The Spirit heads to Wheel Jam, even if I-29 is closed again

May 29, 2019

Chuck Robinson


If you are headed to Wheel Jam in South Dakota, keep an eye peeled for OOIDA’s touring trailer, the new Western Star 5700 EX pulling it, and its pilot, Jon Osburn.

Wheel Jam takes place Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 2, on the South Dakota Fairgrounds in Huron.

Osburn and the Spirit of the American Trucker trailer are scheduled to be at the South Dakota Fairgrounds from May 30 through June 2.

Now the trick for Jon is to get from OOIDA headquarters in Grain Valley, Mo., just east of Kansas City to Huron. The problem is Interstate 29, which again closed because of flooding on Tuesday because of water over the highway between Missouri Valley and Crescent, Iowa. I-29 had just reopened 10 days earlier after weeks of repairs from historic flooding in March.

Click here for a map of the I-29 warning, restrictions and closures from Iowa DOT.

The 16th annual Wheel Jam combines a judged truck show with judged car and m shows, barbecue and chili cook-offs, and stock car races. It is a huge party, and Jon is glad to be back. Though he and The Spirit weren’t there last year, Jon has been there many times and Wheel Jam was the first truck show he attended on behalf of OOIDA, he says.

Check out the schedule of events here.

The Wheel Jam parade of big trucks, cars, motorcycles is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Lineup starts at 9 a.m.

Judging for the Wheel Jam dynamic engine brake competition starts at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Jon expects to eat well this weekend.

He is looking forward to plenty of good chili because of the Friday Chili Challenge. The people’s choice public tasting is planned from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. For $5, attendees get their fill of chili and vote for their favorite.

Jon’s mouth also is watering because the 13th annual South Dakota BBQ Championships is part of the Wheel Jam frenzy. In addition to the Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned championship, there will be a Backyard BBQ People’s Choice Competition.

Admission to Wheel Jam is free, but an admission fee will be charged for Friday and Saturday night entertainment. There is a $5 dollar admission to the Big Jim Jam Fest featuring Eclipse, a rock and roll and country rock band, and Flashback, a cover band playing music from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. On Saturday night, a $7 dollar admission will be charged for the music performance by Sushi Roll, a costumed Chicago cover band.

Whenever you see The Spirit tour truck, go say hello to Jon. He enjoys visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. You also can join or renew your OOIDA membership for $10 off the regular price there. Also, you can get vouchers for flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines from Jon at The Spirit.




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.