SPECIAL FEATURE: OOIDA discusses freight and the economy on local television.
OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz talks about the increase in freight with a local reporter. To view, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: OOIDA honors Sirius XM’s Truckin’ Bozo for a lifetime of achievement
OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer and Land Line Now host Mark Reddig traveled last week to Cincinnati to honor Dale Sommers, The Truckin’ Bozo, for a lifetime of service to truckers. To read the full print version of the story, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Convoy Hauls steel from World Trade Center to new memorial site
Earlier, Reed Black brought us the story of the historic convoy that hauled steel from the World Trade Center back to the foundry where it was made in Pennsylvania. A museum at that site will featured the steel in a 9/11 memorial. We’ve found some video of the event on You Tube. Click here to view a list of the videos. May 13, 2010.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Lining Up for a Good Cause
Special Parade of Lights brings benefit convoy craze to Mid-America Trucking Show
It’s Saturday night. A crowd is slowly growing amid a giant square formed by semis.
Over to one side, it sounds like a NASCAR track. That’s Ron Mermis and his simulator, and a trucker with racing dreams is trying his luck as a small gaggle of children gawk, bunched up close to watch.
Music echoes in the background. It’s Joey Holiday, singing his version of CW McCall’s “Convoy.”
Anticipation hangs in the air.
This is the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Satellite Parking Lot at the Mid-America Trucking Show. And something big is about to happen.
That something is the first MATS Parade of Lights. Like the World’s Largest Truck Convoy, the event is a fundraiser for Special Olympics.
But the parade’s story didn’t start at Papa John’s that night. The real tale began weeks earlier.
“I planned this real hard for probably the last four weeks,” James Probst said. “I’m still waiting for that shoe to drop.”
Probst, an OOIDA Member and highway angel (a group of truckers dedicated to helping others), is the brains behind the Mid-America parade. He made the comment while speaking with truckers in Papa John’s.
During a conversation a few days after Mid-America, Probst said that after last year’s Kentucky leg of the convoy in Louisville, he started to toss around an idea.
It really developed during meetings with other highway angels like Danny Reece, along with Ambassadors of the World’s Largest Truck Convoy.
“Everybody kept saying, no, I don’t think it can be done, I don’t think it can be done,” Probst said. “And so we went to Corporal Norm last year with it, with the idea that that’d be a great idea.”
Probst is talking about the closest thing the parade and the convoy have to a spiritual leader – Cpl. Norm Schneiderhan of the Orange County, FL, Sheriff’s Department. Schneiderhan started the first convoy years ago, and his Florida effort is still the largest among all the state and Canadian efforts.
With the blessing of Corporal Norm – as all the truckers call Schneiderhan – Probst, the angels and ambassadors started work on their plan, coordinating with local police and conducting group conference calls with other truckers, assigning tasks and updating one another on where the effort stood.
All of that planning came to fruition Saturday, March 27, at Papa John’s. Joey Holiday’s music stopped, James took the stage, and the truckers, already gathered in the large square at the center of Papa John’s, moved in close.
Probst offered up a series of instructions, filling them in on how the convoy was going to run.
“Four ways on, high beams on, OK?” he said. “More visibility for us. Again, no foul language, please.”
He added a request for all the truckers to tune their CBs to channel 35 – a frequency chosen by a young girl in the audience – allowing the leaders to coordinate the convoy.
A moment later, Corporal Norm took the microphone. He praised the truckers for their efforts, and then announced the grand marshals.
“We’ve been not only honored by your presence today, but Toby Young from Mid-America Trucking Show is one of the grand marshals that’s going to be riding along with us today, as well as Jami Jones from Land Line.”
Then came a convoy tradition – auctioning the position of lead truck. OOIDA Life Member Vicky Youngs, a 23-year veteran of the trucking industry, won the honorary position for $250.
Then, three volunteers were sought to take Special Olympics athletes in their rigs. Those spots were gobbled up quickly amid a sea of raised hands.
