Hold tight! Storms lashed parking-lot festivities the final day of MATS

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More than a hundred fans of Tony Justice braved storm warnings to hear the beloved trucker-songwriter play, only to be forced to evacuate the Uber Freight Tent Saturday night at MATS two songs into the long-awaited concert in The Papa John’s Parking Lot. Amidst steady rain and strong winds , the walls and roof of the tent couldn’t hold out the water, sending attendees scurrying for more reliable shelter just as this gearjammer and his better half were about to walk in.

A Facebook live feed of the incident was captured by long time TJ fan Jeff Veronen, who attributed the event to a combination of strong winds and the flimsiness of the tent. The Minnesota-based hauler remarked, “It was pretty windy, but there were many other tents that survived the storm.”

Posted by Jeff Veronen on Saturday, March 30, 2019

As the gusts worsened throughout the evening, truckers took turns holding down poles at yet another concert, this one held at the still-standing Redneckanize tent. Perennial favorites Terrance Mathis, a.k.a. “Jake Brake Junkie,” and Brad James of “Detention” fame entertained a packed house.

An auction was officiated by trucker-songwriter Taylor Barker (second from right, with James, right, and Mathis, far left), which raised $500 to recoup some of the costs Redneckazine incurred for putting on the event. Pictured here is one of the winners with the night’s talent.An auction was officiated by trucker-songwriter Taylor Barker (second from right, with James, right, and Mathis, far left), which raised $500 to recoup some of the costs Redneckazine incurred for putting on the event. Pictured here is one of the winners with the night’s talent.

Texas-based trucker Edward Prince of Redneckanize recounted the evening to me with pride: “It was awesome! Our tent was originally tied down between two flatbeds. So mild wind wasn’t gonna effect us. But that wind was tremendous!”

Prince and company “had a trucker manning each pole,” he said. “Some poles we had two truckers. Twelve poles in all. Then several other truckers were standing on the tarp along the walls, keeping it from lifting up. We held it like that for an hour and a half. The ones by the corners got wet. I changed my shoes,” and others “had to change clothes and shoes. After it settled down it was still pretty windy. Drivers brought over extra straps to reinforce parts of the tent to the trailers. This one trucker pulled his truck over in front and secured the middle of the tent to the back of his bobtail. Then we jammed all the way to midnight!”

Truckers Holly and Dusty , holding down two of the tent poles. The show must go on.Truckers Holly and Dusty , holding down two of the tent poles. The show must go on.

Many, though (yours truly included), had simply declared the evening shot shortly after the ride-share giant’s tent had taken on water earlier that evening. We retreated, drenched and shivering, to respective sleeper berths. Oh the folly of underestimating a few good hands, a couple flatbeds and some ratchet straps!

Edward Prince and crew at the Glendale, Ky., Petro.Edward Prince and crew at the Glendale, Ky., Petro.
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