Mid-America Trucking Show
Memories are made of this

Before the month of March made its exit, the trucking industry converged on Louisville for the largest trucking show in the world, the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS). As usual, the show was a spectacle, featuring 1,000,000 square feet of exhibit space and more than 1,000 exhibiting companies.

Hundreds of truckers and owner-operators visited the OOIDA/Land Line booth in the east wing of the Expo Center and signed a petition urging the Bush administration to continue to leave the border closed to Mexican trucks. Members stopped by to visit and renew memberships, and new members found their way to the booth to sign up. (If you didn’t get a chance to experience MATS this year and still want to sign the petition, go to the “Washington Insider” column in this issue.) At the end of the show, OOIDA reported more than 1,100 memberships paid (new and renewals).

One of the highlights of the show, as always, was the stunning array of show trucks. More than 125 trucks were on hand for the Stars & Stripes Show Truck Series championship and the Paul K. Young Memorial Truck Beauty Show. Both events were put on by Newport Communications and the National Association of Show Trucks (NAST).

Memories were definitely made of this. The more-than-ever cash awards at the national runoff saw two checks in the amount of $30,000 each go to first place in Stars & Stripes (bobtail and combo). Second place finishers earned $15,000; third place winners scored $10,000 each; fourth place took home $6,000 each; fifth place finishers walked out with $4,000 and sixth place winners took home $3,000 each. Even finalists (7th-15th) were awarded checks for $1,000 each. Here are the winners:


Stars & Stripes Championship winners

Combo – Marvin and Barb Knight won first place with their 1999 KW “Almost Paradise”
2nd - Kermit Gribble
3rd - Ryan Radtke
4th - Bob and Nancy Drummond
5th - Billy Baker
6th - Brian Dreher

Bobtail - Jerry Asbury won first place 
with his 1999 KW W900L
2nd - (tie) Mike Duffy and Darian Stephens
4th - Sam Watson
5th - Jeff Boyd
6th - Thomas Smith

Paul Abelson, Land Line's technical editor and board member of the National Association of Show Trucks, announced winners on behalf of Truck-Lite at the NAST awards ceremony.

