Driver Ambassador: Trucker Love at Waupun Truck-N-Show
by Kellylynn McLaughlin, on Sep 7, 2021 3:17:32 PM
Take a listen to the podcast version below.
As those in the trucking industry know, the Post-Trip Inspection is a time to check and see if anything has changed with your equipment since you began your trip and if there are any items that need to be addressed before continuing on down the road. It’s a time to reflect, assess, and plan what’s next.
This month I was able to attend my first truck show in over 18 months! OMG, I have missed ogling the shiny chrome and just hanging with folks as nuts about trucking as I am and some even more so.
I was at this event primarily to staff a booth for WIT, recruit new members to our organization and participate in the truck parade events. The organizers at this event were exceptionally welcoming, organized and super friendly! I had no idea what was in store for me next! That warm and friendly welcome didn’t end with the event organizers. The entire town was exuding trucker love! Probably because the weather was perfect and to follow COVID safety guidelines, attendees were mostly perusing all the spiffy rigs outside and inside booth traffic was low. That’s okay as we are having to adjust to working in a different environment during the pandemic. A big plus for me was to be able to reconnect with friend and fellow WIT member, Carmen Anderson (and her cute pooches Otis and Rodney), during the Waupun Truck-N-Show in Wisconsin. I even made some new friends! I was introduced to Kim Jaikes, a WIT member who writes for 10-4 Magazine, and her super funny purple-loving husband John.
This event and town hosted not one…but two parades, a daytime and a night time light parade. Since my tractor is not so “remarkable” at night and I have never participated in a truck parade, I asked if I could ride with Kim who has a cool purple Freightliner with a matching purple trailer. Have I shared that purple is my favorite color? The folks in this amazing community came out in droves to watch and cheer on all the fancy lit up tractors and trailers. They showed up for us! Sitting alongside country roads (some with campfires built to keep warm), in church lawns, in parking lots of local bar & grills, on their porches, and perched on tailgates, these folks lined up for miles and sat for hours to see our lights and hear the jake brakes! I have never felt so much trucker love concentrated in one place! Riding along at in the light parade was the most fun I have had in ages. Doing a ride-along with Kim, who is a multi-million mile female driver, and listening to her describe with loving detail every truck she had driven was heart warming and infectious. I did participate with my tractor, Amelia, in the daytime parade the next day and it was so much fun to see the women (and men) get excited to see a lady driving.
I always enjoy meeting new people and visiting with the wide variety of folks that stopped by the booth was so much fun! Some booth visitors were drivers returning to the industry and just wanted to say hi, a few were not in the industry but just loved trucks and wanted to talk truck, some were curious about what it’s like being a female in the industry, and some were carriers looking to connect with WIT because they wanted to know how to attract more females to their company. I love those conversations for sure.
One very special booth visitor was a 14-year-old young woman who visited my table three times. She brought a friend with her the second time and her father the third time! Her curiosity was getting the best of her and she just couldn’t stay away. I kept introducing her as a future truck driver to whoever was also at the booth. The best moment was seeing her father beam with pride when I told her, “There is nothing holding you back and you can do it!” I do believe that girl will drive a big truck at some point in her life for sure!
Attending this first truck show of the season after such a long dry spell will feed my soul for a while. Luckily, I have one more trucking event this month to attend. Being able to spend time with seasoned drivers and beautiful people like Kim and Carmen was just a joy. I plan on sharing with you readers all the trucker love I receive along the way…it’s still out there and I will pass it on!
A big shout out goes to the team of hard working Waupun Truck-N-Show volunteers who worked tirelessly to make this event happen for the drivers, and the charities of Make A Wish and Reach Relief, which received a portion of the proceeds, the town of Waupun and two local organizations that provided the meals (best Friday night fish fry I’ve eaten in ages!) and beverages.
I will definitely plan on attending the Waupun Truck-N-Show next year. Until then…stay safe and happy trails.
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