Image & Interests by Roger & Heather Hogeland
It’s March again and that means just one thing to us, and to many in our industry! Louisville! “MATS” (or the Mid America Trucking Show) is not only the biggest industry wide event in North America; it is the biggest of its kind in the entire world. Roger and I have personally met hundreds of people from all over, Japan, England, France, Australia, China, Peru, Mexico, Canada, you name it, and they are there.
The people come not only to see what we have to offer as far as equipment, support, and services; they develop contacts and build networks to further their own businesses in their home countries. It is quite the place to be, there is always so much happening all around. The place is truly buzzing with excitement.
Trucking in North America is unique in that here we travel thousands of miles within the confines of our own country, whereas in Europe for example, a driver may travel quite a distance, but he will be doing so while crossing international borders sometimes several times a day. I have never been there to experience such a day but I have crossed here back and forth between the United States and Canada on many occasions. It is much easier than it used to be, but it is still quite an ordeal and it takes time to do it properly. I cannot imagine having to go through that process multiple times a day, let alone in a week!
Trucking cross Canadian and possibly cross Australian may be the closest to what we do here but each has its own unique set of circumstances so it is really interesting to go to Louisville and meet some of these people to hear their stories and share some of our own.
Last year we got to meet Alex Debogorski, a Canadian trucker from Ice Road Truckers (on the history channel), Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the NTSB, who presented awards and spoke to the assembled ‘Women In Trucking’ members and their friends and families at the annual ‘Salute to The Women Behind The Wheel’ event put on by Women In Trucking, and Denny ______, CEO of Mack trucks who appeared on ‘Undercover Boss’ last season just prior to coming to Louisville.
We were able to attend a wedding in the parking lot at Papa John’s stadium (where every day and night is a get together and reunion throughout the show), as well as church services put on by Pastor Joe and his lovely wife Jan Hunter of truckstop ministries. There is plenty of free truck parking and free shuttle service between the stadium and the Kentucky fair and exposition center where the show is actually held.
There is a Show truck competition held that is one of the most competitive on the circuit (believe me when I tell you I know from experience!) and there are concerts that are sponsored by vendors, which are free to attendees. There are recruiters and vendors; XM/Sirius radio personalities who do their shows live from the show. There are hundreds of giveaways and drawings for everyone who wants to participate. Representatives from every truck and trailer builder are there along with all possible support gear manufacturers from chains and straps to tarps and APU’s, mattresses to MotorKote and everything in between.
Mostly there are people. People who are in some way or another connected to our industry, who want to be connected to one another. There are pork chop sandwiches that are out of this world and a food court with tables and chairs to sit down and eat at where conversation flows as fast as the sweet tea. It is an experience like none other and I urge all of you to attend if at all possible. Attendance was up last year from the slump we had suffered due to the economic slowdown, but all the OEMs are back and I believe it will be bigger and better still this year and I cannot wait for it to get here!
Please make your reservations; the dates are March 22, 23, & 24, 2012. That’s Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Try to be there all three days if you can manage it. I find there’s never enough time to see everything I want to see and meet up with everyone I want to meet up with!
Make sure you do not miss the Salute to The Women Behind the Wheel on Saturday at 1 pm! It is open to ALL female CDL holders and their families, you do not have to be a member to attend (but it is a VERY worthwhile organization, so I encourage you to join) and following the awards ceremony and address given by Joyce Brenny of Brenny Transportation in MN, we will again attempt to break the world’s record (set in Australia) of female CDL holders in one photograph! PLEASE, please, join us for this event; we have come so close to the record, help us break it!!! You can pre-register by going onto Women In Trucking’s web site at www.womenintrucking.org and click on the Salute to women behind the wheel logo. It is free to register and free to attend, so please, join us for the fun and camaraderie and help us set a new worlds record!
Be sure to stop by our booth and say hi as well, we are always happy to meet our readers in person. Check out the web site at www.truckingshow.com to see what all there is to see and to pre register for attendance. You can get a look at the floor plan and even make a game plan for yourself based on what you want to see first.
We are looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones while in Louisville this year, we hope to see you there as well! ‘Til next month, y’all stay safe out there and God Bless!