A few last details were attended to, including a benediction prayer from another well-known figure at Papa John’s – Chaplain Joe Hunter. Like the other speakers, Hunter praised the assembled truck drivers.
“All right, I hope you all have a safe trip out there in the Convoy,” Hunter said. “You are ambassadors. I am very, very proud of you for supporting this cause, can’t think of anything better.”
The escorts assembled for final instructions, the truckers hurried to their bobtailed rigs, and spectators gathered along the driveway entrance that cuts through the center of the massive lot.
Then, before departing, the truckers fulfilled a wish spoken minutes before by Corporal Norm.
“One thing that I always ask for is let’s let Louisville hear us, OK?” Schneiderhan said to a cheering response. “Let’s let them know that we’re here, OK?
As the line of trucks started to form, Bill Rode, a member of the OOIDA Board of Directors, headed to the Spirit of the American Trucker, detaching it from the iconic trailer. OOIDA Director of Security Operations Doug Morris climbed up into the jump seat.
They weren’t alone. One truck after another was driven by OOIDA members – most in the huge line.
Moments later, the engines revved, the horns blared, and the MATS Parade of Lights got under way.
As the only one of the two grand marshals able to attend, Jami Jones joined Vicky Youngs in the lead truck.
The huge line of trucks left Papa John’s and worked its way over to Crittendon Drive.
Snaking their way onto northbound I-65, they headed to downtown Louisville. A quick turn onto westbound I-64 brought the trucks right between downtown and the Ohio River.
Turning on I-264, the Convoy swept across the west side of Louisville back to Crittendon Drive, turned onto Central Avenue, and returned to Papa John’s.
There, highway angel and Kentucky convoy veteran Danny Reece guided them back into the lot.
From the lead truck, Jami Jones said it was an incredible sight.
“They had their headlights, four ways, anything they could have going,” she said. “It was bobtail only, but it was still very bright. And it was pretty cool because even though the sun was up, the clouds kind of moved in and darkened it just enough so it was really a neat sight to look back over skyline of Louisville and see that many trucks lit up along the river.”
OOIDA Life Member Cindy Stowe – who organized the Convoy for the Cure in Texas this past year – was also in the long line of bobtails. She also noticed how the people of Louisville turned out as the trucks passed.
“Quite a few of the neighbors, actually,” she said, noting they had “signs up and everything, saying, you know, honk your horns.
“They were supporting us. They were very supportive.”
The numbers were impressive, too.
Earlier, organizers thought they had perhaps 36 trucks. When the convoy was about to begin, James Probst thought 50 or so were in line.
But as they counted the rigs on the road, it was clear that more than 70 were taking part, with more than $3,000 raised to benefit Kentucky Special Olympics.
Many, if not most of those present commented on the big turnout, including country singer and trucker Leland Martin.
“This for a good cause of course, and for short notice, I think it’s a great turnout.”
Fellow singer Joey Holiday chimed in his agreement: “For short notice, we had a lot of trucks in it and a lot of enthusiasm, so we’re very happy about that.”
And that’s not unusual. State after state, the numbers of truckers taking part in benefit convoys has grown yearly.
But what was unusual about this convoy was the location, and the association with the Mid America show. Drivers who never joined a convoy before took part. And Cindy Stowe was impressed.
“Probably about half of them had never been in a convoy before, which was great,” she said. “It was really neat.”
The MATS Parade of Lights follows a long tradition.
It includes Corporal Norm’s first convoy in Florida, and long-running efforts like Trucker Buddy.
Since then, the concept of a truck convoy benefit has spread.
Cindy Stowe brought The Convoy for a Cure, an all-women event to benefit breast cancer research, from Canada, where it started, into the United States. And a small convoy has benefited St. Jude’s Hospital.
The organizers of the MATS Parade of Lights say this won’t be the last time they line up the trucks at Mid America. And Jami Jones thinks they have a pretty good chance of making that dream reality.
