Truck shows, conventions move to virtual format to accommodate social-distancing guidelines

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Walcott Jamboree 2015
In years past, the Walcott Truckers Jamboree has drawn thousands of participants from around the world.

While many areas of the U.S. have “reopened” following full or partial shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as federal, state and local governments, continue to recommend social distancing to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

To comply with these guidelines, some trucking-industry events are being moved to a “virtual” format.

One such event is the American Truck Historical Society’s (ATHS) national convention and truck show, scheduled for May 28-30. Event organizers re-envisioned every aspect of the three-day gathering to fit an online format, allowing truck enthusiasts around the world to enjoy the event from the comfort and safety of their homes.

“In just a few short weeks, we’ve unraveled 18 months of planning for a live event to create what looks to be the largest virtual convention and show like this to date,” said Tom Mullen, president of ATHS.

“I am extremely proud to be able to bring the fun and excitement of our event directly to our dedicated members and the public,” he continued. “With travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders and levels of quarantine varying from place to place, country to country, bringing this whole event online was a natural choice.”

The online event will include industry-related webinar presentations, a silent auction, trucker storytelling booths, companion activities, a vendor hall and, of course, a truck show. Already, owners of nearly 500 trucks from several countries have registered to display their big rigs, pickups, classic trucks and works in progress during the online show.

“Normally we would host 1,000 trucks representing 100 years of trucking history and have guests coming from as far away as Australia to participate,” said Laurence Gration, executive director of ATHS.

“We are working twice as hard this year to ensure everyone has a great experience, because that feeling of community and belonging is what makes ATHS what it is,” he said. “Our community is more important to us than the lost revenue. It’s always been about the people, and right now, especially so.

For more information about the ATHS convention and show, click here.

Another event exploring an online format this year is the 2020 Walcott Truckers Jamboree, which is scheduled for July 9-11. The event would normally held at the Iowa 80 truck stop in Walcott, Iowa, which is touted as the “world’s largest truck stop, but in compliance with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynold’s orders, organizers have moved the entire event online.

“The good news is we will most definitely continue with our long-standing tradition of celebrating America’s truckers,” said Heather DeBaille, vice president of marketing. “While we can’t host 45,000 people at Iowa 80 to celebrate, we will take the jamboree virtual and still celebrate the important job of the professional driver.”

Many events, including the Antique Truck Display, Super Truck Beauty Contest, Trucker’s Best Friend Pet Contest and more have been revamped to fit an online format. All concerts will be rescheduled for the 2021

The antique truck display will feature a slideshow of photos from entrants, along with information about their antique vehicles. Drivers participating in the super truck beauty contest can choose competitive categories and submit photos. The public will vote for their favorites, and winners will be announced July 11.

Drivers entering the Trucker’s Best Friend Pet Contest are encouraged to register their pets and submit photos or videos for the competition. After voting, prizes will be awarded for “best dressed,” “owner lookalike” and “best trick.”

On Friday, July 10, the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum will celebrate the 100th birthday one of its exhibits, a 1920 GMC, with a video event that will be posted on the museum’s Facebook page.

While the jamboree cannot be held on site, all professional truck drivers with a commercial driver’s license who stop at the Iowa 80 July 9, 10 or 11 can receive a free meal in the Iowa 80 Kitchen restaurant. Meal certificates will be available at the fuel center, service center, truck wash and Super Truck Showroom.

“We want drivers to know who much we appreciate the hard work they do. This certainly isn’t the way we thought our 41st jamboree would play out, but we care about drivers and their families, and we still want to celebrate them,” said Delia Moon Meier, senior vice president.

“We truly hope everyone understands, and we hope that you will join us in spirit and online July 9-11 in celebration of trucking,” she continued. “We look forward to seeing everyone in person in 2021.”

For more information or to register, click here.

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