Another success for Special Olympics in South Dakota

September 23, 2021

SJ Munoz


Since 2003, the South Dakota Special Olympics Truck Convoy has served as a celebration of the trucking industry and its support of the Special Olympics with events in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

The funds raised by this event make a direct impact on nearly 3,000 South Dakota Special Olympic athletes, who would likely not have the opportunity to compete without this effort.

On Sept. 17-18, the Sioux Falls convoy was held at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds with 117 registered trucks and 91 trucking taking part in the convoy itself. These efforts totaled $55,000, which will all go directly to South Dakota athletes.

“We try to raise as much money as possible for the Special Olympics because it all stays in whatever state you collect it in,” said Marty Ellis, an organizer for the SD Convoy as well as skipper of the OOIDA tour trailer. “It goes directly to the athletes, and that means a lot. We want to raise awareness as well. Whatever these athletes do, they do it well. They come with a good attitude. They just put their all into it. It doesn’t matter what it is.”

2021 South Dakota Special Olympics Truck Convoy


This year’s event featured a poker tournament organized by Free Poker Network, which also raised funds, and a lights show on Friday night. Saturday there was a breakfast, Scouts performed a transportation badge, and bidding for truck placement, which raised $11,000, was held prior to the convoy. A live auction, raffles and awards presentation closed the event.

Keeping everyone safe while entertained was of utmost importance, Ellis said.

“We have more of a unique atmosphere in South Dakota in that we never really shutdown as a state because of COVID-19,” Ellis said. “We still took steps to protect people at the convoy, including hand-sanitizing stations, leaving doors open in buildings for air flow and had any athletes who came wear masks. Our goal was to make it as fun and safe for everyone who came. Sometimes that’s a fine line. Everybody did the best they could with that.”

Unfortunately, the Rapid City Special Olympics Truck Convoy was canceled for the second consecutive year due to COVID-19 after a surge of cases in the Black Hills area of the state followed this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Ellis said organizers of the Rapid City Truck Convoy anticipate a return in 2022 and beyond. LL