“I am very confident that they will get bigger and better as the years go by,” she said. “Everybody had a wonderful time, and as I said, we had 73 trucks, and I issued a challenge for them to double that for next year.
“And with all the proceeds going Special Olympics Kentucky, it’s a good cause and a lot of fun.”
As the truckers settled back in at Papa John’s, the rigs cooled down and the sun finished setting, the real party started – part community gathering, part celebration of success, part family reunion.
Jami says that allowed the truckers to put a cap on a great event by enjoying a great evening.
“The volunteers that put this event together had food for donation only, hamburgers and brats and stuff, and there was entertainment by Leland Martin,” she said. “It was a really good time, and we were very tired by the end of the night.
But amid all that fun, there was always the idea behind the entire event – a commitment by truckers to help others. And of course, the knowledge that their efforts were truly appreciated.
It took Corporal Norm to put it into words.
“Thank you so much for being out here participating and helping Special Olympics Kentucky,” Schneiderhan said. “I tell you what, you are America’s compassionate army. And we thank you.”
SPECIAL FEATURE: Packing Day at OOIDA, Part II
WDAF-TV Channel 4 in Kansas City, MO, covered the celebration of the Truckers for Troops Telethon, including the check presentation and packing. To view the report, click here. Feb. 18, 2010.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Packing Day at OOIDA
A video of OOIDA staff members packing boxes for our military overseas. The contents of the care packages were paid for by donations to the OOIDA Truckers for Troops Telethon. To view, click here. Feb. 17, 2010.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Video of Trucker for Troops Check Presentation
OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston presents the check for the Truckers for Troops Telethon to Sylvia Dodson, supervisor of the association’s Membership Department, as country music singer and OOIDA member Leland Martin looks on. See below:
SPECIAL FEATURE: Leland Martin performs “Truckers for Troops” at OOIDA
During the presentation ceremony this week at OOIDA, country music singer and OOIDA member Leland Martin sang his signature song for the Truckers for Troops Telethon. See below:
SPECIAL FEATURE: Paying the piper
OOIDA goes to incredible lengths to collect cash owed truckers – including seizing personal assets
Mark Reddig talks with OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston and attorney Belinda Harrison about the Association’s attempts to collect what truckers are owed from Ledar Transport, a Kansas City, MO-based motor carrier. To read more, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Checklist Fatigue- A Special Series
print version of Land Line Now’s four-part series about the Fatigued Driving Evaluation Checklist, which is being used in Minnesota and Indiana as part of a process that frequently leads to truckers being put out of service. To read the stories in the series, click on the links below:
SPECIAL FEATURE: OOIDA members show their support for our military
Over the past year, we’ve seen a lot of truckers go the extra mile to honor or even help our military overseas. Host Mark Reddig tells about four OOIDA members who have gone the extra mile to say thanks to those who served. To read more, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Trucking pair make the plunge into the word of music
Mark Reddig tells the story of two truckers who have created a CD intended for our troops, but which they’re also offering to truckers who join OOIDA. To read more, click here.
SPECIAL BLOG: Prime Time
Reed Black takes a humorous look at some possible additions to the fall TV lineup – with a trucking twist. To read more, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Comforting words in a world of pitted concrete and rusted metal
Mark Reddig checks into a series of signs along Missouri highways that lead truckers and others to think that bridges are safe, when the opposite is true. To read more, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: NHTSA reduces truck stopping distances 30 percent
The government issued a new braking standard for heavy trucks Friday, July 24, which is designed to improve stopping distance by 30 percent. To read more, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: West Virginia lawmaker gives directions around tolls
While many lawmakers are scrambling to raise tolls in their states as transportation budgets dry up, one lawmaker in West Virginia is telling his constituents how to avoid paying tolls. To read more, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: The Winter Olympics
Did you hear that one of the venues of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver will actually be 2,400 miles away in the Flying J parking lot in Carneys Point, NJ? It’s the “Truckers on Ice” competition. To read more, click here.
