Full house

Aaron Tippin, returning for his second GATS concert, is best known for “You’ve Got To Stand for Something,” “Working Man’s Ph.D.” and “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly,” written after Sept. 11. Since his last trip to GATS, Tippin released the album “Now and Then,” featuring a song about his father, “He Believed.”

Two free concerts, hundreds of exhibitors and daily educational seminars provide plenty of reasons to attend the Great American Trucking Show this month at the Dallas Convention Center. Two events will appeal to owner-operators in particular: Overdrive’s Pride & Polish truck beauty contest and the Partners in Business seminar.

Overdrive’s Pride & Polish truck beauty contest and the Partners in Business seminar.

Aaron Tippin returns to GATS for the second year, taking the stage at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, sponsored by Mobil Delvac. The country music veteran has six gold records, one platinum record, six Top 10 hits and two No. 1 albums.

The Wreckers perform at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, sponsored by Volvo Trucks North America. The singer-songwriter duo includes Grammy Award winner Michelle Branch and longtime friend Jessica Harp.

Concert tickets are free to CDL holders, distributed for each show on a first-come, first-served basis in the lobby of the Dallas Convention Center at 8 a.m. on the day of the concert.

Alan Sims, show director, expects attendance to exceed last year’s 46,000 registrations. “Hotel blocks are already selling out quickly, so those wanting rooms should go ahead and register,” Sims says.

The show’s 600 exhibitors include all the major engine makers and virtually all the truck makers.

The Texas Motor Transportation Association is sponsoring free seminars on topics such as surviving a safety audit, purchasing insurance, leasing versus buying and hours-of-service regulations.

Midnight Trucking Radio Network again is sponsoring several autographs sessions. Members of the Chrome Shop Mafia from CMT’s “Trick My Truck” will sign autographs Thursday, and trucks from the show will be displayed in the Pride & Polish area.

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Collin Raye will sign autographs Friday from 1-4 p.m. Raye has 21 Top 10 country hits, including “Love Me,” “In this Life,” “My Kind of Girl” and “I Can Still Feel You.”

Juice Newton, who has 15 Top 10 hits in pop and country, will sign autographs Saturday from 1-5 p.m. Her most-well known songs include “Angel of the Morning,” “Love’s Been a Little Hard on Me” and “Queen of Hearts.”

Midnight Trucking will give away $1,000 at the close of the show, and Firestone will give away a pair of premium steer tires each day.

Contestants can register their trucks for the Pride & Polish competition at www.prideand
polish.com. The show drew 65 bobtail and combination entries last year. Winners will be announced Saturday.

The two-hour Partners in Business seminar begins Friday at 2 p.m. It offers in-depth information from ATBS, the nation’s largest owner-operator tax and consulting firm, on how to run a profitable business.

Each attendee will receive a free copy of the 2007 Partners in Business manual, and refreshments will be provided. For reservations, call (205) 248-1301. The free event is brought to you by Overdrive, ATBS, Castrol and Freightliner.

Before GATS, carrier representatives will attend the Partners in Business Retention Forum Aug. 21-23 at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Dallas. Participants can register at this site.

Another carrier event is the third annual GATS Fleet Forum, where executives can learn about fleet management. Keynote speakers for the Aug. 23 event include Ken Stabler, who quarterbacked the Oakland Raiders to victory in the 1977 Super Bowl, and David Hugel, deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

LOCATION: Dallas Convention Center

SCHEDULE: Noon-6 p.m. Thursday, Aug, 23; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25.

ADMISSION: Free online at this site through Aug. 16, or $10 at the door for adults. Children 16 and under get in free.

PARKING: Free on-site truck parking sponsored by Peterbilt in the Reunion Arena parking lot, a 20-acre paved site next to the convention center. Additional parking will be available nearby at Gilley’s on Lamar Boulevard.

LODGING AND OTHER INFORMATION: Visit this site or call (888) 349-4287.