The Great American Trucking Show does not disappoint

And neither do the truckers.

My wrap-up blog about this year’s show is a week late, but not because GATS2017  wasn’t spectacular. The new lay-out (for show veterans) was exceptional – much easier to navigate one floor. Of course, the Tough Tested booth was awesome – and as a show veteran, experiencing the show with TT Ambassador Cassie Gannis, who was a first-timer this year, made it all the more exciting.

The Tough Tested trucking crew are old hands at GATS. It’s like a family reunion for us, we get to actually see and spend time with our friends and Ambassadors, Bill Weaver and Tom Kyrk, and this year we had the pleasure of welcoming Cassie Gannis to the truck show family. Without fellow truckers and friends like Allen Wilcher to haul the bones and skin of trade show magic into (and out of) Dallas, it would have been impossible to have such exceptional displays and crowd-pleasing effects.

The music was great this year, Bill Weaver’s performances at both the Red Eye Radio stage and the Tough Tested booth reinforced a feeling of respect and kinship prevalent at this show. Most notable was the effort and co-operation of truckers from all over the country to help Friday night’s free concert headliner, Tony Justice, get his band to the venue and unloaded, so they could pull off a great set.

20 hours of grueling travel on a broke-down tour bus didn’t stop the band from giving it their all, and two hours waiting for them to arrive didn’t stop truckers from enjoying the show. If anyone understands schedule delays because of mechanical trouble, it’s professional drivers.

We left Dallas Sunday morning, just after a hurricane whalloped Southeastern Texas. The storm chased us out, but as we headed East, towards home and away from the floods and destruction, we watched flatbeds, loaded with generators and emergency supplies, roll right into it. We watched convoys of Georgia Power Company trucks, following supplies they needed on those trucks to restore power, and we watched reefers and vans, full of food and water, driven by people knowing full well they were heading into a disaster area, and proud to do it.

The shows are interesting because of glam and glitz. They catch the eye with glitter and chrome, entice eardrums with twang and bass, excite minds with ideas beyond wildest imagination. A true sensory overload in every way.

The shows are inspiring because of the people. The people who spend a few hours away from hauling everything from disaster supplies to dirt, to be with their colleagues, to share ideas with each other and have face-to-face connections with other human beings who are either dedicated or crazy enough to be heading into the storm, instead of away from it.

Welcome to the family, Cassie, and thank you to our brothers and sisters of the road for your dedication, expertise, and commitment. You truly are tough tested.

This blog was written by Wendy Parker