$15,000: The haul for cystic fibrosis from the 2018 Truckers 4 Hope Jamboree

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Jason and Prella Smith and their children at the Truckers 4 Hope Jamboree benefit event in Pennsylvania.Jason and Prella Smith and their children at the Truckers 4 Hope Jamboree benefit event in Pennsylvania.

Truck shows across the country could learn a lot from The Truckers 4 Hope Jamboree, hosted earlier this month and marshalling truckers to raise funds for cystic fibrosis research.

Located in Mill Hall, Pennsylvania, a community of around 1,600  nestled in the Nittany Valley and surrounded by the Bald Eagle Mountains, the three-day show hosted more than 2,000 attendees from all walks of life, ranging from truckers, farmers and local families to rockers and rodeo clowns, all coming together around the hashtag #hopeforhayze. More than 30 local vendors offered ladies’ apparel, local crafts and candies, on-the-spot dynos and a myriad of food choices, among much more.

“Everything we do here is for the kids.” –Jason Smith

The focus of the show was Hayze Smith,  the seven-year-old son of cattle hauler Jason Smith and his wife, Prella (pictured at top). Seven years ago, Hayze was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs. While no known cure exists for the disease, gains in treatment have extended the life expectancy of CF patients in recent years, many of whom now live  productive lives well into their 30s and 40s. Still, with the uncertainty that such an illness brings, the Smith family and their scratch team of volunteers designed the show to not only raise funds and awareness for CF, but to provide the most enjoyable truck-show experience possible for all kids.

Attractions for children included an appearance by the Incredible Hulk, tractor pulls (the pedal kind), corn-hole tournaments, a bicycle giveaway, plenty of great truck show treats and an opportunity to sit in authorized replicas of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee from the movie Transformers.

“Everything we do here is for the kids,” said Mr. Smith, a third-generation trucker with LMB Trucking LLC of Jersey Shore, Pa.

The truck show portion of the Jamboree was unjudged and comprised some of the sweetest vintage iron this gearjammer has seen in a while. It was refreshing to be around folks who simply brought their trucks for the pure enjoyment of being there, supporting a good cause and seeing some old friends. Not a few truck driving stories were told, and there were uncomfirmed reports of a Yuengling or two having been consumed.

Jason Keeler of Jersey Shore, Pa., with his 1950 needle-nose Kenworth. Spec’d with a KTA 600, 2:90 rears and a twin stick 13 and 4, “at 70 mph, she’s got four more gears to go,” said Keeler.Jason Keeler of Jersey Shore, Pa., with his 1950 needle-nose Kenworth. Spec’d with a KTA 600, 2:90 rears and a twin stick 13 and 4, “at 70 mph, she’s got four more gears to go,” said Keeler. Frank Hebe with his 1980 short-hood A model Kenworth. Hebe, who shows on the ATHS circuit, says he prefers the smaller, friendlier shows.Frank Hebe with his 1980 short-hood A model Kenworth. Hebe, who shows on the ATHS circuit, says he prefers the smaller, friendlier shows. Pictured here are Rachel and Don Booth, who brought along their project truck. According to Mr. Booth, the truck, also an A model Kenworth, since repainted, had appeared in Smokey and The Bandit II.Pictured here are Rachel and Don Booth, who brought along their project truck. According to Mr. Booth, the truck, also an A model Kenworth, since repainted, had appeared in Smokey and The Bandit II.

What stood out to me wasn’t just what the show had to offer, but what it didn’t have. There were no punch-drunk prima donnas blubbering like John Boehner because their pretty little Peterbilt lost. There were no roving bands of twinsy t-shirted techno-thugs here, buying people off and throwing their weight around. There were no $18 sandwiches with nowhere to sit. There were just good, salt-of-the-earth working people here, supporting a great cause and having fun in the process.

One of our favorite spots for the weekend was run by the Scott family, whose concession, Scott’s Roasting, featured locally raised pork entrees from their own farm. For around eight bucks, they would serve you up so much food you could barely finish your plate. Speaking as the son and grandson of meatpackers, it was some of most deliciously prepared pork I had ever tasted. Mrs. Scott explained to me that the Bellefonte, Pa.-based farm family tried to keep their prices low so families could afford to eat at the show.One of our favorite spots for the weekend was run by the Scott family, whose concession, Scott’s Roasting, featured locally raised pork entrees from their own farm. For around eight bucks, they would serve you up so much food   you could barely finish your plate. Speaking as the son and grandson of meatpackers, it was some of most deliciously prepared pork I had ever tasted. Mrs. Scott explained to me that the Bellefonte, Pa.-based farm family  tried to keep their prices low so families could afford to eat at the show. Saturday’s events also included tractor pulls, folk music and a riveting corn-hole tournament for the adults. The evening capped off with verteran rockers Hybrid Ice bringing down the house, and a moving light show in support of #hopeforhayze.Saturday’s events also included tractor pulls, folk music and a riveting corn-hole tournament for the adults. The evening capped off with verteran rockers Hybrid Ice bringing down the house, and a moving light show in support of #hopeforhayze.
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