A One-Day Wonder

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Normally truck shows are a two or three-day event, but sometimes they are just one day.  Held on Sunday, September 11, the 41st Annual Truckin’ for Kids (TFK) Show & Drags in Irwindale, CA was a one-day wonder, and to those in attendance, what a wonder it was!  In past years, TFK was a two-day event, but this year, based on limitations imposed by the track, it was a one-day show.  However, with the 10-4 Magazine crew now at the helm of this annual event, they were able to make every moment of that one day they were given count.

This is the second time I have been to this show, but this year I had the opportunity to volunteer and be a small part of the success of this show.  Many amazing people helped to bring this show to life, including the continued help from volunteers that have participated for years, as well as the addition of the 10-4 Magazine crew and many family members.  Our very own Dan Linss and Tim Sieben, TFK show owners and producers, grabbed the bull by the horns and devoted countless hours to make this show run like a well-oiled machine that was fun and enjoyable for everyone in attendance.

By the standards of previous years, the registered truck count was down, but what we lacked in trucks, everyone came together to rise to the occasion of raising the most money to donate to the cause this show has ever raised.  The charity benefiting this year was Shriners Hospitals for Children, and we were blessed to have Amanda Raymond (Digital Fundraising Specialist, Donor Relations) and Aaron Hanson (Director of Development) in attendance representing Shriners.  These two were able to be present to see this show and the positive that the trucking industry brings.

There was a terrible heat wave the week before the show that made us all think it was going to be miserably hot, but then a hurricane moved up the west coast from Mexico and brought cooler temperatures, some rain, and humidity.  There were threats of significant rain the day before the show, but most of that petered out when the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm and then took a left and headed out to sea.  However, the humidity remained, and with temps in the low 90s, the humidity felt more like Iowa than California (it was about 60%)!  This sporadic weather probably accounted for a few last-minute cancellations, as those on the west coast are not accustomed to attending truck shows in the rain and humidity, like the rest of the country.

Saturday went very smooth, with most of the vendors getting set up and about 50 pre-registered trucks getting parked.  With the track instigating an online pre-registration process that was very effective (and never offered before), the show’s pre-registration numbers were huge.  As an incentive to pre-register, people were also offered a “bonus bucket” filled with all sorts of products donated by sponsors and vendors including Sic Rigz by Caliva’s, Evan’s Detailing and Polishing, Renegade Products, Zephyr, and much more.  Even though the “bonus buckets” were announced before the show, the registrants receiving them were still surprised, making the buckets a big hit!  Saturday night, during the pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR event that night, five trucks were invited out on the track to do a few parade laps, and Dan Linss and Tim Sieben were allowed a few moments on the mic to promote the TFK event for the following day.

It was awesome to see not only the sweet west coast trucks who regularly attend, but also 10-4 Magazine family that came out for the show including past cover truckers Jerry Salinas (February 2013), Eric and Val Gibbons (April 2022), Shane Boullion (August 2019), Ron Beer (March 2022), C.G. Soza (December 2021), Tyler Vander Zwaag (September 2022), and Billy Ezernack of Double E Trucking (July 2022), just to name a few.  It was great seeing trucks in attendance from all over the country, including a Taylor Transport truck from Georgia, a cattle pot from Wyoming, and a race truck from Alberta, Canada (our Longest Tow award winner).

Sunday morning the gates opened at 6:00 AM and trucks were already lined up to enter the speedway parking lot.  After a chaotic first hour, everything got under control and the rest of the morning parking and registration went smooth.  With multiple teams parking trucks in pre-designated rows of combos and bobtails, with 9 feet of space between each truck, parking went smooth and was very orderly.  In my opinion, the parking layout was amazing.  Not only for spectators to walk around the trucks and drivers to easily clean their trucks, but from a photographer’s standpoint, as well, with the extra space making it a lot easier to photograph the trucks.

