MATS in the rearview: four days of news, trucks and entertainment

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A highlight of the show was Freightliner’s SuperTruck

Another edition of the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) is in the record books, and it was four days of news, awards, seminars and a fleet’s worth of trucks that filled the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville.

And, of course, MATS was the place to be if you wanted to see trucks.

Award Winners

During the course of MATS a number of truck drivers were honored for their professionalism on the road, their contributions to their communities and highway heroics.

TA Petro gave the second annual Citizen Driver Awards to five people, recognizing them for their sterling careers and what they do for others. The winners were:

  • Richard Ash, an owner/operator from Lakewood, Colo.
  • Gary Buchs, an owner/operator for Landstar from Colfax, Ill.
  • Robert Fernald, from Westbrook, Me., who drives for Walmart Transportation
  • Sandy Long from Marceline, Mo. who drives for Weston Transport
  • Michael Sheeds, from Bandera, Tx., who drives for Werner

Goodyear recognized three drivers for their highway heroics. Clinton Blackburn of Moorhead, Ky. was honored by the company for rescuing Spencer County jailer Darrell Herndon, whose car was in the median and he was being strangled from behind by a prisoner.

Also honored by Goodyear were David Frederickson of Windemere, Fla. and Mack Guffey of Gainesboro, Tenn.

Company Announcements

One of the highlights of the annual gathering is the long list of new products and changes to existing ones, and there were plenty at this MATS. Among them:

  • Freightliner unveiled its SuperTruck
  • Peterbilt showed off updates to its 579 EPIQ
  • Volvo debuted a specialized I-Shift automated transmission for severe duty applications and a new Adaptive Loading System based around an automatically-controlled 6×2 liftable forward axle.
  • Mack introduced Load Logic and a 6×2 liftable pusher axle option for its Pinnacle highway model.
  • Navistar revealed that its OnCommand Connection remote diagnostics system will now be free and standard on all 2007 and newer model International trucks,
  • Bendix  announced Wingman Fusion, its latest driver assist package that uses an on-board camera, radar connected to the truck’s braking system.
  • WABCO rolled out its new OnGuardACTIVE system, which uses a 77 GHz radar to provide higher target visibility at longer ranges.
  • Cummins offered a sneak-peek at its 2017 greenhouse gas engine technology.

Big (Hungry) Winner

Possibly one of the luckiest folks to visit MATS was Roger Errett of Mount Pleasant, Penn. Errett left the show with a set of 10 Bridgestone Dayton commercial truck tires valued at USD $3,000. He won them for winning the buffalo-wing eating competition, finishing off three pounds of chicken wings in 10 minutes. 

Kylie Rae Harris performs at the Mack boothKylie Rae Harris performs at the Mack booth

Western StarWestern Star

Ford staged a game show at its boothFord staged a game show at its booth

The Schneider staff at their boothThe Schneider staff at their booth

Not every vehicle at MATS was a truckNot every vehicle at MATS was a truck

Jason Derksen of Choctaw, Okla. found a unique way to cover the huge showJason Derksen of Choctaw, Okla. found a unique way to cover the huge show

At least one show bag was XXLAt least one show bag was XXL

Goodyear's Highway Heroes finalistsGoodyear's Highway Heroes finalists

Tabitha Garrels adds a finishing touch to a truck's tires and he toesTabitha Garrels adds a finishing touch to a truck's tires and he toes

Phil Miller readies his PKY Beauty Contest entryPhil Miller readies his PKY Beauty Contest entry

Lindsay Lawler belts out 'I Drive'Lindsay Lawler belts out "I Drive"

Show visitors take time out to textShow visitors take time out to text

This young show-goer got a liftThis young show-goer got a lift

Mike Ryan chats with a fanMike Ryan chats with a fan

TA Petro's Citizen Driver Award winnersTA Petro's Citizen Driver Award winners