Texas-Sized Show

Saturday’s Tracy Byrd concert will be sponsored by Volvo Trucks North America.


DATES: Sept. 26-28

PARKING: Free truck parking in Reunion Arena lot


INFORMATION: Lodging, Dallas tourism, show details – www.gatsonline.com or (888) 349-4287

The 2003 Great American Trucking Show promises to be bigger and better than ever, offering two free concerts with top-name country artists, lots of giveaways and a wide range of exhibits and other industry events.

It will be easier than ever to attend this year’s show at the Dallas Convention Center because free on-site truck parking – a paved 20-acre lot adjacent to the center – is available.

The fifth annual GATS, Sept. 26-28, will feature Overdrive‘s Pride & Polish truck beauty contest, the Internet and Technology Pavilion, the Recruitment Pavilion, the Commercial Work Pavilion, the Expedite Pavilion and more.

Free seminars will cover topics such as tax solutions for drivers, safety audits, reducing insurance costs, extending engine life, financial planning, tax deductions and the new hours of service regulations.

“Since GATS is a large show with many different people attending, we have created diverse offerings to meet the interest of all our attendees,” says Randy Schwartzenburg, GATS director.

That includes having attractions that will please an entire family, such as this year’s concert offerings.

Mobil Delvac will sponsor Diamond Rio in concert on the opening night, Friday, Sept. 26. The group has won six Vocal Group of the Year awards from the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. It is known for award-winning singles including “I Believe,” “One More Day” and “Love A Little Stronger.”

Saturday’s Tracy Byrd concert will be sponsored by Volvo Trucks North America. Some of Byrd’s best-known songs include “Watermelon Crawl,” “Just Let Me Be in Love” and “Keeper of the Stars,” named 1996 Song of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.

Tickets to both concerts are free, but limited. Registered attendees will be able to pick them up starting at 10 a.m. on the day of that night’s show.

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In a new GATS event sponsored by Freightliner, six lucky Freightliner owners will win a complete sleeper cab makeover at the show. Interior designers from the Dallas area will transform the interiors with themes such as NASCAR, country-western, the beach or Route 66. The refurbished trucks will be displayed near the Pride & Polish area.

Hollywood stunt driver Mike Ryan will sign autographs in the Trucker Buddy International Booth. Available for autographing will be a scale model of Ryan’s rig that set the world’s record for the Class 8 truck race in the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb.

Doug Stone of The Midnight Trucking Radio Network will sign autographs Friday afternoon.

GATS attendees will have a chance to win some valuable giveaways:

  • Volvo Trucks North America is giving away a fully spec’d VN 780 or one of three special owner-operator packages.
  • The Midnight Trucking Radio Network will have a $1,000 prize drawing.
  • Detroit Diesel will give two tickets to NASCAR’s Daytona 500 in February.
  • Bridgestone/Firestone is giving away two Bridgestone steer radial tires and two Firestone steer radial tires each day.
  • Those registering for GATS through www.gatsonline.com have the chance to win dinners at Dallas restaurants, passes to the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament and V.I.P. concert seating.
  • Attendees can receive a 4-foot-by-6-foot American flag by visiting exhibitors participating in the Proud American Sweepstakes. One attendee will win $1,000.
  • A nondenominational worship service will be held at 8:30 a.m. Sunday in the convention center. Music at the service will be performed by local artists.

    At GATS, Truckers News will announce the winner of its second annual Great American Trucking Family contest.

    New this year is the Fleet Pavilion and Lounge, which will showcase products and services related to fleets. Also, seminars will be offered for fleet executives.

    In addition to the wide variety of entertainment and attractions offered in Dallas, GATS attendees have the option of visiting the State Fair of Texas, which opens the same day as GATS. The fair will be held at Fair Park, two miles east of downtown.

    During the GATS weekend, fairgoers can see free concerts, with Sandy Patti performing Friday, Jo Dee Messina on Saturday and Eddie Money on Sunday.