Trucking for Charity

Whether they were riding in a slow convoy, parked and looking pretty or drag racing at top speed, truckers in California recently spent three days raising money for widows, orphans and a children’s center.

The fifth annual convoy left the Vernon Truck Wash in Barstow, Calif., and traveled to the Los Angeles County Raceway in Palmdale, Calif., for the 23rd annual Truckin’ for Kids truck show, drag races and Show & Shine in September.

Vernon Truck Wash owner Bill Donahoe says the convoy had 39 trucks when it left Barstow, but arrived with 10 additional trucks that joined along the way. The convoy raised money for the California Highway Patrol’s Widows and Orphans Fund.

The truck show’s proceeds go to the Children’s Center of the Antelope Valley, which aids abused children and provides counseling for families of at-risk youth.

The truck show drew 222 trucks and somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 people. In all, the truck show raised $32,000 for the Children’s Center. The first day of the event brought out the pickup trucks for drag racing, and there was a big rig light show after a barbecue and entertainment. The big rigs strutted their stuff next day with a Show & Shine contest, working competitions, truck drags and super truck drags. So far in its history, Truckin’ for Kids has raised more than $500,000 for the children’s charities.

Vernon Truck Wash manager Cindy Allen helped organize the convoy with Donahoe. She says the convoy and truck show is evidence of the willingness of truckers to help out for a good cause.
“Even during the events, you got guys thinking of ways to make it bigger and better next year,” she says.

“It’s a good way to meet people – over-the-road drivers, show people, family members. And some people just join in to watch.”

Donahoe says he and some friends in trucking have coordinated various truck shows and events for 25 years, but the convoy is the first event that has become a mainstay.

“We did one every once in a while, but then we decided to do one every year,” he says.

Allen says the eagerness of the drivers to help will keep the convoy and truck show going.

“You have thousands of people sitting on sidewalks rooting [the truckers] on. For the drivers, it becomes a regular thing to do. Many drivers would never miss it.”