An estimated 70,000 people, from fleet executives and truck drivers to the trucking press and the local public, are expected to converge on Louisville, Ky.,  this week for the 42nd annual Mid-America Trucking Show March 21-23.

The event at the Kentucky Expo Center has VIP hours from 10 a.m. to 1 pm Thursday and opens the same day to the public at 1 p.m., running through 6 p.m. Friday hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Around 1,000 exhibitors are expected, including major truck and engine manufacturers, trailer manufacturers and other product and service providers, taking up most of the space at the Expo Center.

There is ample on-site parking, including for tractor-trailers, for a fee.

Before the show officially opens, things get under way on Wednesday with the Fleet Forum, a conference for fleet executives and heavy-duty commercial vehicle industry representatives. It combines the resources and expertise of trucking's two major publications, Heavy Duty Trucking and Fleet Owner, and the largest trade show, to provide an in-depth look at the future of equipment and trucking. It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the South Wing, Room C-203. (Additional preregistration required.) Topics include:

  • Managing Your Fleet In The Real World, moderated by Heavy Duty Trucking magazine’s equipment editor Jim Park, where the magazine’s Truck Fleet Innovators for 2013 will discuss driver strategies, how new technology is playing a role, how they’re retaining “the best and the brightest” drivers and more.
  • Past The Cliff: Factors That Will Drive the Next Phase of the Cycle, a presentation by Kenny Vieth, President and Senior Analyst, ACT Research
  • The Blue Fleet, a panel of truck manufacturers and early-adopter fleets discussing the pros and cons of switching to natural gas, exploring fueling options, maintenance changes and total cost of ownership.

Thursday through Saturday, there are a number of seminars, giveaways, celebrity appearances and other events; you can find a detailed listing on the show calendar.

Among the seminars are ones about hours of service, new requirements about goods entering Canada, an update on the FMCSA’s medical and CSA programs, pre-trip and post-trip inspection training and more.

Bendix also returns with its Tech Talk Series, where company officials will offer insights at their booth on air disc and drum foundation brakes, air treatment and charging systems, and advanced safety technologies.

This year’s Mid-America Trucking Show also includes the 24th Annual Paul K. Young Memorial Truck Beauty Championship, which organizers describe at the largest grouping of show trucks in the country, all vying for honors in the country’s premiere truck beauty show. It features categories for working trucks, antique trucks and specialty trucks. The contest and display of the trucks will be in Parking Lot J behind the West Wing. Trophies and other awards to the winners will be handed out Saturday.

On Friday, the day begins with the Heavy Duty Manufacturers 23rd Annual Breakfast and Briefing, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., where Troy Clarke, Navistar International president and COO and recently named CEO, will be the keynote speaker. (Additional preregistration required.)

Also on Friday, FMCSA is scheduled to host a listening session starting at 1 p.m. on its proposed driver training rule, in which the public can submit comments to the agency. It will take place in room C-101 and will also be webcast.

The day ends with the free concert featuring The Diesel Outlaws and Randy Houser. It will be held in Freedom Hall of the Kentucky Exposition Center. Complimentary tickets will be distributed, while supplies last, from the Mobil Delvac booth in the North Wing during show hours.

On the final day of show, Saturday, among the highlights will be Women In Trucking’s annual Salute To Women Behind The Wheel in the South Wing, Room C-201-C204, starting at 11 a.m. in which the group says it will recognize the outstanding safety and performance accomplishments of the nation’s professional female drivers. and Heavy Duty Trucking magazine will be providing coverage of the show’s numerous press announcements on this website (go to to see stories tagged MATS), as well as through Facebook and Twitter.