After the gates opened at 9:00 AM for the general public to enter, at about 9:30 AM, in front of the registration tent, Weblos Cub Scouts pack 667 from Los Alamitos, CA did a flag ceremony and led the crowd in the pledge of allegiance to officially open the show.  Residing in Georgia, I always considered California to be a much dryer climate than the terrible humidity of Georgia.  Mother Nature had other plans, as mentioned, with quite a bit of humidity.  Everyone sought out cool spots to sit to get out of the sun because it was definitely warm on Sunday.  And even with a few extra applications of sunscreen, I still took a sunburn home with me.

Drag racing started at noon after our First Responders parade, in honor of September 11, went down the track, which included fire trucks, police cars, various rescue vehicles, and a flyover by a Los Angeles County Sheriff helicopter.  After that, the racers took to the track after deciding to go heads-up “test and tune” style and raced for the next few hours.  Next year, we will have true bracket racing, as several people have already stepped up and offered their help – which we will gladly accept!

One exciting but scary thing that happened during the drags was when Mario Monette’s super drag truck, on his very first run, blew a fuel line at the starting line and immediately burst into flames.  There were a few tense seconds before Mario popped open the door and bailed out of his burning rig, but in the end he was okay.  His racing day, however, came to an abrupt end.  He came all the way from Alberta, Canada to race at TFK, so it was a bummer, but he was very positive and optimistic about the whole deal, saying, “I’ve been doing this for seven years now and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened.  That is a blessing.  Plus, I’ve been meaning to make a few upgrades to my truck, and now I have a good excuse to do them!”  If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet Mario, you are missing out on a genuine person with a willingness to strike up a conversation with anyone.  We hope to see him back again next year!

NHRA nitro funny car driver Cruz Pedregon made a surprise drop in visit to watch a few of the final races, as he has ties to trucking and truck drag racing from way back in the 80s.  Dan Linss was lucky enough to do a short live interview with him before the show came to an end.  Bringing the show to a close, awards were scheduled to start at 5:00 PM and the show ended at about 6:00 PM.

One special award, the Bill Kipp Memorial Award, was chosen by Jason Kipp, his son, who came out and chose the first and second place winners for this special Best Interior award in his father’s honor.  Bill was a longtime supporter of TFK and a judge for many years.  He passed away earlier this year.  We’d like to thank Carl Carstens at Rockwood Products for suggesting this award and making two trophies for it.  First place went to Mitchell Maggini with his 2-axle 1998 Pete 379 and second place went to Eric Gibbons with his 1997 Peterbilt 379.  Both recipients deserved these awards with their stellar interiors!

Through donations, the show had a silent auction with items such as a chrome air intake kit from Dynaflex, a bumper from Valley Chrome, a custom wood model of the TFK truck and trailer by Jeff Delacy, billet lug nuts from Roll On Customs, stainless Hogebuilt quarter fenders from A&L Truck Supply, an original watercolor painting of a row of old rusting trucks, a PDI engine tuner from Roll On Customs, stainless mirror brackets from VDC Customs, and more.  Volunteers were out and about collecting money for the 50/50 raffle, which raised $1,655, and the winner donated their half right back in the bucket for Shriners.  Throughout the year, 10-4 Magazine traveled to shows with an autographed guitar signed by Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.  Raffle tickets were sold at these shows and at TFK, and the winner was announced at Truckin’ for Kids, which was Steve Prescott.

This year’s event raised enough money to donate, after all the expenses were covered, $40,000 to Shriners!  The show initially set an aggressive goal of donating $50,000 this year, and we almost made it – and that was with only a one day show and 150 trucks!  Next year, the show is setting their sights on not only having a two-day event with twice as many trucks but raising enough money to donate $100,000!  One of the many reasons I am so proud to be a small part of the trucking industry is the amazing hearts and willingness to give to the charity truck show.  At every charity show, I’m always amazed with the good-hearted people involved in this industry I am so passionate about.

