The Stars Are Out

Sammy Kershaw the following evening.

Big-name country SINGERS, some in free concerts and others meeting fans, will be among the major attractions at the 2005 Great American Trucking Show, Aug. 25-27 in the Dallas Convention Center.

Attendees will also enjoy money-in-your-pocket business seminars, the spectacular Pride & Polish competition and special events built around renovating road-worn trucks.

Mobil Delvac will sponsor the Terri Clark concert Friday, Aug. 26, and Volvo Trucks will sponsor the Sammy Kershaw concert Saturday, Aug. 27. Free tickets will be distributed to registered show attendees the morning of each show on a first-come, first-served basis.

Clark gained fame with hits such as “Better Things to Do,” “When Boy Meets Girl” and “Girls Lie Too.” Kershaw is known for “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful,” “I Can’t Reach Her Anymore” and “National Working Woman’s Holiday.”

Three newer Nashville stars will sign autographs at GATS this year, courtesy of the Midnight Trucking Radio Network. Bobby Pinson will sign noon to 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25; Shelly Fairchild will sign 3-6 p.m. the same day; and Carolyn Dawn Johnson will sign 1-4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26.

Pinson’s debut album, Man Like Me, includes the single “Don’t Ask Me How I Know.”

Fairchild’s debut album, Ride, includes the single “You Don’t Lie Here Anymore.” Johnson’s hits as a singer-songwriter include “Complicated” and “I Don’t Want You To Go.” She also has written hit songs for many female Nashville artists, for example Chely Wright’s “Single White Female,” which reached No. 1.

The free Overdrive Partners in Business seminar for new and veteran owner-operators is 1-3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26. Sponsored by Freightliner, Freightliner’s SelecTrucks and DaimlerChrysler Services Truck Finance, the seminar will be presented by American Truck Business Services of Denver, the nation’s largest owner-operator financial services firm. In addition to handling income taxes for independent contractors, it also provides consulting on all areas, helping owner-operators improve their revenue and cut expenses.

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Overdrive is also organizing the Pride & Polish show-truck competition. The competing trucks – more than 60 entered in 2004 – will be displayed inside the convention center.

Categories include Best of Show Bobtail, Best of Show Combination, Charities Choice and Participants Choice. Bridgestone Firestone will sponsor the category of Most Technologically Advanced Truck, and Peterbilt will sponsor a special Peterbilt-only category.

Prizes for first, second and third place in each category will be donated by Freightliner, Peterbilt, Alcoa, Interstate Scales, United Pacific, Panelite and Bridgestone Firestone. To register, call (800) 633-5953, Ext. 1361, or visit

A truck beauty-to-be will emerge from the Big Honkin’ Truck Makeover, sponsored by BP Lubricants. By voting at the Castrol Tection Extra booth, GATS attendees will decide which of the finalists’ woebegone rigs is most in need of the grand prize, a $50,000 makeover that includes interior, exterior and communications technology.

First prize is a $1,000 trip for two to the 2005 ACDelco National Hot Rod Association Nationals in Las Vegas. Second prize is a portable DVD player and a selection of DVDs valued at $500. Winners will be announced Saturday, Aug. 27.

Freightliner, meanwhile, is sponsor of the third annual Big Rig Redo. Texas Christian University interior-design students will have three days and $500 to develop the themes of classic cars/hot rods and hunting/fishing inside two Freightliner SelecTrucks rigs. The exteriors will get a paint makeover from Freightliner, and Indiana Custom Trucks will do the major cab renovations. Vendors are providing major accessories. The renovated trucks will be sold after the show.

ExxonMobil will have two special promotions, in addition to the Clark concert, to celebrate Mobil Delvac’s 80th anniversary. One will be a NASCAR Ticket Giveaway, for a race of the winner’s choice in the 2006 season. The other will be a giveaway of $80 worth of Mobil Delvac every 80 minutes Aug. 26.

Among the seminars at GATS, one special one will be the American Trucking Associations’ Highway Watch program. Officials will provide anti-terrorism and safety training every hour on the hour. Register at the Highway Watch booth in the lobby. For more information, visit or call (866) 821-3444.

Other free seminars will be held daily. Among the topics will be insurance programs, surviving a safety audit, getting your own authority, company structure for owner-operators, idle reduction options and managing fuel costs.

For more GATS information, or to register for the show, call (800) 349-4287 or visit this site.

As GATS concludes at 6 p.m. Saturday, the second annual Trucking Challenge of the Genders, a fund-raiser for Special Olympics, will take place in the parking lot next to the convention center. The friendly rivalry between Ed “Big Ed” Hutchison of Edmond, Okla., and Ingrid “Half Pint” Bell of Zionville, N.C., stems from a debate on Steve Sommers’ trucking radio show about whether men or women are the best drivers.

The two contestants will maneuver their rigs through a maze of obstacles. A People’s Choice Award also will be presented to the driver who receives the most votes, in the form of $1 donations, at the Special Olympics booth during GATS. T-shirts will be on sale. In 2004, the competition raised $11,500. For more information, call (214) 943-9981.

LOCATION: Dallas Convention Center, off I-30 downtown.
SCHEDULE: Noon-6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27.
ADMISSION: Free online registration at this site, or $10 at the door.
PARKING: Thirty acres of free
on-site parking for big rigs.
LODGING: Find a place to stay at this site.