'Last ride' for Waupun Truck-N-Show

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Waupun Truck-N-Show last ride
The 35th Waupun Truck-N-Show will be the final iteration of one of the longest-running truck shows in the country.

“Like the old phrase, all good things come to an end -- this is one of them.” --Nancy Kutschenreuter, Waupun Truck-N-Show vice president

That’s right. One of the mainstays on the truck show circuit is coming to an end after the 35th iteration of the show this year.

The Waupun Truck-N-Show, one of the oldest truck shows in the country, will be held Aug. 9-10 in Waupun, Wisconsin, in what show organizers are calling “Our Last Ride Thru Waupun.”

Kutschenreuter, who has been part of the show for 27 of its 35 years, said the organizers are all getting older and looking to retire. “It’s a nonprofit, so you don’t get paid to do this job,” she said, but that hasn’t made the decision to end the show any easier. “It was a very hard decision.”

Through the years, it's supported the Make-a-Wish Foundation, raising nearly $400,000 and giving away 47 wishes to children in the program. The show has also helped support the Special Olympics and REACH Relief, an organization that helps children in need.

Waupun night paradeThe Friday night lights parade at the Waupun Truck-N-Show is "one of the largest light shows in the Midwest," according to show VP Nancy Kutschenreuter.

The Waupun Truck-N-Show launched after five friends -- Ron VandeZande, Don Schultz, Steve Wendt, Don Williamson and Alton Asmus -- stopped at a diner on their way home to Waupun after a truck show in Green Bay, Wisconsin. As they sat around the table, the Waupun Truck-N-Show was born.

It started out very small, with “girls on the back of a hay wagon” registering trucks for the show as they rolled into town, Kutschenreuter said, growing through the years to feature as many as 500 trucks at its high point. Today, Kutschenreuter said the show averages around 300-350 trucks each year.

One of the highlights is the pair of parades -- one of which Kutschenreuter said features “one of the largest light shows in the Midwest.” A night parade through Waupun will be held on Friday night, Aug. 9, and a “Ride of Pride” parade on Saturday afternoon.

For each, an auction for parade spots will benefit REACH Relief (Friday's event) and Make-a-Wish (Saturday).

Pete Transport truckThe parade marshal for the final year will be Pete Transfer/Pete Transport, based in Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

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To celebrate the final edition, organizers are bringing back people who've been part of the show for numerous years. Based on early feedback from the trucking community, and the fact that this is the last show, Kutschenreuter said she thinks “it’s going to be a big year.”

Given limited show staff, there will be no pre-registration for truck show competitors and parade participants this year. All registration will be done on-site. Competition and parade registrations begin at noon Thursday, Aug. 8. Show competitors have until Friday, Aug. 9, at 8 p.m., to get registered. Judging will begin early Saturday morning. Parade-only registration will remain open through noon Saturday, Aug. 10.

As always, there will be live entertainment on both Friday and Saturday, plenty of vendors and much more. The show is free for nonparticipant attendees -- “no paying for parking, no paying to come in the gates. The only thing you pay for is your food,” Kutschenreuter said.

“The show would’ve never been possible without all the members, volunteers and the sponsors that have supported us for many, many years.”

[Related: A new era for CAP Trucking, Overdrive 2022 Small Fleet Champ]