10th annual GBATS enjoys record turnout

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line associate editor | 10/1/2018

JOPLIN, Mo. – For months, Guilty By Association Truck Show organizer Bryan Martin said the 2018 edition was going to be the largest in the show’s 10-year history.

He was right. A record 693 trucks and about 15,000 people attended the three-day show from Sept. 27-29, which was presented by 4 State Trucks and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The previous largest turnout was 504 trucks in 2017.

“It was an epic weekend,” Martin said. “We had 693 trucks registered, parked and on site. It blows our old record out of the water. In 2017, we had just over 500 trucks. That’s an increase of nearly 200 trucks. That’s amazing.”

The show also served as a celebration of OOIDA’s 45th anniversary of fighting for the rights of truck drivers.

OOIDA President Todd Spencer, OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh and other members of the Association’s leadership were in attendance.

“With nearly 700 show trucks and about 15,000 truck drivers and their families in attendance, this was the largest GBATS ever,” Pugh said. “It speaks volumes for the success of GBATS and the 45th anniversary celebration of OOIDA. We were proud to sponsor the show.”

The records didn’t end there. The annual truck convoy for Special Olympics of Southwest Missouri had 522 trucks participate, generating at least $173,000 for the charity. A year ago, 420 trucks raised about $115,000.

“The funding they receive from this convoy allows them to do things that would otherwise be impossible,” Martin said.

Donnie and Beverly Ledgerwood of Ledgerwood Trucking in Birch Tree, Mo., bid $18,000 to have the first spot in the convoy.

“That’s another record,” Martin said. “I think the previous most for the first spot was $13,000 or $14,000.”

An auction for the first 15 spots and the caboose generated more than $100,000 alone.

The three-day show featured an abundance of entertainment for truck drivers and their families. The show included bull riding, a motorcycle stunt show, a truck and tractor pull, big rig drag races, and a downtown concert headlined by Confederate Railroad.

“The show exceeded our wildest expectations,” Martin said.

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