Monday, September 24, 2007

Chilly wind, hot lights

When folks in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula complain about the cold, you know it’s doggone chilly. And they were chillin’ in St. Ignace over the weekend of Sept. 14-16, as a record-setting cold front greeted the 12th Annual Richard Crane Truck Show competitors.

The cold snap, which produced record-low high temps deep into the Midwest, also brought squally waves of showers that had truck polishers rending their shop rags in frustration on Friday.

But by late Friday afternoon, intermittent showers gave way to intermittent sunshine and, as the trucks parked along the town’s waterfront State Street, their owners had reason to hope they could at last complete their tasks.

Saturday – judgment day – saw increasing sunshine and a brisk, gusty wind that chilled fingers tired from hours of polishing. Some hearty souls looked miserable as they braved the day in shorts and T-shirts; most of the natives wore hoodies and jackets. I’ve been to the show often enough to pack for most conditions, and carried fingerless wool gloves so I could stay sorta warm while shooting photos (you can check them out by clicking here).

Still, I kept thinking about my red down parka, safe and warm in the air-conditioned closet at home in Tennessee.

Enough whining about the weather – like football, truck show folks push ahead in most any conditions. The show was a smashing success, no pun intended, with 116 trucks registered. That was the second-highest number ever. The most registered trucks was about 140 back in the go-go ’90s before the economy went south and diesel prices headed north. You can see some of those rigs by clicking here.

The turnout for this year’s show was a real testament to the attraction of this special place at the north end of the Mackinac Straits Bridge. The Saturday night Parade of Lights over the bridge was the highlight of the show, and by then the breeze had abated enough so the tall combos didn’t weave in the wind. To see the glow in the night, click here.

For more about this show, see the November issue of Land Line Magazine, and also browse the promoter’s site and the National Association of Show Trucks’ site.