400 trucks expected as GBATS opens; record-setting convoy planned

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Updated Sep 25, 2015

Expect a record to fall this weekend.

It has nothing to do with college football, the NFL or the baseball pennant drive.

The Chrome Shop Mafia welcomes truckers to the Guilty By Association Truck Show in Joplin, Mo.

Instead the nice folks from Special Olympics for Southwest Missouri are betting that Saturday’s convoy of trucks from the Guilty By Association Truck Show at 4 States Trucks in Joplin, Mo. will be the largest ever. Anywhere. Ever.

And, they have good reason to think that way.

Jessica Martin, who runs the marketing department at 4 States, said that by late Thursday afternoon, 275 trucks had already checked in and lined up. She expects at least 400 trucks in all, which will easily top last year’s 324.

Brian Davis prepares his 2015 Peterbilt 386

Martin explains how the company’s customer appreciation event has become a “must do” on the schedules of more and more truck drivers.

“It’s the atmosphere,” said Martin. “This is a good, family-friendly event.”

But, there’s another reason too.

“It’s all about the trucks,” she said. “They’re not all fancy show trucks. These are working trucks, and these are hard-working drivers. There’s great camaraderie here.”

Lisa and Kevin Vogt and their 2006 Peterbilt

According to Robin Anderson, there is also great generosity.

Anderson is the development director for Special Olympics Missouri and said Saturday’s convoy from 4 States into Joplin has become especially important to the organization.

“This event brings in a good share of our budget,” said Anderson. “These truckers are very generous. For them, it’s about giving; about helping our athletes.”

According to Anderson there are some 1,700 athletes facing development issues living in the 23 counties of southwest Missouri. Since 2010, the truck convoy has grown markedly; helping athletes competes in events around the state.

In 2010, the first year of the event, 17 trucks joined the convoy. After that:

  • 2011 = 108 trucks
  • 2012 = 160 trucks
  • 2013 = 274 trucks
  • 2014 = 300 trucks
Jerry Kissinger’s 1979 Mack Superliner

The financial impact has been just as impressive, according to Anderson. The first year raised $3,516; last year, $76,000.

She said she expects Saturday’s auction of places in the convoy to be a spirited event. Last year, the honor of being the lead truck in the convoy went for $7,000.

Anderson expects similar bidding this year, and also believes the Joplin convoy to wind up being the largest in North America for 2015.

The convoy departs 4 States at 6 p.m. Saturday, and trucks line up in downtown Joplin.

Friday’s schedule of events includes:

  • 7:30 a.m. continental breakfast
  • Noon Truck registration closes
  • Noon Big Rig Burnouts
  • 3 p.m. Chop Tour
  • 6:40 p.m. FMX High-Flyin’ Motorcross Show
  • 7 p.m. Presentation of the Larry Martin Memorial Award
  • 7:15 p.m. Lucas Motor Sports Truck & Tractor Pull
  • 10 p.m. Fireworks