Exhibits of all sizes tried different ways to attract visitors. Freightliner's new booth, for instance, is one of the largest at the show. Their new exhibit this year featured a black-carpet highway down the center of the booth, with areas set up to mimic a Freightliner dealership and a TravelCenters of America truckstop, which Freightliner owns part of. The booth looked larger than ever this year, but Freightliner representatives said they actually brought fewer trucks to make the space seem larger and more inviting.
Each year, Peterbilt uses women in beautiful evening gowns, including one playing a grand piano, to emphasize their slogan of "Class Pays."
At the Kenworth booth, Lisa Thornhill, who shares the limelight on the show "18 Wheels of Justice" with a Kenworth T2000, signed autographs.
The National Assn. of Show Trucks, with an exhibit outside the West Wing, used a miniature blimp with the NAST and RoadStar logos on it to attract attention, if the gorgeous shiny rigs weren't enough. One small child was seen pulling his parents toward the exhibit after the blimp caught his eye.
Grammy award winners the Oak Ridge Boys (pictured, top) joined the hosts of one overnight radio network to sign autographs for hundreds of fans in the lobby. Later they participated in a live remote radio broadcast.
Vulcan Chain and Webbing Products featured monster truck puller Dan Holtmann and his really big truck (pictured, center).
A much smaller pulling vehicle was on display in the Ace Doran Hauling and Rigging booth, one of many trucking companies at the show hiring on new drivers. The competition-pulling tractor (pictured, bottom) is owned by Geno Zacha, Ace Doran terminal manager in Peoria, IL. Daina Tucker, who posed on the tractor for our photographer, polished visitors' boots as an added attraction.
And that's just a sampling of the hundreds of enticements visitors to Mid-America found at this year's booths. For more information on the show, visit www.truckingshow.com.
Photos by Bette Garber.