MATS
Convoy for Special Olympics

By Jami Jones
senior editor

 

When the halls clear at the Mid-America Trucking Show each year, it’s a little sad it’s over and almost a little anticlimactic.

That is, until this year.

The Inaugural Parade of Lights Convoy to benefit Special Olympics Kentucky was held following the close of the show March 27. It not only was the perfect end to the 2010 edition of the Mid-America Trucking Show, but was also the perfect beginning for a new tradition.

Louisville’s downtown was treated to an awe-inspiring convoy of 73 trucks that circled downtown. Horns blaring. Lights flashing. Smiles and waves from everyone – participants and spectators alike.

It was a very special event for me. I was asked by Cpl. Norm Schneiderhan and Cindy Stowe to be one of the two honorary Grand Marshals for the event. The other was Toby Young, president of Exhibit Management Associates and the man behind the Louisville truck show. Toby got hung up at the Expo Center with exhibitors making their mass exodus. But I know he rode along with us in spirit.

Norm auctioned off the lead truck and me as a passenger at the driver’s meeting. I couldn’t have been more happy to raise $250 for the Kentucky Special Olympics and to be so honored to ride in the lead truck with Vickie Youngs.

Vickie is a 23-year trucking veteran with 2 million safe miles behind her – and it was just a bonus that she is an OOIDA life member. Vickie and I swapped grins and stories all the way around the city.

It was a great time, made extra-special by one of the neatest women I’ve met in a long time. Thanks for the ride, Vickie.

Land Line’s State Legislative Editor Keith Goble hitched a ride with OOIDA Life Member Lee Strebel, and Managing Editor Sandi Soendker rode in a chase car taking videos and photos of the event. Member Dave Smith was at the wheel of the escort, while Sandi and Member William Ringstaff shot pics and video out the open back.

After we returned, we announced that 73 trucks participated in the Convoy, including OOIDA’s Spirit truck piloted by Life Member Bill Rode. At press time, final numbers still hadn’t been tallied because of all the extra donations and such, but I know they raised around $3,000 to benefit Special Olympics.

We finished off the night with good food, good friends and great music thanks to Leland Martin.

A shtick with the Leland-ettes – Douglas Weber, Daniel Porter and Don Kissinger cartoonishly costumed as women – singing backup on “She Rules the Roost” drew a lot of laughs.

However, they were certainly upstaged by 3-year-old Zephany Bolduc.

Zephany, daughter of OOIDA Members Richard and Jennifer Bolduc, joined Leland on stage and belted out lines to her favorite song “Royal Purple Peterbilt.” I suspect Leland would share a mic with her just about any time.

As we left the parking lot, I couldn’t help but think to myself that there couldn’t have been a better way to end a Mid-America Trucking Show. LL   

jami_jones@landlinemag.com

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