogeland, and Stephens, directors. Interestingly, all NAST officers are also OOIDA members with the exception of NAST associate member Paul Abelson, who is Land Line's technical editor, and Bob Holland.


Newly elected board member Darian Stephens was honored as NAST Member of the Year. The award is given to the member who has done the most to promote NAST and a positive image of truckers. The award was presented to Darian by last year's winner, associate member Bill Hudgins, editor of Road King magazine.


The highlight of the NAST meeting was the presentation of the Truck-Lite trophies to the top three show trucks of the 1999 season. Competitors for the honor receive points for each NAST show they compete in, as well as each category that they win. Points are totaled at the end of the season to determine the winners.

Tops this year were Bob and Nancy Drummond, OOIDA members from Cocoa, FL. Their wood and crystal Truck-Lite trophy featured an etching of their 1989 Kenworth "Ain't God Good?" In addition to the trophy, the Drummonds received a check for $5,000 and a promise of all new LED lights for their tractor.

Second place honors and a check for $3,000 went to W.L. Putnam. The third place trophy and a check for $2,000 went to OOIDA members Gordon and Janie Levering.