June 27, 2022

Truck show rolls into Springfield

American Truck Historical Society holds National Convention June 9-11

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Gerry Hall, president of the Lincoln Trail chapter of the American Truck Historical Society, can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

With just days to go before the 2022 American Truck Historical Society National Convention and Truck Show literally rolls into Springfield, Hall can see the end of a long journey.

“We are excited to finally have it on the way,” he said.

Illinois and the Lincoln Trail Chapter of the ATHS was officially chosen to host the 2020 national convention and truck show, with the announcement being made in the summer of 2019.

But between then and what would have been the first day of the show, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Events were canceled around the country, including the ATHS show.

Hall said he and the 45 members of his chapter are grateful for the chance to host the event now.

“Hats off to the ATHS national leadership and the board for giving us the opportunity to bring it back and also the West Coast chapter who graciously allowed us to step back into line and host the show this year,” Hall said.

Laurence Gration, the executive director of the ATHS, based in Kansas City, Missouri, emphasized that hosting the group’s national convention and truck show is significant.

The ATHS has some 20,000 members across the globe, with 100 chapters in 23 countries, with the majority of those in the United States, and in all 50 U.S. states.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” Gration said.

The show opens on Thursday, June 9, and continues through Saturday, June 11.

The event is a mix of meetings of the different attending chapters, truck show, presentations and other live events.

“The main thing for most people is we’ll have about 1,000 old trucks. It’s just hard to image what 1,000 trucks of all ages looks like, but there will be trucks from the 1900s right through the 21st century,” Gration said.

He added that the ATHS focuses on historical trucking, including milestone trucks and history-making machines.

“The clue to it is ‘historical’ trucks. So, there are some exceptions to ‘old.’ One of the examples of that is the one-millionth Peterbilt truck that was built is a historical vehicle, but it was just built in 2019,” he said.

Also on hand will be future-looking trucks.

“We look to the future, so we’re expecting a couple of electric trucks, as well as trucks from the 1900s. The 1970s and 1980s is a really popular era at this stage. We’ll also have an old A model Ford. There’s a little bit of everything,” Gration said.

Meet-and-greet events at the show will include Stormy Wylie, the editor of the ATHS “Wheels of Time” publications, along with “Miss Flatbed Red,” Ashley Donaldson, of Finlay, Ohio, a truck artist and a social media influencer.

Another highlight of the show will be 14 presentations on various truck-related topics.

“Some are how-to’s, so if you have an old bumper and you can’t find a replacement, how do you fix it? Another is on the history of the Cummins engine and diesel engines and how Cummins has become the leader in diesel engine manufacture. There’s a presentation on the history of the Oshkosh four-wheel-drive systems,” Gration said.

Hall said one of the main duties, as the hosting chapter, is to create and have ready the commemorative chock block wheel block.

“It’s a custom of the ATHS national show that everyone who registers a truck in the show gets one of these keepsake chock blocks. We have 1,400 of those ready to go and hopefully we will run out,” he said.

Hall said his members have some loose ends to tie up and work to put in before the gates open at 8 a.m. on June 9. He added that, for those who want to help out during the show, there will be a booth to register volunteers.

“There has been a considerable amount of work and we still have work to do. We try to volunteer throughout the entire event and we encourage members from other chapters to give the ATHS a little bit of time during the show. We’ll have a booth that will be keeping track of volunteers. If somebody comes up and wants to volunteer, we’ll find something for them to do that will fit their abilities,” he said.

Gration emphasized that the national convention and show is open to anyone who loves trucks.

“All you have to do is like a truck. You don’t need to own one, you don’t even need to want to own one, but if you love trucks, it’s a great place to be,” he said.

For more information on bringing a truck to the event, go to register.aths.org or call the ATHS at 816-891-9900.

Tickets to attend the event can be purchased online at ATHS.org/convention or at the gate during the event. Tickets are $15 for adults and children under 12 get in free.

Jeannine Otto

Jeannine Otto

Field Editor