Paul K. Young Memorial Truck Beauty Show winners
Best of Show:Charles and Carol Grimes
Best of Show Combo: CBF Trucking, driver Clarence Falk
Combo New Truck:
1st - Rhett Butler Trucking, driver Larry Weaver
2nd - Buddy Smith, driver Chad Smith
3rd - Craig E. Britton
Combo 99 & newer:
1st - Vladimir Bilik Jr.
2nd - Dan & Katie Kimball
3rd - Ed Stroh
Combo 95-98:
1st (tie) - W.J. Thornton and Joe Switzenberg
Bobtail new truck:
1st - Buzz and Carol Sweeden
2nd - Curtis Stolz
3rd - Brian McGowen
Bobtail 99 & newer:
1st - Charles & Carol Grimes
2nd - Ned & Stephanie Kontogouris
3rd - Ron & Jan Huey
Bobtail 95-98:
1st - Norman Pike
2nd - Dennis Bradbury
Combo New Truck:
1st - Rhett Butler Trucking, driver Larry Weaver
2nd - Buddy Smith, driver Chad Smith
3rd - Craig E. Britton 
Bobtail New Truck:
1st - Buzz & Carol Sweeden
2nd - Curtis Stoltz
3rd - Brian McGowen 
Combo 99 & Newer:
1st - Vladimir Bilik Jr.
2nd - Dan & Katie Kimball
3rd - Ed Stroh 
Bobtail 99 & Newer:
1st - Charles & Carol Grimes
2nd - Ned & Stephanie Kontogouris
3rd - Ron & Jan Huey 
Combo 95-98:
1st (tie) - W.J. Thornton
1st (tie) - Joe Switzenberg
2nd - David Greer
3rd - Chris Burke 
Bobtail 95-98:
1st - Norman Pike
2nd - Dennis Bradbury
3rd - Earl Peterson 
Combo 86-94:
1st - Jerry Altadonna
2nd - Kevin Bradford
3rd - Steve Linnekin 
Bobtail 86-94:
1st Double J Enterprises, driver Jerry Jeffries
2nd Allen & Son, driver Martin Allen
3rd Tim Thornhill, driver Justin Thornhill 
Combo 76-85:
1st Bill Warner Jr.
2nd. Andy Vanes
3rd King of the Road, W.L. & Dottie Putnam 
Bobtail 76-85:
1st - Jeff Tidey & Jon Tidey
2nd - Craig Balvin
3rd - David Cramer 
Company Truck Combo:
1st - CBF Trucking, driver Clarence Falk
2nd - Steelcase, driver Rich Van Dyken
3rd - JKE II Express, Vince Santana
Company Truck Bobtail:
1st - Butch Broad/Elmers Crane, driver Jamie Cade
2nd - Grayson Mitchell Inc., driver Mac Taylor
3rd - R.K. Transport Inc., driver Jeff Wheeler
Specialized Class Combo:
1st - Regis Beaudoin, driver Cory Kastner
2nd - Yarber Express, driver Will Yarber
3rd - Long Motor Carrier, Bob Long 
Specialized Class Bobtail
1st - Ernie Vole
2nd - Yarber Express, Bill & Jeannette Yarber
3rd - Spring Grove Equipment, Kenny Mullins 
Professional Show Truck:
1st - Brandon Niesen
2nd - Auggie’s Auto Carriers, Auggie Burns
(no third place) 
Antique/Non-Working (76 or older):
1st - Harlan Beer, Dutch Hamman
2nd - James Stewart
3rd - Rich & Hean Gingerich 
First Show Combo:
1st - Joe Switzenberg
2nd - Steelcase Inc., Jerry Woodcox
3rd - Sheldon Cross
First Show Bobtail:
1st - Woodard Transportation, Melissa Woodard
2nd - DeVore Trucking, Brian Shaw
3rd - Simons Trucking, Ryan M. Avenarius 
Custom Sleeper:
1st - Bradley & Sparkey Teitler
2nd - Manny & Trudy Serrano
3rd (tie) - Duplainville Transport, Chuck Karnitz
3rd (tie) - King of the Road, W.L. & Dotty Putnam
3rd (tie) - Woodard Trans., Melissa Woodard 
OEM Sleeper:
1st - Charles & Carol Grimes
2nd - Dale Murray
3rd - CBF Trucking, Clarence Falk 
Custom Paint/Mural Combo:
1st - CBF Trucking, Clarence Falk
2nd - Duplainville Transport, Chuck Karnitz
3rd (tie) - Bill Warner Jr.
3rd (tie) - Buddy Smith owner, Chad Smith competitor
3rd (tie) - David Geer 
Custom Paint/Mural Bobtail:
1st - Bradley & Sparkey Teitler
2nd - Lindeman, George Koke
(no third place) 
1st - L. Blondeau & Sons, David Blondeau
2nd (tie) - Earl Peterson
2nd (tie) - Brian McGowan 
Custom Paint/Graphics Bobtail:
1st - Ned & Stephanie Kontogouris
2nd - Charles & Carol Grimes
3rd - Brian McGowan 
Lights Combo:
1st - Buddy Smith owner, Chad Smith competitor
2nd - L. Blondeau & Sons, David Blondeau
3rd (tie) - A.J. Leonhard
3rd (tie) - Lee Trucking, Robert Emfinger
3rd (tie) - Chris Burke 
Lights Bobtail:
1st (tie) - Charles & Carol Grimes
1st (tie) - Dennis Bradbury
2nd (tie) - Brandon Niesen
2nd (tie) - Dale Murray



by Paul Abelson, technical editor

One of my favorite things to do at the Mid-America Trucking Show is to walk the show floor in search of the really new and exciting products. I’m happy to find smaller manufacturers who may not know how to put on press conferences or write sophisticated news releases, but in the true American entrepreneurial spirit, they have developed products that can improve a driver’s safety, workload and life.

For example, Matson U.S.A. (www.matson-usa.com) has a line of surge protectors for your truck. Besides the laptop computer or cell phone you may have on charge in your cab, your truck has all sorts of built-in computers, monitors and sensors. Do you know what happens to a microprocessor when it’s hit by a voltage surge? It gives a whole new meaning to the words, “fried chips.” If your jumper cables get reversed, or some shop is working on your truck and a tool falls on a battery, you could wind up with a cooked engine control unit. To avoid these problems, try Matson’s AntiZap, a surge protector for your truck. It protects from the sudden current jumps that can knock out your rig’s sensitive electronics. The surge and polarity protector comes in several configurations. There are protective booster cables, service modules to be hooked-up when the truck is in the shop, and permanent protectors that install at the battery.

Here’s one I really like, because it saves work. Taking your truck’s temperature can tell you quite a bit about its condition. For example, you can make your post trip inspections as easy as possible and still be thorough. Raytek (www.raytek.com) makes a line of handheld, infrared heat sensors. They read an area less than three-quarters of an inch in diameter at 3 feet. Temperatures and temperature differentials can tell you about how your tires are inflated. Just read your tire temperatures just as soon as you shut down. Find one that’s noticeably hotter than the others, and you know you have one low on air. Zap your wheels to find a hot brake drum, or do your radiator in several places to double check coolant levels. There are many checks you can perform in little more than the time it takes to walk around your truck. Raytek has models for every budget, from the occasional user to the maintenance professional, but all are accurate within a fraction of a degree. I like the idea so much, I’m going to get a Raytek unit to test. I’ll let you know what I think in a few issues.