SPECIAL BLOG: Bon voyage to the double nickel
OOIDA and its Illinois members have spent years trying to get rid of the state’s split-speed limit for trucks. Those efforts were repeatedly stymied by a corrupt former governor who vetoed legislation that would have eliminated split-speed limits. After all our collective efforts, who would have thought all it took was getting a governor impeached? To read more, click here.
SPECIAL BLOG: Welfare Trucking 101.
For the past couple of years, the plight of owner-operators who dray containers from the nation’s ports has been a battleground pitting the interests of port authorities, motor carriers, retailers, organized labor, politicians, social activists, environmentalist – including state agencies and even one state Attorney General at each other’s throat. To read more, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: In Sunny CA, silly has no bounds. Really.
Mark Reddig sends an open letter to the California Air Resources Board. To read more, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: People who have a reason to be thankful
Land Line Now brings you a compendium of soldiers’ thank-you letters regarding OOIDA’s Truckers for Troops Care Packages. To read more, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Transcript from Land Line Now, Nov. 25, 2009
At the request of a number of OOIDA members, we are publishing a transcript of my conversation with Melissa Theriault Rohan regarding the health care reform debate currently under way in Congress.We should make clear at this time, that this information was up-to-date as of the day it aired on Land Line Now. New information is available daily. To read more, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: The Good Old Days
Trucker Jim Dobbas of California looks back on 60 years in the business as he works to preserve its history. Click here to read more.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Trucking history: It’s a family affair
Mark Reddig reported on second- and third-generation truckers who are preserving their families’ – and the industry’s – history as part of the American Truck Historical Society. The group held its annual national convention and antique truck show recently at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, KS. To read a print version of Mark’s story, click here. Air date: June 2, 2008
SPECIAL FEATURE: Paying for Highways in PA
Part 5: How do we fix Pennsylvania?
In the finale to our special investigative series, lawmakers, industry experts and others debate the right way to get the state’s highways fixed.
- To read a transcript of Friday’s segment, click here.
- To read a transcript of Part 4 of the series, click here.
- To read a transcript of Part 3 of the series, click here.
- To read a transcript of Part 2 of the series, click here.
- To read a transcript of Part 1 of the series, click here.
Air date: May 23, 2008.
OPINION: It’s Time for Congress to Act on Fuel Surcharge legislation
On today’s show, Land Line Now host Mark Reddig said that OOIDA is encouraging all truckers to call or write their members of Congress and ask for a bill that would include: 1) Mandatory pass through of fuel surcharges; and 2) Mandatory disclosure of all fuel surcharges by brokers, carriers and anyone else involved in trucking. To read a transcript of Mark’s comments, click here.
A LITTLE HUMOR: A Story From The Onion
Truckers could use a bit of fun right now. You may or may not be familiar with The Onion, an online “joke newspaper” filled with fake news that reads like it’s the real thing. Recently, The Onion wrote a story about U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters calling for special interstate highway lanes. However, the lanes in this story are not for trucks; they’re special toll lanes for a … different kind of driver. To read the story, and get a little laugh, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Truckers for Troops coverage
The Kansas City Star featured an article in its Blue Springs, MO, edition Tuesday, March 11, on OOIDA's Truckers for Troops Telethon and care packages efforts. To read The Star's coverage, click here.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Reed Black Classic
Before he joined the Land Line Now team, Reed Black was a reporter for KCTV Channel 5, Kansas City, MO. We recently were sent a link to some of the video from Reed's days on the TV, a fun little piece about highway construction - a topic every trucker can relate to. To view the video on You Tube, click here.
TRUCKERS FOR TROOPS: update
Jan. 21, 2008 - KMBC-TV, Channel 9 in Kansas City, MO, recently reported on the assembly of care packages paid for by funds from the Truckers for Troops Telethon. To view the report by KMBC reporter Jere Gish, click here.