Craig DeReu earns Shriners Kids Choice award at Big Rig Truck Show

August 11, 2022

SJ Munoz

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There’s something to be said for originality.

Craig DeReu, winner of the Shriners Kids’ Choice trophy at the Big Rig Truck Show in Franklin Grove, Ill., said his 2007 Kenworth W900L is practically the same as when it rolled out of the factory.

“This truck works every day. It’s got 1,535,000 miles on it,” he said. “I’m pretty proud of the way this truck works. I’ve spent a lot of money to keep it in tip-top shape.”

Adding to its uniqueness is the 60-inch, double-bunk sleeper in the cab. DeReu said it’s one of the last of this model to be manufactured with a sleeper that size.

DeReu, an OOIDA alternate board member from Mineral, Ill., mainly hauls Midwest livestock, but he also runs between Galesburg, Ill., and Chicago delivering flowers to area Costco stores about six months out of the year.

OOIDA Board Member Craig DeReu
OOIDA Board Member Craig DeReu is proud of the Shriners Kids Choice trophy he won at the Big Rig Truck Show in Franklin Grove, Ill. (Photo by Marty Ellis)

Being based in the region and giving back to a good cause are major reasons why he has attended the Franklin Grove event for three out of the last four years.

“I didn’t go to win, by any means,” DeReu said. “I live 62 miles from there, and I like to show up at a few benefits each year that are for a good cause. Every dollar that’s raised at this event goes directly to the local Shriners. A friend of mine and I try to go every year to support them.”

DeReu said he wasn’t even sure if trophies would be given out this year because it was a nonjudged show. But that didn’t diminish the award by any means.

“I think a friend put it best when they told me, ‘You won one of only two trophies given out,” DeReu said.

This was DeReu’s second time winning at this particular event. In 2019, he won best working combo for one of his livestock trailers.

Marty Ellis, who drives the OOIDA tour trailer, was at the event and snapped a lot of photos.

“It was great to see OOIDA at the show this year,” DeReu said. “The show tends to get a little bigger every year. It’s only going to help the show grow next year.” LL

Truck show coverage can be found under the Features pull-down menu at LandLine.Media.

SJ Munoz joined the Land Line Media team in 2020. He brings a variety of skills to the job as he has experience as a reporter, photographer and in radio. He’s also written for Omaha Magazine, the Lawrence Journal-World, and PrepsKC.com.