I’ve observed with some frustration in recent years, the demise of the traditional truck show. There are those that are now defunct and others that are barely recognizable as truck shows. There are those that resemble flea markets and...
I’ve observed with some frustration in recent years, the demise of the traditional truck show. There are those that are now defunct and others that are barely recognizable as truck shows. There are those that resemble flea markets and others that have become primarily rock festivals with truck parking. As a result, trucker attendance at many of these shows has waned. But is declining attendance indicative of a lack of interest in classic iron? I’m not so sure about that. In many cases, admission costs have climbed out of reach for a trucking family. It should not cost a hundred bucks for a trucking family of five to go to the truck show. Parking your truck at these shows shouldn’t cost more than a night in the Four Seasons.
I’m alarmed by the number of requests I’ve received here at Truck News for passes to these shows. Many drivers would like to attend, to bring their kids, but the cost has gotten out of control. With all that said, I’m convinced interest in classic trucks remains strong. Maybe even stronger than ever, as online photo collections of classic trucks seem to be driving a renewed interest among the younger crowd. Evidence of this was apparent when I made my first visit to the Clifford Truck Show, hosted by the Great Lakes Truck Club. You can read about it starting on this month’s cover.
This is a truck show that’s all about the trucks. And isn’t that a noble concept? Showing a truck costs $20. Attending as a spectator will set you back $5. It’s a grassroots truck show if ever there was one.
What I found so enriching about the Great Lakes Truck Club show was that it attracted enthusiasts from all walks of life. Teenagers and kids were taking a genuine interest in the equipment and the owners were more than happy to talk to them about the trucks and the industry’s rich history. I had to wonder, has there ever been so much knowledge of old trucks and equipment gathered in one place?
Organizers are cautious to avoid becoming too commercial. Only a small handful of sponsors are involved (enough to cover printing and promotional costs) and the club has resisted the urge to hire a band. They feel most of the attendees are more interested in retiring to their campsites after dinner and visiting with friends.
The Great Lakes Truck Club and its show has got it right. I hope they don’t ever change. To learn more about the club, visit them at www.greatlakestruckclub.com. Better yet, get out and meet them in person when they make their yearly pilgrimage to Clifford. It’s worth the drive.
Especially if, like me, you worried that the traditional truck show was facing extinction.