In a reboot of last year’s event with hopes of boosting attendance and reinforcing a public-awareness truck-show vibe among potential attendees, organizers are feeling positive about the potential second-year success of That’s a Big 10-4 on D.C., taking place October 2-5 between the Fredericksburg, Va., fairgrounds and the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
As of earlier this week, says Oklahoma-based owner-operator Bryan Hutchens, among the event organizers, “we had 103 truckers registered” with a few weeks remaining before the event. There is no cost to register or participate other than personal expenses and any donation that can be made to the local food bank in Fredericksburg that’s conducting the final-day benefit barbecue for participants after the event. If all currently registered show up for it, that would double the event’s size from last year, when 50 participating trucks and trucks parked for two and a half days straight on the mall. The event was founded in the wake of momentum from prior-year protest actions the first week of October meant to engage Congress, the public and regulators with concerns about the electronic logging device mandate and other issues.
While 50 trucks may sound small, Hutchens says, “last year it looked a lot bigger than 50 trucks. And what bigger stage is there, really, for a truck show than the National Mall?”
Last year, during the convoy back to the Fredericksburg fairgrounds, regular readers will remember, participants stopped traffic twice briefly on area interstates for photo-ops of sorts, moves that drew no shortage of criticism — and some praise — from owner-ops and drivers.
Hutchens and fellow organizer Fred Bowerman, who participated last year in a cabover he owns (though he doesn’t haul commercially), say they’re taking pains in coordination with local police to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“A lot of people don’t want to be associated with 10-4” because of that maneuver, Hutchens says. “A lot of people have been gunshy about this year on account of it.”
And the event will remain what it is — a chance for truckers to air their concerns and represent themselves to the general public and representatives of the government, Bowerman says, less a protest than a “tribute to truckers that spotlights issues that affect the driver.”
It’s a big “public awareness event, just with people walking up and talking to them about their trucks,” Hutchens adds.
A new wrinkle this year will be a People’s Choice trophy that will be judged on votes coming from members of the public for the trucker they feel best represents himself and trucking. “It will be voted on by the public,” Hutchens says. “It doesn’t matter if you have a work truck or a show truck.
“A lot of people have never seen the inside of a truck and don’t know anyone that drives a truck. Your personal story, what you go through, can really blow them away sometimes.”
Advance registration for anyone looking to attend is recommended via the event website. 10-4 kicks off Wednesday, October 2, at the Fredericksburg, Va., Agricultural Fairgrounds, with a wee-hours bobtail convoy to the mall that evening/next early morning. Two full days in D.C. are capped with final roll-out back to Fredericksburg for the cookout Saturday midday. More details via this link.