OOIDA, Land Line on the ground at MATS

| 3/23/2007

This week, for the first time in a long time, truckers from across the country will not find the OOIDA booth in the East Wing at the Kentucky Expo Center during the Mid-America Trucking Show.

A huge construction project is underway and many exhibitors - including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association - have been relocated.

Staff from both OOIDA and "Land Line Now" will be at the Association's booth, No. 7670, in the West Hall of the center. To get to the West Hall, just enter at the registration desk for the West Wing. There are two hallways - one to the West Wing, and one down to the West Hall area where the OOIDA booth is.

Land Line Magazine staff is also attending the show, with Managing Editor Sandi Soendker, Senior Editor Jami Jones and Staff Writer Charlie Morasch gathering the latest in trucking news from dawn to dark.

OOIDA's "The Spirit of the American Trucker" rig will be outside, about halfway along the front of the South Wing, and Ron Mermis will have the OOIDA NASCAR simulator at the satellite truck parking, which is at the Papa John's Cardinal Stadium parking lot.

The show opened Thursday and runs through Saturday, March 24. There will be more than 800,000 square feet of indoor exhibits with another 200,000 feet of outside exhibits.

Toby Young, president of Exhibit Management Associates, the company behind the show, recently told "Land Line Now" on XM Satellite Radio that even though the floor plan has changed, the show still has a lot to offer.

With more than 1,000 exhibitors, if you're looking for what's new in the trucking industry, MATS is the place to be.

All of the Class 6, 7 and 8 truck manufactures, along with all major diesel engine makers and more than 60 trailer makers, will be exhibiting at the show.

If you need tips and information about how to make the most out of your business, Young said the show will offer a full slate of educational seminars to help you out. Those seminars will include information on topics ranging from driver health to hazmat security, and from getting your own authority to roadside inspections.

One seminar on Saturday will be dedicated to the topic of biodiesel in the trucking industry and will feature Tom Verry of the National Biodiesel Board.

Other seminars will include representatives from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Canada Border Crossing Services and Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement.

And if you're looking for information on a particular area, the show floor will feature several pavilions dedicated to various segments of the trucking industry. For example, if you've ever thought about giving expediting a try, stop by the Expediter Experience in the West Wing.

And if you're into the latest technological gadgets, Young said you'll be able to find them at the Mid-America Internet and Technology Center.

Another popular attraction every year at the show is the Paul K. Young Memorial Truck Beauty Championship. The Stars and Stripes Event is now in its 18th year.

The rigs take center stage at this show, and Mid-America is presenting the Big Rig Build-Off for the third year in a row. The build-off has also been moved to the west side of the expo center this year.

The entertainment is always a big draw at MATS, and this year is no exception.

Country music stars Big and Rich will be in concert on Friday night, along with Cowboy Troy. Tickets are available at the Kenworth booth, and two will be given out free of charge to each CDL holder while they last.

Country singer Lorrie Morgan will also be on hand at the show, along with the crew of the Chrome Shop Mafia.

Major league baseball hall of famer Johnny Bench will be signing autographs, and world class fisherman Jimmy Houston will be on the scene as well.

The Mid America Trucking Show is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

For more information on the show, you can check out the Web site at truckingshow.com.

Though online registration is now closed, anyone who wants to go can still register at the show itself for just $5.

Young said he is expecting nearly 80,000 people in attendance this year.