Special Olympics has quickly become a cause that is near and dear to the hearts of thousands of truckers. So much so that they have been turning out in force in recent years for the World’s Largest Truck Convoy to benefit Special Olympics.
The event was conceived in 2001 by Cpl. Norm Schneiderhan, special project coordinator for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. Schneiderhan, who drove a truck for about three years in his father’s trucking company before he entered the field of law enforcement, launched the event for Special Olympics as a way to call attention to the organization among truckers.
“Special Olympics has a way of bringing everyone together, setting aside differences and building atmospheres of acceptance,” said Schneiderhan. “The fact that Special Olympics can bring together law enforcement and truckers is a testament to how the athletes of Special Olympics are a true inspiration.”
The World’s Largest Truck Convoy has earned its place in the “Guinness Book of World Records.” In 2004, 1,136 truck drivers formed 24 convoys, originating from 20 U.S. states and in Alberta, Canada, and hit the road as part of the World’s Largest Truck Convoy.
The convoy distances traveled ranged from 15 to 300 miles; the latter distance is the accomplishment of the first-ever Canadian convoy, which moved across the roads from Edmonton to Calgary.
Each year, trucker ambassadors not only recruit new participants for the Convoy, but new supporters of Special Olympics as well.
This year, in an attempt to maintain status in the “Guinness Book of World Records,” law enforcement and truckers throughout the United States and Canada will join forces for the World’s Largest Truck Convoy on Sept. 24. Highways in 35 states, as well as Alberta and Ontario, Canada, will be lined with an expected 3,000 trucks as they convoy to celebrate their support of the athletes of Special Olympics.
The international fund-raising and awareness event is a unique partnership between law enforcement and truckers to raise funds for Special Olympics so they can continue to train in year-round sports activities. Officers involved in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics have made the convoy one of their annual signature events.
Trucking companies and truckers who want to participate in this year’s event can visit the Web site at worldslargesttruckconvoy.com for more information on the convoy and a registration packet for the event in their state.
Truckers are encouraged to contact the local representative in the state where they would like to take part. The state representatives can be found on the Web site. But, participants may also call (202) 628-3630 or 1-800-700-8585 for more information.
The minimum donation to participate in the Special Olympics convoy is $100 per truck. Trucking companies bid additional sponsorship funds to win the coveted spot of leading the convoy. Each leg of the convoy in each state will travel anywhere from nine to 30 miles, ending at a celebration site.