Tuesday, October 13, 2009

‘You’ve got to stand for something’

Truckers carry on through all kinds of weather, which may help explain why a lashing rainstorm on Oct. 9 failed to keep some 1,300 people from making their way to the 2009 Tennessee Truck Show in Crossville, TN, to cheer show organizers Joey and Vicky Holiday and their special guest, country legend Aaron Tippin.

The rain began to relent just as the concert began in a cavernous service building at Fitzgerald Truck Sales. With guitarist Dave Sloas and background vocals and tambourine provided by Tippin’s wife, Thea, the creator of hits such as “Working Man’s Ph.D.” and “My Blue Angel” rocked the house. The muscular Tippin, clad in his “Sunday clothes” – tight red T-shirt and blue jeans – brought the crowd to their feet when he swung into “You’ve Got to Stand for Something.”

He also drew cheers when he said he and Sloas were returning to the Middle East battlefields to visit troops around Thanksgiving. He explained only the two of them go to these outposts of the War on Terror, and they just take guitars – “in case something happens and we have to run for it.” The concert, which was to benefit St. Jude Children’s hospital, raised $10,000. Afterward, Tippin signed autographs and posed with fans.

When the crowd departed, several of the rigs in the truck competition were lit up for the light show. Lights reflected off the wet pavement like a Hollywood car ad, seeming to double the number of lights on each combo.

The rest of the show was dedicated to raising money for the St. Christopher truckers’ fund. Saturday’s events included motorcycle stunt riding and recognition of the 62nd wedding anniversary of Roger and Eloise Spooner of Iron City, GA. Spooner, who at 87 still drives a dump truck, was a survivor of the sinking of the USS Yorktown in the WWII Battle of Midway.

At the other end of the matrimonial scale, OOIDA member William Payne of Carrollton, GA, married Karen Burnside on Holiday’s stage. Holiday’s granddaughter, Destiny, served as flower girl and ring bearer. The new couple had dated for a couple of years and heard about the show and decided to get married there.

Chad Smith of Hemlock, MI, won the Best of Show award, while the 9/11-themed “Truck of Honor” owned by Bogie’s Express of Tecumseh, MI, won People’s Choice Award. The proceeds from the show benefited The St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund (http://www.truckersfund.com/).

For more photos from the show, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/hudge/sets/72157622554736840/.