In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and the necessities of social distancing, the American Truck Historical Society has decided to move its annual National Convention and Antique Truck Show, May 28-30, online. According to the organization, moving the show online allows it to be seen in the living rooms of truck enthusiasts around the world.
“In just a few short weeks, we've unraveled 18 months of planning for a live event, to create what looks to be the largest virtual convention and show like this to date,” said Tom Mullen, ATHS president. “With travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, and levels of quarantine varying from place to place, country to country, bringing this whole event online was a natural choice.”
The online event will include industry-related webinar presentations, a silent auction to benefit ATHS, trucker storytelling booths, companion activities, a vendor hall, and of course, the truck show. Nearly 500 trucks from several countries have already taken advantage of the free registration to display their big rigs, pickups, classics, antiques, and works-in-progress in the online show.
Incorporated in 1971, the American Truck Historical Society was formed to preserve the history of trucks, the trucking industry, and its pioneers. Originally headquartered in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, ATHS was relocated to Birmingham, Alabama, in 1977. Today, the Zoe James Memorial Library boasts a collection of more than 100,000 photographs, 35,000 pieces of sales literature, 45,000 books and periodicals, along with a vast collection of scale models and trucking memorabilia. ATHS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
An annual convention has been held each year since 1972, with a public antique truck show added in 1980. This show has grown to more than 1,000 trucks and trailers, of every make, shape, and size. People come from around the world to take part in the ATHS National Convention & Truck Show, the official kick-off event of the summer season.
"Normally, we would host 1,000 trucks representing 100 years of trucking history and have guests coming from as far away as Australia to participate,” said Laurence Gration, ATHS executive director. “So we couldn't just cancel and wait until next year. Our community is more important to us than the lost revenue. It's always been about the people. And right now, especially so."
ATHS is planning its 2021 event in Harrisonburg, Virginia.