One of the changes Truckin’ for Kids implemented was in the way winners were chosen.  Instead of using judges, the spectators and competitors cast their votes.  The votes were tallied, and I don’t think anyone was disappointed.  Cody Davis from Cokeville, WY rolled in with his green 2022 Kenworth W900 hooked to a matching 2023 Merritt livestock trailer and left the show with not only the People’s Choice Best Combo, but the Competitor’s Choice Best Combo, as well.  Oscar Valesquez won the super drag truck division with “El Manzan” – a highly modified red Kenworth with yellow flames.  I asked Oscar why the truck was named “El Manzan” (The Apple in English) and he explained that his brother had been born red-faced and his father said he looked like an apple.  That nickname seemed to have stuck, and when the truck was being built, his brother was the driving force behind the build.  When it came time to name the Kenworth drag racing truck, it only seemed fitting that it be named for the nickname of the man who had so much to do with what the truck is today.

I previously mentioned Amanda Raymond from Shriners, and she took the time to personally thank everyone who helped with the show by saying, “Kudos to your entire team on such a tremendous undertaking and a smashingly successful event.”  She not only was excited for the event to happen, but just as excited during the event.  With her was her son Wyatt, who, with great anticipation, was excited to see “big trucks” everywhere.  To me, truck shows are an awesome way to meet up with friends, make new friends, and celebrate all the good within the trucking industry.  Shriners Ambassador Isaac chose Jerry Salinas and his maroon 1963 Peterbilt 281 as his favorite for the Charity’s Choice award.

Special thanks from Truckin’ for Kids to all our sponsors and vendors.  Our vendors included 10-4 Magazine, the NTA (NorthAmerican Transportation Association), Renegade Products USA, ATHS, Borracho’s Apparel, Stay Loaded Apparel, Prickly B Designs, M & J Sales & Service, Truck Club Publishing, Sic Rigz, Dynaflex Products, the California Trucking Show, FleetPride, National Retail Transportation (NRT), Roll On Customs, Botelho Custom Trucks, Toys 4 Trucks, Electric Vehicle Choice (EVC), Spectrum Polishing Supplies, Shark Chrome Shop, Valley Chrome Plating, Libro Insurance, Fletcher’s Diesel, and United Diesel Service (UDS).

In addition to all the wonderful vendors, our success kept going with many amazing cash and trophy sponsors including 4 State Trucks, Albert Guzman, Rick Nay Insurance, Superior Modular Transport (SMT), Liberty Linehaul West, the Pacific NW Truck Museum, Central Valley Transport, and Rogue Truck Body.  Mike Horan with Dickerson Custom Trucks designed and donated the trophies with some additional help from Carl Carstens of Rockwood Products.  Carl also provided the official TFK 2022 dash plaques for every competitor.  Big thanks go out to both these gentlemen!  Special shoutout with a lot of gratitude goes to Roger and Annette Ghidelli, along with the entire Maggini family, for not only being good longtime friends, but for their willingness to transport the TFK trailer to many shows throughout the year, and store the trailer, as well.

On behalf of Truckin’ for Kids and 10-4 Magazine, we appreciate everyone who came out to our amazing one-day wonder for… “A Good Time for a GREAT Cause!”  The show wouldn’t have been a success without each and every one of you.  For us, this isn’t just a truck show, it is special to all of us for the amazing connections we’ve made throughout the years.  Watch the TFK Facebook page, website, and our 10-4 Magazine outlets for the announcement of next year’s show dates and details.  As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.

SHOW & SHINE WINNERS

People’s Choice Antique: Jerry Salinas.

People’s Choice Bobtail: Aaron Rodriguez.

People’s Choice Combo: Cody Davis.

Competitor’s Choice Antique: Jerry Salinas.

Competitor’s Choice Bobtail: Mitchell Maggini.

Competitor’s Choice Combo: Cody Davis.

Charity’s Choice: Jerry Salinas.

Interior: 1st Mitchell Maggini; 2nd Eric Gibbons.

Longest Tow: Mario Monette (Alberta, Canada).

Largest Fleet: George DeFrancesco (DDT).

DRAG RACING WINNERS

Best Burnout: Mark Pounds.

Pickups with Street Tires Winner: Montenez.

Pickups with Slicks Winner: Dan Marquez.

Big Rig Winner: Abel (Chillidogg) Martinez; Runner Up: Mark Pounds.

Super Drag Truck Winner: Oscar Valesquez; Runner Up: Wesley Hillin.

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