OOIDA’s tour trailer stops at TopGun Largecar Shootout

July 22, 2021

Chuck Robinson


Big crowds are in store for Marty Ellis, skipper of OOIDA’s tour trailer, as he readies the Spirit of the American Trucker for the TopGun Largecar Shootout working class truck show in Rantoul, Ill.

Ellis and The Spirit are scheduled to be at the TopGun Largecar Shootout on July 23-25. The truck show takes place at the Rantoul National Aviation Center

A parade of lights is planned Friday evening.

On Saturday, a Kiddie Pedal Pull is planned as well as an engine brake competition and Dinosores Motorcycle Club bike show. Marty also should be able to find a beer garden on the grounds.

This is the 14th annual working class truck show. There are trophy classes and a wash and park exhibition. There is a truck wash on site and drivers can register their trucks for the show on site. Organizers say they average 175 trucks at the show.

The first 150 truck show participants are promised a dash plaque and event T-shirt, according to their website. Also, competitors vote for their favorite two trucks in the show, and those trucks will be on the event T-shirt the following year.

Last year’s truck show winners

  • Last year, OOIDA member Tony Huttenstine of Queen City, Mo., won Best of Show Bobtail with his 2020 Kenworth W900L.
  • Dennis Stkopski of Bancroft, Wis., won Best of Show Combo with his 1995 Peterbilt 362 and 2007 Great Dane reefer.
  • Tek Smith of Darlington, Ind., won Best of Show Bobtail Limited Miles with his 1984 Peterbilt 359 Extended.
  • Chad Smith of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, won Best of Show Combo Limited Miles with his 2019 Peterbilt 389 and 2020 Mac Dump.

Upcoming truck shows

Ellis and OOIDA’s tour trailer – the Spirit of the American Trucker – are scheduled to be at several other truck shows this summer, including the following.

Excitement in Brooklyn

There was a little excitement at Brooklyn, Iowa, while Ellis and the Spirit of the American Trucker were there. On July 18, a driver backed over guy wire for a pole for the power.

The driver backed over a fence post before hitting the guy wire. Ellis reported. Traffic cones that Ellis uses around The Spirit were repurposed to warn motorists on the highway of the live power line that had fallen until the county sheriff’s department officers arrived on the scene. It took about an hour from the time Ellis called 911 until the power company came out and disconnected line on the highway.

downed powerline in Brooklyn, Iowa
Photos by Marty Ellis, skipper of OOIDA’s tour trailer

Downed power line in Brooklyn, Iowa

Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see OOIDA’s tour trailer, stop by and say hello. Ellis is looking forward to visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. There are copies of Land Line Magazine to pick up there. You can join or renew your membership for $10 off the regular price there. Face masks are available for anyone with a commercial driver’s license at The Spirit.

After Rantoul, The Spirit is scheduled to stop Aug 1-3 at the TA Travel Center in Troy, Ill., before heading to the Ault Truck Show in Ault, Colo., on Aug. 7.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL


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.