Smiles all around at GBATS 2021

September 27, 2021

SJ Munoz


Big Rig burnouts at GBATS
Big Rig Burnouts was again a popular event at this year’s Guilty By Association Truck Show in Joplin, Mo. (Photo by SJ Munoz)


The return of the Guilty By Association Truck Show in Joplin, Mo., received rave reviews from organizers, drivers, vendors, attendees and on down the line.

In 2020, GBATS went virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the last in-person show for the every-other-year event was 2018. But it was worth the wait, said Bryan Martin of 4 State Trucks, which is the host site of the event.

“You know, we had to cut registration off at some point so we could facilitate the show,” Martin said. “We registered through noon on Friday at 800 trucks, and that’s more than we had in 2018 by a long shot, so we’re not complaining. It’s cool to see everybody out here and having fun again.”


GBATS semitruck pull, sponsored by Lucas Oil, at GBATS 2021
Lucas Oil presented a semitruck and tractor pull on Friday night at GBATS, which was followed by fireworks to close the first day of the show. (Photo by SJ Munoz)

Martin said the response to the return of GBATS was positively unanimous. Even those working the event could hardly wait for Sept. 22.

“There’s been a tremendous amount of excitement from our customers, vendors and sponsors,” said Martin. “We didn’t fully realize until about 10 days before the event, as we were setting up, how excited we were. You know, three years is longer than it sounds. The weather has been so beautiful too, it’s a perfect setup. It’s the ultimate weekend.”

Special Olympics Convoy

Raising funds for Special Olympics of Southwest Missouri athletes is always a major focus of the festivities in Joplin, Mo., during GBATS. This year was no different with donations accepted throughout the weekend as well as an auction for particular spots within the convoy.

Jana Fornelli, program manager for Special Olympics Missouri, told Land Line Now’s Scott Thompson on Monday, Sept. 27, that the convoy generated $151,600. More than 400 trucks participated in the convoy.

2021 GBATS Special Olympics Convoy
The 2021 GBATS Special Olympics Convoy was looking to set a new record after more than $190,000 was raised in 2018, the last time GBATS was held in person. (Photo by SJ Munoz)

“Everybody here is fired up and we’re flattered that they’re spending three or four days in Joplin, hanging out with us,” Martin said. LL

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