Sunday, March 29, 2015

The 43rd Annual Mid-America Trucking Show Comes To A Close

Yesterday was the last day of the Mid-America Trucking Show.  On his way to the convention center, Ed took this picture of the Papa John's parking lot, which is where we are parked.  They offer free truck parking for the show, with a shuttle service that runs all day, every thirty minutes, to take attendees the two miles to the convention center.  There are 3,000 passenger vehicle sized spots in this lot, which might give you an idea of how big it is.

This year, the parking lot was PACKED.  I don't think I've ever seen it this full.  Usually they block off the far end of the lot, not having a need for it, but this year we actually parked on that side since we got here late Thursday afternoon.  

A packed parking lot translates to a packed show floor.  The convention center this year was more zoo-like than usual.  Ed and I both commented about how many people seemed to be jammed into the place.  Even with over 1.2 million square feet of space, so many people makes it hard to see all the exhibitors.  The crowd moves slowly, there's a lot of bustling,

In the ten years I've been on the road, Ed and I have been to the show seven times.  It's generally the same every year, and we do notice when there are some new companies exhibiting, but unless we're looking for something specific, our attendance just involves a bunch of wandering around collecting free pens and baseball caps and stickers and really, crap.  And then dining out with our friends.

Don't get me wrong, there's tons to see.  People from all over the world attend this show, and if you're serious about trucking it's the place to be this time of year.  It outshines every other truck show out there.  There is no other place that showcases as many companies, products and services as MATS does.  They have everything from tools to seminars to trucker hats.  If you haven't been, you should try it at least once.

Before the show I usually sit down with the show directory and go through it to see if there's anything other than the old standbys that I want to see.  I take the map out of the book and with a black Sharpie, circle all the booths I want to visit.  And then I ask Ed which ones he wants to visit and circle those.  The exposition center is massive, I need a plan.  And I have to tell you, even with a plan, I get lost every single year.

Yesterday we went together - today I stayed in the truck - and did find the booths we wanted, looking at a new ARI sleeper, the Bose Ride seat Ed likes, and the Knoedler Power-Chief seat I really want.  We renewed our OOIDA memberships, and we checked out the truck beauty contest outside to take some pictures.  But overall, I didn't see anything that I absolutely loved at the show.

I did see a little something I liked very tall, very handsome German that I kind of stalked.  OK, so I didn't stalk him stalk him, but he was beautiful in all his fashionable European glory that I couldn't help but notice him.  And c'mon, he was so easy to spot - his shirt covered his belly and he wasn't wearing anything that smelled like livestock.  Clearly an exhibitor.  Ed made fun of me for snapping his picture but I told him that this guy was my version of the girls the men at the show pretend they're not going to gawk at when they intentionally pass by the Hooters booth twelve times.

We stayed at the show until the very last minute, trickling out with some of the exhibitors, then got lost on the way back to the shuttle.  Did I mention it was freezing here?  So freezing, there were snowflakes falling when we left the building - the giant building we had to walk completely around outside to get back to the shuttle pick-up point because we ended the day on the wrong end of the convention center and once you're out, they don't let you back in.  I was thisclose to calling a cab.

When we got back to the truck, my feet were killing me which was only one of the reasons I decided not to join Ed today.  He took his camera, his backpack and his winter jacket and kissed me goodbye, leaving me to a leisurely breakfast and a day filled with HGTV.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Heading On Down The Highway Until Next Year
2013: Thirteen Ten Clinton
2012: Better Than Team Drivers
2011: The Three Musketeers Make Dinner Plans
2010: Try To Find A Parking Space For This
2009: If The Life Expectancy Of A White Male Is Over Seventy Five Years, You Have Plenty Of Time When You're Ten
2008: Sweet Suite Sugarland
2007: The Superbowl Of Moving
2006: Catching Flies
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!


J. Rayl Transportation said...

Glad to hear that it was so full. It is great when a bunch of like minded truckers can get together. Thanks for sharing.

The Daily Rant said...

J. RAYL: Yeah, it was nice to see it so packed. A lot of people meet up with friends year after year and we often see the same groups hanging out or parked together in the truck lot. There's always something of interest at the show.