A new tractor pulling OOIDA’s tour trailer rolls into Joplin, Mo.

May 23, 2019

Chuck Robinson


Be careful Jon Osburn.

For the first stop after changing out the Western Star 5700 EX tractor that pulls OOIDA’s tour trailer, the Spirit of the American Trucker, Osburn is taking it to Joplin, Mo.

He will be there just a couple of days after tornadoes touched down close to there on Wednesday. The tornadoes touched down on the eighth anniversary of a massive tornado that devastated the city and killed 158 people there.

A tornado touched down in Carl Junction, which is about 4 miles north of Joplin, and elsewhere nearby. About 40 miles northeast of Joplin, three deaths have been attributed to a suspected tornado in Golden City, Mo.

Osburn, skipper of The Spirit, is scheduled to be at the Joplin 44 Petro Stopping Center on May 24-26. The Joplin Petro is at the junction of I-44 and Highway 43, Exit 4 from the interstate. The Joplin 44 Petro is on the south side of the Joplin metropolitan area.

The Joplin 44 truck stop is a storied truck stop built by Bill Moon and opened in October 1987 as a Petro franchise, according to its website. There is parking for 475 trucks there.

The tour trailer Osburn will haul to Joplin is the same as before, but on Wednesday he traded out the white-with-blue-trim Western Star he had been driving for a deep red 2018 Western Star 5700XE with white trim and silver and gold wings on the sides of the engine compartment. It is 82 inches high with a sleeper. A Detroit DD16 15.61 L engine powers it, churning out 560 hp and 1,850 lb-ft of torque.

Osburn admits he rides in style. Joplin truckers will be the first to see it.

Osburn has been hauling The Spirit in a Western Star truck since March 2014. This is the fourth Western Star truck called into service to pull The Spirit.

Osburn will just miss the Joplin 44’s annual Joplin Truckers Jamboree on June 7-8. Musician Will Watkins will perform at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. There will be antique and show trucks on display, a barbecue cookout, bag toss and horseshoes, and a remote-control truck race. Fireworks are planned Saturday evening. Admission and parking are free.

None of that for Osburn, though. After the weekend, he heads back to OOIDA headquarters to deliver equipment. Then he ventures back out on the road to be part of Wheel Jam at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron, S.D.

Whenever you see The Spirit tour truck, go say hello to Jon. He enjoys visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. You also can join or renew your OOIDA membership for $10 off the regular price there. Also, you can get vouchers for flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines from Jon at The Spirit.

Chuck Robinson formerly was senior copy editor for a weekly trade publication serving the fresh produce industry. He has served trade publications, horticultural journals and community newspapers for 25 years.