July 1-3, 2005 at Owensboro, KY was the first year for the Hot Rod Truck Show. There was a similar all truck show in the 1990’s in Owensboro but it died out after several years. Contrary to what you may have heard earlier, we did not win any awards. There was a good mix of home-built and professionally done trucks (some of the custom trucks there worth $100,000.00 and up). Nevertheless, we just enjoyed the opportunity to show up, have our truck admired, and talk to many great folks with a similar interest.

There were approximately 250 trucks registered (they are planning for 500-600 next year). The show was located at the Executive Inn hotel on the Ohio River in Downtown Owensboro. Very nice place with reasonable rates and a good air-conditioned exhibit hall (a plus in the 85 degree + heat). About 20 vendors were present both inside and outside, names like Air Ride, Flowmaster, Jasper Engines & Transmissions, several Chrome and Powder Coating vendors and many others I can’t recall. There was a professional pin striper and photographer with studios inside and they were busy all weekend.

Downtown Owensboro is nice, lots of shops and places to eat. Becky and I rolled in about 5 PM Friday evening and found a great shady spot to set-up in a public park next to the hotel and right on the Ohio River. Left our truck there that night with little concern, as there were plenty of security personnel hired by the show and hotel to patrol the area 24 hours each day.

There was a steady stream of spectators Friday evening and all day Saturday. Lots of live entertainment (oldies bands) both nights and food vendors everywhere. Saturday we relaxed by sitting around the truck talking to spectators, looking at other trucks, and talking to vendors. Becky shopped downtown most of the day and we found several great places to eat within walking distance of the hotel.

Saturday night a local car club hosted a cruise-in at the mall so we drove down and mixed with 80-100 cars and trucks. More live music and lots of questions from spectators. The show finalists were announced Saturday evening at the hotel and their trucks photographed in the studio before they were moved to a special display area next to the exhibit hall for Sunday.

Sunday we took a final tour around the trucks and vendors, and then left at 10 AM for the drive home. Awards were presented at 1 PM so we aren’t sure who won what. Arrived in IL at 5 PM and was very pleased with the way my truck performed on trip. Took the interstate down and 2-lane roads back to home.

A great experience for our first road trip. I’m ready to take another!

Carl Ham ’56 Chevy Step side Pickup Hopewell, IL