The World’s Largest Truck Convoy will line up on highways across North America and Canada on Sept. 13 to raise money for Special Olympics.
The convoy began three years ago along Highway 408 in Orlando, Fla., where this year as many as 500 trucks will roll in an estimated 10-mile long convoy. And this year, for the first time, the event will expand to include convoys in at least 23 states and Canadian provinces.
“Each year we’ve done this, the amount of money we raise for Special Olympics Florida has tripled,” says event organizer Corp. Norm Schneiderhan. “We raised $17,000 in trucker donations the first year, $51,500 last year, and we expect to hit at least $150,000 this year. The number of rigs has gone from 97 the first year to 248 last year, with each of those setting a Guinness World Record.”
The Florida convoy’s growth, and strong interest by trucking companies and drivers around the country, led Schneiderhan to team up with the Special Olympics International Committee to expand the event to other states on the same day.
“This will be the first year that trucks in other states will be participating at the same time,” Schneiderhan says. “Special Olympics never before had a single event in several locations on the same day.”
Schneiderhan, who drove a truck for about three years in his dad’s trucking company before he went into law enforcement, launched the Convoy for Special Olympics as a way to call attention to truckers and these Olympics, which provide sports training and competition for people with mental retardation.
“I call them ‘America’s compassionate army,'” he said. “These truckers are making a significant difference in the lives of these children by raising funds for Special Olympics events.”
Trucking companies and truckers who want to participate in this year’s event can visit the convoy’s website at www.worldslargesttruckconvoy.com. Registration packets for individual states are available by clicking on license plate icons at the website.
The minimum donation to participate in the Special Olympics convoy is $100 per truck. Many owner-operators gain a sponsorship from the companies for which they drive. Trucking companies compete to raise the most money to win the lead spot in the convoy.