By Suzanne Stempinski
I’ve been part of the trucking industry since the 1980s – longer than some, not as long as others. I learned to drive when big trucks with small sleepers pulled 45-foot trailers and the maximum weight on most roads was 73,280 pounds.
One thing that has been a constant in all those years is the need to be in Louisville, KY, in March of every year for the Mid-America Trucking Show. That’s the place where new equipment is introduced, new technology is hailed, opportunities are unveiled and dreams come to life.
It’s a place where hope rises and friends who have become family reconnect.
When I was new to the industry, I’d hear people talk about heading to Louisville – pronounced Looavull or Luvull or Louieville. And they assumed you knew what they were talking about.
“What’s so special about Louisville?” I asked. “Can you get a good load there?”
“Maybe,” was the reply. But that’s not why truckers go there.
I learned it’s not just a place, it’s THE place. It’s THE show.
I was told: “It’s where you go when you want to find out about what’s going on in trucking. It’s where you go to look for new trucks or at shiny trucks or whatever.” It sounded intriguing. It took a few years to get there, but once my wheels rolled onto the parking lot at the Kentucky Fairgrounds and Exposition Center, I never looked back – only forward to the next opportunity to be there.
The years have been defined by the time frame in relation to Louisville, i.e., “only three weeks to Looavull,” or “what did they say about [insert trucking topic here] in Louieville?” Or, “six more months till Louisville, I wonder if we’ll see so-and-so before then.”
Technology raced out of the gate and changed so many pieces of our world. We’re no longer relying on pay phones, snail mail boxes and CB radios to tell us what’s going on down the road. Instead, it’s cell phones and the Internet and satellite radio keeping us up to date. We won’t just be filing copy, we’ll be blogging.
Regardless of the weather, the winds of change or the weight of the loads we haul, it’s spring and all roads lead to Louisville. I’ll see you there. LL