GATS 2018 – Quick Review of Great American Truck Show
The Great American Truck Show always serves up a variety of knowledge and entertainment. A few of us from Steelhead Finance made plans to make it back down to Dallas, TX for the show this year after missing it last year. We experienced quite the adventure before we even landed in Dallas.
While we intended to be at GATS first thing Thursday (Day 1), our airline had other plans for us. We arrived at Medford International Airport at 4:15 am only to find out from the security gate that our flight was delayed to 11:30 am. Fine… we’ll come back. When we did, we found out the flight was cancelled. No time to be frustrated. How do we get to Dallas? We rented a one-way car and drove to Eugene, OR since they had a flight out four hours later. After hauling up Interstate 5 to get there, we discovered that flight was delayed. Wait, are we destined to not get to Texas? Can’t hold us down!
We finally flew out to San Francisco. Four hours to kill on that layover before we made our way to the land of GATS and arrived at 5:30 am (hours before Day 2 of GATS started). We slept for two hours then popped a Red Bull for breakfast and got after it!
The Truck Show
The moment you walk into the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center you immediately get a trucking high. There is so much buzz going on in every direction before you even get to the main open pavilion space. Registration, RedEye Radio conducting interviews, food outlets (which were distracting already), and more.
By the time we entered the main floor we immediately saw some friends from the last time we attended. It’s always great catching up in what seems to be a massive trucking reunion. You get to really catch up with people and get to know what they’re doing rather than rely on the occasional social media posts.
There are beautiful trucks everywhere. It’s always amazing to see the work some of these guys put in behind the chromed out show trucks in the Pride and Polish event. They will spend years restoring and upgrading. Take a look at the quick highlight reel with some of the trucks I posted.
We enjoyed connecting with some other long-time friends that include the following folks (that you should definitely check out online when you get a chance:
- George and Wendy (thegandwshow.com)
- Bailey Hawn (Drive-Eld.com)
- Palerider (https://www.youtube.com/user/PaleriderTV)
- Tony Justice (tonyjusticemusic.com)
- David Rogers (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUIhtq-Lbr41-vcJpB-ctnA)
- Tex Crowley (https://www.youtube.com/user/593Films)
These were just a few of the fine people we caught up with at GATS this time around.
There were hundreds of vendors offering up any and every product/service you could think of in the trucking world. Financing, ELD options, roadside assistance, recruiters, apparel, and the latest gadgets and gizmos just to name a few. There are a lot of options to test different products such as a squidgy to clean your mirrors, the comfiest seat you’ve ever sat on (for the truck), simulators, tire pressure gauges, headsets, and cameras. You’ll also find plenty of prize wheels, badge-scanning promotions, and other contesting to win prizes such as time in the money machine, tablets, cold hard cash, shirts, and quite a bit more.
Multiple times throughout the day there are different forums, sessions, classes, presentations, and other events that take place on the three different stages throughout the building. This time around, there was no shortage of discussions on ELDs. In fact, one of the first ones I walked in on already had some heated Q&A regarding the way the current regulation is structured. No big shocker there.
We came across quite a few sessions that allowed for quality banter on hot issues. In addition to a few sessions on ELDs, we heard general legal topics for drivers, a tax law presentation, parking issues, and financing for trucks and fleets. The Health and Wellness Pavilion Stage had coaches, doctors, and other experts covering topics like diabetes, fitness, and fatigue behind the wheel. They also brought in a couple chefs to demonstrate how appropriate diets can be maintained even while on the road.
What’s the Value?
Our crew at Steelhead Finance has found great value in these types of trucking shows over the years and witnessed the great impact it’s had on others in the industry. Being able to reconnect (or connect for the first time) with big players and up-and-comers in the transportation industry allows everyone to expand their knowledge and awareness regarding what’s currently going on in trucking.
It could be the educational sessions that spark a new way to think about current issues. It might be connecting with the right recruiters to get you launched. When you get this many people in the transportation sector together, there’s no telling what opportunities you might come across (or how much wild and crazy fun you can have).
Til next time! We look forward to seeing everyone at MATS in Louisville next year.
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