By Sandi Soendker, managing editor
OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz was bragging the Monday morning following MATS that he had been “auctioned off” at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville on Saturday, April 2. So much for “what goes on in Louisville stays in Louisville.”
However, it seems that it’s all true and it all had to do with a fundraising convoy event for Special Olympics Kentucky instituted by Cpl. Norm Schneiderhan and a group of volunteers known as “Highway Angels.” Norm says every single one of the 20 angels working the event were OOIDA members.
On Saturday night, April 2, 46 trucks convoyed to raise more than $2,700.
As official Grand Marshal of the second annual convoy, OOIDA’s Rajkovacz was “sold” for $150 and rode with Bill Rode, Eagle, ID, in the OOIDA tour truck. MATS show manager Toby Young was also a Grand Marshal.
Truckers paid a $100 registration fee to participate in a drive around the Louisville area. Entrance fees support Special Olympics Kentucky. Norm told me afterward that a taxi driver from Louisville came out and paid $50 to ride in a truck. “He always wanted to ride in a big truck,” said Norm, “and he wanted to donate to Special Olympics Kentucky.”
Seven Special Olympics athletes got a large charge from riding in the large car convoy. The line of eighteen-wheelers left Papa John’s Cardinal stadium about sundown and gave Louisville – and the athletes – a glimpse of a real live convoy. They rolled around the city of Louisville, then circled back to Papa John’s stadium. One of the athletes rode with Rode and Rajkovacz.
“The Spirit of the American Trucker,” with Rode at the wheel, was the second truck in the convoy. The honor of being the lead truck belonged to Fikes Trucking, who outbid everyone else.
In addition to the participation in the convoy, Fikes Truck Line and its sister company, FTL Logistics, donated a van trailer to Schneiderhan and his group of volunteer truckers. The trailer will be used to transport cooking equipment for benefit meals, including the lunch hosted during MATS. Fikes and FTL are also covering expenses for the brats and soft drinks so that lunch donations can directly support two charitable causes focused on driver health.
For such a great cause – and because we heard the food was top-notch – we had to make a donation and experience the charcoal-grilled burgers with orange blossom BBQ sauce. Kentucky Pork Producers won’t like this, but I actually liked it more than their famous pork chop sammich.
This year’s proceeds of the Fikes/FTL food wagon will benefit the St. Christopher’s Fund and the Medical Resource Vehicle (MeRV), a mobile health education and screening unit. LL