MATS: What's happenin' at Papa John's?

By Land Line staff | 3/5/2013

In trucking, March is the month synonymous with the largest heavy-duty trucking event in the world. The Mid-America Trucking Show returns to Louisville, KY, March 21-23.  

For truckers, it’s more than a monster tradeshow. As always, plenty of action is planned at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium parking lot. Here are some specifics from the event organizers.

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

According to Exhibit Management Associates Inc., the official contract it has with the University of Louisville states that attendees will have access to the Papa John’s Stadium parking lot (excludes Lot A) beginning March 19 at 5 a.m. Lots of activities, including a concert, are planned for Saturday night, and it’s not expected that the lot will be fully vacated until Sunday morning. Show management requests that the lot be completely vacated by 10 a.m. Sunday.

Also, heads up. All trucks must enter and exit through Gate D, as it is the only gate wide enough for Class 8 trucks.

This year, Detroit Reman, Detroit parts group and Freightliner teamed up to sponsor the Papa John’s event. Like last year, folks from Detroit and Freightliner’s Team Run Smart will be serving up free hot coffee every morning at Papa John’s – but this year, no doughnuts. Team Run Smart will be encouraging truckers to eat smart, handing out healthy breakfast snacks instead.

The JRB Memorial Fund will serve a spaghetti and meatball dinner in honor of Rusty Wade on Thursday, March 21, in the parking lot at Papa John’s. The group will also be holding a silent auction until Saturday in the parking lot. The JRB also has a booth in the West Wing’s Pavilion – No. 70176 – where the group will be passing out both JRB and “Yoda” buttons.

Separate from the JRB activities, JRB President and OOIDA Life Member Don “Burnt Beans” McKinley says true to tradition, he will be whomping up trucker’s fare in his tent in the parking lot.

Again this year, OOIDA is sponsoring the main stage. On Friday night, March 22, a local band called Bourbon Country from Louisville will be providing live music starting at 8 p.m.

Numerous truckers and trucking groups have organized a National Day of Prayer for Truckers that will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, on the OOIDA stage in the Papa John’s parking lot. The National Anthem will be performed by OOIDA Member and owner-operator Jan McCarter. Following the prayer, Jerry and Sharon Benson will perform. Sharon has won the Favorite Female Vocalist of the Year award in gospel music. Jerry is an owner-operator. Bob Hataway will emcee and Chaplain Joe Hunter will offer the prayer.

At that time, Dale “The Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers and Walter “Rusty” Wade will be acknowledged for their numerous contributions to the industry. Plaques sponsored by TransAlive will be presented by Hataway. Bozo passed away Aug. 24, 2012. Rusty died of cancer Jan. 24, 2013.

You’ll find Truckers United for Charities volunteers in the parking lot grilling up good stuff in exchange for donations, which they then pay forward to numerous charities for children. They will be serving burgers and brats for all three days.

Trucker Charity, along with Operation Roger, is again planning an auction at Papa John’s parking lot on Saturday, March 23, to raise money for help support the charitable missions of both groups. Preregistration starts at 5:30 p.m., and the auction begins promptly at 7 p.m.

Other nonprofits will also have booths and events at the show, both at Papa John’s and at the Expo Center. Look for folks from Trucker Charity at Booth 66245 at the Expo Center, the St. Christopher Fund with TA/Petro at Booth 19164, Truckers Against Trafficking at Booth 65141, and more.

OOIDA will also sponsor a Saturday night concert on the Papa John’s main stage, featuring country western artist Leland Martin and his band. The music begins at 8 p.m.

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

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