The parade was the official kick-off to Truckerfest 2000, the annual trucker appreciation event put on by The Alamo travel center and Newport Communications. The event runs today through 1 p.m. Sunday, with exhibits, games, free steaks, live entertainment and more.
Truckers sounded their horns for blocks as they paraded down Virginia St., passed under the famous Reno arch and in front of the flatbed rig serving as the parade grandstand. RoadStar Radio News' own Evan Lockridge along with local radio personalities announced details about each truck as it came by. Children urged truckers to sound their horns, and they gladly obliged. There were plenty of truckers' children riding in the trucks, as well, and several threw candy to the crowd.
New this year was the addition of the local Reno High Marching Band, which led the parade, right behind two state police vehicles with lights flashing and sirens blaring. The Highway Patrol also had several vehicles further back in the parade.
The first truck to come through the Reno arch was Marvin Van Kampen's gorgeous rig - but at the wheel was National Assn. of Show Trucks head Bob Guy. Marvin wanted to witness his truck in the parade himself.
Local owner-operator Floyd Johnson was there with his girlfriend, Shay, and grandchild Brenden. He had meant to drive his 1981 Pete in the parade, but the truck wasn't ready, so they were camped out on the sidelines complete with chairs. Shay liked the ad in the local paper for the event that pointed out that truckers are the ones who bring everything people use. "Everyone cusses truckers," she said. "I hope some people come out to see the parade that don't know trucks and get a better image."
Brendan, while he was excited to see the big trucks, wasn't so wild about some of the loud air horns and train horns, and had his hands over his ears much of the time.
Across the street, Sharon Akers waited for two Western Stars in the parade owned by her and her husband's small company. While this wasn't the first time for Sharon - "We make it a point to be here," she said -- it was for her friend, Donna Leonard. Donna's trucker husband wasn't there, but he was on his way in from Arizona.
The grand finale of the parade was the blue Chevron rig, with Newport's own chief editor Doug Condra riding shotgun.
After the parade, truckers made their way back to the Alamo, where they were treated to a free meal of beef ribs, hot wings, chicken fajitas, burritos, lamb chops, tacos and more, along with a mariachi band - and even a trucker wedding.