Maybe you’re a show trucker. Maybe you just like to decorate your rig. Either way, Cathode Lights, made of polycarbonate by American Superlite (www.super-lite.com), will give you the newest look in lighting. Be the first on your block to show up with these attractive tubular lights. They come in 12", 19" and 27" lengths, or custom sizes up to 48". You can use a cool white light as a work light or reading lamp inside your reefer, dry van or cab. Red or amber lights will look good on your trailer. For accents and highlights, try hiding green, blue or purple lights to reflect from toolboxes and fuel tanks, or use Cathode Lights under the hood. They’re shock and impact resistant and rated for a million hours.

Ever wish you could glue things together, but you couldn’t find any adhesive that would hold the materials you had? Even cyanoacrylate (Bet you know it by its popular trademarks, Super Glue or Crazy Glue.) won’t bond everything. PRS Technologies had a small booth along the back wall, where the owner demonstrated Cool Chem, a line of cyanopoxy adhesives. They bond even the most difficult materials. After using a conditioner, the product even glued blocks of Teflon to various materials and to other Teflon. Cool Chem is a multi-part adhesive with a surface conditioner, a treatment and an activator, all in a kit. Replacements are available individually. There’s even a de-bonder if you wind up gluing your fingers to something. The system isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s not bad for an industrial grade adhesive system. And I’ve never seen an adhesive do what this one does.

Turning corners in an 18-wheeler is challenging enough, but it’s doubly difficult at night when you can’t see where your tandems are. Lari-Jo Inc. (www.lari-jo.com) has a solution. Their Tandem Lighter floodlight mounts behind the trailer wheels. There’s one for each side. The lights point forward, downward and slightly outward. They come on only when running lights are on, and when the turn signal is activated. They stay on until four seconds after the turn signal is canceled. Aimed properly, the Tandem Lighter lamps illuminate the area ahead and to the side of the wheels, letting you see any curbs or obstacles. And for the rookies who forget to cancel their turn indicators, the light in the mirror will be a good reminder. Each lamp houses all electronics, and has three wires to connect: power, signal and ground. Instructions, of course, are included.

High intensity discharge (HID) headlamps are found on Mercedes, Lexus, BMW and other premium cars. They really help nighttime visibility, with very little stray light. When drivers complain about glare from blue-white lights those usually are not HIDs, but blue-tinted halogen lamps that are often out of adjustment. HID lamps give a whiter, brighter, more even light with less glare when properly aimed. Until now, they’ve only been available as engineered-in OEM equipment. At the show, Osram Sylvania (www.sylvania.com) introduced XENARC HID upgrades for popular sealed-beam set-ups. They replace halogen and incandescent lighting. Direct replacements are available for round and rectangular two-lamp systems, and round and rectangular four-lamp systems. The lights are a great improvement, especially for elderly drivers who, by our 60s, have lost a significant share of night vision. The lamps are self-contained, except for a ballast, located between the relay and the lamp. The lamps are expensive, but the improvement is worthwhile. Also, the XENARC headlamps may never need changing.

Motorized mirrors are a good idea, but not if you have to take your attention from the road to aim them. Smart Mirror from Lucerix (www.lucerix.com) electrically measures the angle between tractor and trailer. A computer controls the motor that keeps the west coast mirror aimed at the rear corner of the trailer. You get the benefits of a motorized mirror, without the need to work the switch. You see what you need to, when you need to, without the distraction.

Finally, we had a muffler war at Mid-America. Not a real war, but three muffler companies showed new products, and all promise to improve appearance, performance and economy. Tenneco Automotive’s Walker brand showed the Mega-Flow Noisebraker double-metalized muffler said to reduce backpressure as much as 60 percent while lowering sound levels, compared to OEM installations. ArvinMeritor introduced the Spiralite muffler in polished stainless with a spiral pattern around the outside. The spiral flow is said to lower backpressure, while the lighter weight construction improves productivity. The stainless steel Liberator muffler from Advanced Exhaust Technologies (www.liberatormuffler.com) claims to cut turbo lag while reducing backpressure enough to provide a 0.3 mpg fuel economy increase, or more. The Liberator’s unique conical top (most mufflers have a squared-off design) helps dress-up a truck, too.

Those are my picks from the floor of this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show. If you have any questions about the products or why I chose them, contact me at truckwriter@netscape.net. I look forward to hearing from you.