MATS 2015: What's happenin' at Papa John's parking lot?

By Land Line staff | 3/10/2015

The Mid-America Trucking Show scheduled for March 26-28 in Louisville is expected to draw more than 70,000 attendees. While truckers are not cruising the aisles of the Kentucky Expo Center, you may find them hanging out at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium parking lot. If you haven’t experienced this side of MATS, it’s quite the social affair.

Show management has a contract with the University of Louisville for trucker guests to use the parking lot at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Some of the industry’s main charitable groups meet early in the year and work out who is doing what and where activities will take place.

No vendors are allowed to actively sell anything on the lot. And while there’s plenty of food and coffee, it’s served up free by volunteers who set up “mess halls” and little cafes everywhere. Donations are welcome.

No activities are scheduled at Papa John’s until the show at the Expo Center wraps up for the day. The Mid-America Trucking Show closes at 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at 4 p.m. on Saturday. After that, the party is on.

TravelCenters of America is once again an official sponsor of the Papa John’s parking lot this year and will again have a temperature-controlled shower trailer. As a special treat for its UltraOne trucking customers, TA and Petro will have a temperature-controlled shower trailer. Showers are free for UltraOne platinum members; $3 for active UltraOne cardholders; and $8 for non-UltraOne drivers. If you sign up for UltraOne, it’s only $5. The shower trailer offers eight showers per half-hour time slots and that includes cleaning time for the porters. You must be a CDL holder to use the showers.

TA and Petro Marketing Manager Joan O’Clair says per drivers’ requests last year, TravelCenters is extending the available shower times (earlier in the morning and later in the evening) to accommodate drivers’ schedules during the show. TravelCenters is also making the shower reservation process easier, by offering the option to reserve from out in the lot as well as in the TA and Petro booth No. 19156 in the Expo Center.

The other official sponsor is Daimler Trucks North America. DTNA will be part of the Papa John’s party with a hospitality trailer on site, where you can get a hot cup of coffee and meet the Team Run Smart Pros – Bob and Linda Caffee, Joey Slaughter, Jimmy Nevarez, Henry Albert and Jeff Clark. All are OOIDA members.

As always, plenty of events are being planned, starting off with karaoke night Wednesday on the OOIDA stage. Trucker charities are planning events for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Groups involved include Jacob Russell Boulanger Memorial (JRBM) Fund and Truckers United for Charities, and the Just Because group (JBC). Trucker Charity and Operation Roger are participating as well.

JRBM is also planning a silent auction from Thursday through Saturday. JRBM’s Dean Owens says to expect even better items this year. “We will also be having giveaways each day of electronics and other trucking-related items at our booth. For those who want a chance at these giveaways, people will have to register at our booth No. 72105,” says Owens. 

Trucker Charity will have their annual auction at 7 p.m. on Saturday night. All of the groups once again will be accepting donations of canned nonperishable foods for the local homeless shelters in the Louisville area.

After the show at the Expo Center wraps up on Thursday, March 26, Trucking Solutions Group will gather for their annual Driver Health Walk. TSG’s Scott Grenerth and Linda Caffee, both OOIDA members, will be in charge of this event. Caffee says the walk will be held at Papa John’s as it was last year. Walkers will meet at the main stage by the OOIDA trailer at 6:45 p.m. and at 7 p.m. will walk to Churchill Downs and back. That’s about 1.5 miles.

Papa John’s will be the place to catch good performers belting out some of your favorite truck drivin’ songs. Joey Holiday will be set up to perform 5-7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday evenings. On Thursday and Friday night, more music.

“Friday night is the big drag race once again with proceeds going to two charities to be named,” says JBC’s Kim Schmidt.

The music on Friday night will be on the OOIDA stage. Bring your lawn chairs and get ready for great entertainment, emceed by Marcia Campbell of WSM-AM’s “All Nighter” and Mark Reddig of “Land Line Now.” Marcia will bring her Truckers Talent Spotlight to the stage.

OOIDA is sponsoring the main stage again this year, and Saturday night’s concert will feature OOIDA Member Tony Justice, popular singer and second-generation trucker from Dandridge, Tenn.

The 15th Annual National Day of Prayer for Truckers is planned for 6 p.m. Saturday, March 28, in the parking lot. It’s sponsored by TransAlive USA, Truckstop Ministries Inc., Transport for Christ, and the Mid-America Trucking Show/Exhibit Management Associates of Louisville.
Chaplain Joe Hunter, president of Truckstop Ministries, will offer the prayer. Bob Hataway, president of TransAlive USA, will serve as emcee. OOIDA Member Jan McCarter will sing the National Anthem. Tony Justice will provide special music.  

On the OOIDA stage at 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning, Chaplain Joe Hunter will conduct his annual non-denominational service.

Show management requests that the lot be completely vacated by sundown on Sunday, March 29.

Free tractor-trailer parking is available courtesy of show management at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Shuttle buses to and from the Kentucky Exposition Center are also provided for anyone parking at Papa John’s, sponsored by TravelCenters of America.

Because of the organization happening early in show week at the parking lot, it is suggested that Wednesday, March 25, is a better day for your arrival. According to show management, the lot will be open on Tuesday for sponsors to set up. The sponsor space will be roped off to prevent encroachment on those spaces noted on the layout map. Anyone or any charity that needs to access the lot on Tuesday to prepare for events is welcome to request written approval from show management, and with written approval they will be authorized to be in the lot on Tuesday.

And heads up: All trucks must enter and exit through Gate D, as it is the only gate wide enough for Class 8 trucks. For the official parking lot rules, click here.

Watch your Land Line online news for more about the activities planned for Papa John’s.

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