World’s Largest Truck Convoy celebrations set for kickoff

| Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The first scheduled event for the Eight Annual World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics is days away from kicking off in South Carolina, although one convoy event has been canceled.

The World’s Largest Truck Convoy is a combined effort between law enforcement officers and truck drivers who participate in the celebration to raise money for the Special Olympics. Although most convoys will be held Sept. 20, others are scheduled to run through October.

Special Olympics South Carolina is scheduled to hold its convoy on Sept. 6.

Nevada was scheduled to hold a convoy event in Las Vegas on Sept. 6, but Rachel Commeford of Special Olympics Nevada said low interest and a tough economy contributed to the event’s cancellation.

“We understand the economy and with diesel prices being where they’re at, our overall costs would be more per person really than what we were going to bring in,” Commeford said. “We’re going to tell the companies who were interested, ‘Thank you very much.’ We’ll send them the goody bags; we’ll send them the flags.”

The minimum donation to participate in the convoy is $100, although individual truckers and trucking companies bid much higher than that to win the right to have their trucks lead one of the convoys. Most of the events give participants goody bags with prizes.

Even though the economic downturn and jump in diesel prices have jolted the industry, convoy founder Cpl. Norm Schneiderhan said earlier this summer that he expects this year’s convoy to be bigger than ever. So far, the convoy has scheduled 53 events spread out among 40 U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

“Last year, we went through 5,000 goody bags. This year we’ll probably go through about 7,700 of them,” Norm said then. “I don’t think the bad economy will hurt. To be honest with you; we average about 15 miles (per event). But the advantage companies get putting their company trucks in line and the morale boost for the driver – it’s hard to explain.”

For information on the nationwide effort and specific convoys, click here.
 
Here is a partial list of convoys scheduled as of late August:

Alberta, Canada
Sept. 20
(780) 415-0719

Arizona
Sept. 6 in Kingman
Sept. 20 in Phoenix
Oct. 4 in Eloy
(602) 230-1200

Arkansas
Sept. 20
(501) 569-2421

British Columbia, Canada
Sept. 21
(604) 864-4818

California
Sept. 20 in Sacramento
Sept. 20 in Madera
(925) 408-4134

Delaware
Oct. 11
(301) 831-3482

Florida
At press time,
no convoy planned

Georgia
Sept. 20
(770) 414-9390, Ext. 115

Idaho
Sept. 20 (tentative)
1-800-234-3658

Illinois
Sept. 20
1-800-394-0562
www.soill.org

Iowa
Sept. 20
515-986-5520

Kansas
Sept. 20 in Gardner
Sept. 20 in Colby
1-800-444-9803

Kentucky
Sept. 13
(502) 326-5002

Louisiana
Sept. 12 and 13 in Shreveport
Sept. 20 in Woodworth
(318) 335-0606
http://www.laso.org

Manitoba, Canada
Sept. 13
(204) 925-5628
www.mbsoconvoy.ca

Michigan
Sept. 20
1-800-644-6404

Minnesota
Sept. 13
(612) 604-1272

Missouri
Sept. 20
1-800-846-2682

Montana
Sept. 20
(406) 216-5327

Nebraska
Sept. 20
1-800-247-0105, Ext. 17

Nevada
Sept. 20 in Reno
(877) 417-2742, Ext. 205

New Mexico
Sept. 20
(505) 856-0342

North Carolina
Sept. 20 at Raleigh
Sept. 20 at Charlotte
(919) 719-7663, Ext. 119

North Dakota
Sept. 20 in West Fargo
1-800-279-4201

Ohio
Sept. 20 in Toledo
(419) 353-9728

Ontario, Canada
Sept. 20 in Paris, Ontario
www.sosoconvoy.com

Pennsylvania
Sept. 27 in Frystown
(610) 630-9450 Ext. 226

Saskatchewan, Canada
Sept. 13 or Sept. 20
1-888-307-6226, Ext. 2

South Carolina
Sept. 6
(803) 397-6303

South Dakota
Sept. 20
(417) 291-0202

Texas
Oct. 25
(713) 290-0049

Utah
Sept. 13
(801) 363-1111, Ext. 228

Virginia
Sept. 13
(757) 288-5641

Washington
Sept. 20
1-800-752-7559, Ext. 218

West Virginia
Sept. 20
(304) 765-5202

Wisconsin
Sept. 20
1-800-552-1324, Ext. 222
http://www.specialolympicswisconsin.org/torch_convoy.asp

Wyoming
Sept. 20
1-800-735-8345

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer
charlie_morasch@landlinemag.com

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