Trucker convoys give boost to Special Olympics

November 2019

Land Line Staff

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For some four-wheelers, a long line of big rigs is a bad thing. For the Special Olympics, it means hundreds of thousands of dollars for its cause.

Each September and October, various state Special Olympics organizations host truck convoy fundraisers. Over the years, thousands of trucks have participated to help support the nonprofit organization dedicated to providing athletic opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“Truck drivers are some of the most giving people I know,” said Marty Ellis, an OOIDA senior member who helps organize South Dakota Special Olympics convoys in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. “They are always more than willing to help.”

The Sioux Falls truck convoy was Sept. 21. According to the preliminary numbers, Ellis said the convoy had 168 trucks and generated about $70,000 for Special Olympics in South Dakota.

“We do it for the athletes,” Ellis said. “Our motto is that we come for the athletes, stay for the fun, and come back for the memories.”

Other truck convoys in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Canada took place in August and September. Each convoy brings in tens of thousands of dollars annually for Special Olympics. The Wisconsin convoy alone has generated more than $1.2 million since its inception in 2005.

As of press time, convoys in Minnesota, Iowa, South Carolina, Illinois and North Carolina were scheduled for October.

In 2018, the Missouri convoy in Joplin included 522 trucks and raised $191,175 for the Special Olympics of Southwest Missouri. With the Guilty By Association Truck Show changing to an every-other-year format, the turnout was expected to be lower in 2019. However, the organization was still hopeful the numbers are strong.

“It’s our No. 1 fundraiser,” Robin Anderson, development director for Special Olympics Missouri, said after last year’s convoy. “It pretty much carries us for the year for our sports competitions and training for the athletes.” LL

Editor’s note: If you’ve never attended or participated in a convoy for Special Olympics, you should. Here’s why.