NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Iowa 80, “The World’s Largest Truckstop,” rounds out the Howes Hall of Fame’s inaugural class of 2020, Howe’s announced today (June 1). Located in Walcott, Iowa, the iconic truck stop has been serving truckers since 1964. The truck stop is Howes’ third induction into its inaugural class of 2020.
The Iowa 80 Truckstop began as a single humble building that was up and running before Interstate 80 was even completed. At the time, Iowa 80 founder Bill Moon was responsible for finding land and building truck stops for Standard Oil (now Amoco). He located the spot for Iowa 80, and the truck stop was built and opened at what is now Exit 284 off Interstate 80. A year later, Moon took over management of the facility. As the years passed and Interstate 80 was completed, hundreds — and then thousands — of truckers and travelers stopped by Iowa 80 to fuel up or grab a bite to eat.
In 1984, after nearly 20 years of managing the Iowa 80, Moon and his wife, Carolyn, convinced Standard Oil to sell to them the land and buildings and officially took ownership of their beloved truck stop.
Purchasing the facility gave the Moons the green light to remodel, update and expand the Iowa 80. Today, after more than 35 expansions and remodels, the truck stop houses 10 restaurant options (including the 24-hour Iowa 80 Kitchen), a dentist, a barber shop, a chiropractor, a movie theater and a workout room. There is also a giant convenience store, a custom embroidery and vinyl shop, 24 private showers, and laundry facilities.
These days, the Iowa 80 is overseen by a second generation of the Moon family. The Moons’ daughter, Delia Moon Meier, is the truck stop’s senior vice president.
“Iowa 80 is thrilled to receive this recognition from Howes,” Meier said. “Like Howes, we have a rich history of supporting drivers from all over. My father, Bill, loved to sit at the counter in the restaurant and talk to drivers about what would make their lives easier if Iowa 80 had it.”
Back in 1978, Bill was kicking around the idea of having some sort of appreciation celebration for his customers — the truckers of America. After lots of planning and hard work, the first Walcott Truckers Jamboree was born in 1979. In 2019, attendance hit a record 44,000 attendees.
“Without truck drivers doing the job they do — especially in these trying times — our economy wouldn’t function. We appreciate their hard work. Even though we have to hold our event virtually this year, we still feel strongly about celebrating America’s Truckers and are dedicated to doing so,” Meier said.
Open 24/7 and offering 42 gas islands, 16 diesel lanes, a seven-bay truck service center, a three-bay Truckomat truck wash, a certified CAT Scale and a parking lot that can hold 900 trucks, Iowa 80 is a perfect addition to the Howes Hall of Fame.
“It is really amazing to have reached this milestone,” Meier said. “We really appreciate the recognition from Howes, and feel so fortunate to have such wonderful, dedicated employees and loyal customers that make this possible. I’m truly honored, and my parents would have been as well.”
The Iowa 80 has another offering that’s a bit unusual for a truck stop — a museum. In 2005, the Moon family opened the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum in tribute to its late founder, Bill Moon, who had long dreamed of building a museum to display the antique trucks he had collected and to show the history of American trucking. Now, Moon’s truck stop has become a building block of that history in and of itself.
“At Howes, we really appreciate what it takes to keep drivers rolling. Iowa 80 does just that,” said Erika Howes, vice president of business development. “We participate in their Truckers Jamboree every year, and we see what a true oasis the truck stop is for all types of drivers. We’re extremely excited to be able to welcome the location and all of its hardworking people to our Hall of Fame.”
The Howes Hall of Fame was inspired, in part, by the company’s 100th anniversary this year. The celebration of this milestone serves as a platform for Howes to thank and acknowledge all the great work that has — and still does — go on in the trucking and agricultural industries. With the goal of recognizing unique achievements across a broad spectrum of categories, the Hall will provide a showcase that will live on for generations. The Howes Hall of Fame, which officially launched on March 26, can be viewed here.