South Dakota Truck Convoy for Special Olympics set for Sept. 17-18

September 7, 2021

Land Line Staff

|

The South Dakota Truck Convoy for Special Olympics is just around the corner, and the skipper of OOIDA’s tour trailer is looking forward to the event.

Marty Ellis drives the Western Star that pulls the Spirit of the American Trucker trailer across the United States. Ellis has been involved in the South Dakota Convoy since 2002 as a volunteer and organizer.

The South Dakota Truck Convoy for Special Olympics is scheduled for Sept. 17-18 in Sioux Falls. Ellis and The Spirit are scheduled to be there.

South Dakota has held two Truck Convoys to benefit Special Olympics, but the event planned this year for Rapid City was canceled because of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Though his home base is in Carl Junction, Mo., before becoming skipper of the Spirit of the American Trucker tour trailer Ellis was a company driver for a South Dakota carrier.

Truckers pay a fee to be part of the South Dakota Truck Convoy for Special Olympics. All of the money raised benefits the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Special Olympics South Dakota’s largest grassroots fundraising campaign. Special Olympics South Dakota has over 2,500 Athletes statewide, according to SDConvoy.org.

In addition to the Truck Convoy, a poker tournament, raffles and a live auction are planned, Ellis said. Also, area Boy Scouts are planning events to earn transportation-related merit badges, he said on Land Line Now, plus they are planning to present a truck show trophy.

Adding to the event, the Tri-State Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society will again hold a truck show alongside the South Dakota Truck Convoy show.

“They’ve done that for a few years now, and I am hoping they keep it up. It’s great to see some of those old trucks out there,” Ellis said.

Ellis said he became a member of the ATHS once he figured out he didn’t have to own an old truck to join. You just have to like them and want to support their organization, he said.

Since 2003, the South Dakota Truck Convoys have raised more than $729,000 for the South Dakota Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, according to SDConvoy.org. There have been have 1,971 trucks involved.

The Truck Convoys for Special Olympics started as a local event in Florida in 2001. Since then, the event has evolved into an annual international movement with convoys in 24 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. LL

TravelCenters of America