LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It was typical of any major trade show scheduled to open in less than 48 hours.
Wooden crates everywhere, carpet still to be unrolled, some carpet already in place but with the vinyl covering on, the beeping sound of forklifts backing up, rock music coming from a site soon to be a trailer display, workmen shining up the trucks and in general, organized chaos.
The 39th annual Mid-America Trucking Show officially opens at 10 a.m. Thursday with three hours set aside for VIP visiting, but that usually means that any trucker who knows anyone gets in as a VIP.
Then at 1 p.m., the doors open to the general public.
There are, according to the Mid-America Web site, 965 exhibitors this year, compared with 935 last year, when the absence of several OEM giants left gaping holes in the show floor.
Most of those have returned this year, but a huge section of the South Wing where OEMs set up is now taken up by the food court and storage.
The biggest OEM display belongs to Navistar, where the stage for a major production Wednesday night was already in place and a rehearsal was under way.
“Tonight is truly an exciting night for our company,” the teleprompter in front of the stage said among other things.
At the Peterbilt booth, Chad Hester and Megan Griffin were setting up stanchions for draping.
They are both members of Local 17 Stagehands.
Hester said he worked shows to help supplement his income as a roofer.
He said it usually takes two full days plus to set up a show as big as Mid-America.
“I enjoy setting up shows,” he said as he took another steel stanchion stand from a cart.
When she’s not setting up shows, Griffin, a tiny woman, said she worked local concerts.
Show officials anticipate some 80,000 will attend the show, which continues Friday and Saturday.
Friday’s schedule includes another in the series of public hearings on the potential changes to the Hours of Service rule.
FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro is scheduled to make a public appearance Saturday at a Women In Trucking rally.
The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at firstname.lastname@example.org.