Top Gun Large Car Shoot Out to carry on after founder’s passing

August 2, 2018

Wendy Parker


Despite long-term illness, Top Gun Large Car Shoot Out organizer and senior OOIDA member Tom Reitz did not disappoint his fellow truckers and devoted 2018 truck show attendees.

I spoke with Tom a couple weeks before the show. He was in the hospital again with pneumonia. But he didn’t want to talk about being sick. He wanted to talk about his beloved show.

Believe me, being ill didn’t keep him from being Tom. He told me in no uncertain terms, “I know a bunch of people are saying we won’t have the show if I die, but I swear if you don’t have that damn show I’ll haunt every last one of you.”

And that was Tom. He loved the show with every fiber of his being. He talked about it every day of the year, and twice on Tuesdays. There’s not a person on this earth who can convince me sheer determination and love for the show isn’t what kept him hanging on until this year’s event opened.

Tom Reitz died Saturday morning, after he was sure he wouldn’t have to come back and haunt any of us. Because the show must go on, and it certainly did.

The 158 registered entrants couldn’t have asked for more glorious weather. Volunteers hitched up the wagons and circled around Tom’s wife and right hand, Daveda, and they put on a truck show Tom would have been proud of.

Winning a Top Gun Large Car Shoot Out trophy this year wasn’t nearly as important as being there to show support for a long-time trucking family. The pride was evident in every truck, no matter the class they competed in.

Rumors of this being the last Top Gun Large Car Shoot Out were put to rest at the awards ceremony, and dates for next year’s show are set for July 26-29. For a detailed list of winners, see Top Gun Large Car Shoot Out website. All further announcements about next year’s show will also be posted on the site.

Congratulations to all of the winners, and a huge thank-you to Daveda Reitz for carrying out Tom’s wishes of, “Go have us a truck show!”


 Best of Show Bobtail       

Dave Baker, Rock Island, Ill.

2016 Kenworth Icon 900


Best of Show Combo

Greg Ragan and  April Jarvis, Lewistown, Mo.

2016 Peterbilt 389

2006 Great Dane Reefer


Best of Show Bobtail Limited Miles

Dallas McCord, Anderson, Ind.

2007 Peterbilt 379 EX


Best of Show Combo Limited Miles

Kelly Kocher, Rantoul, Ill.

1995 Kenworth W900L

2007 Reitnouer Flatbed Covered Wagon


Best of Show Bobtail Over The Top

Casey Conrey, Haubstadt, Ind.

1991 Mack RD 688


Best of Show Combo Over The Top

Jason Rogers, Oregon, Ill.

2001 Peterbilt 379

2018 Wilson Belt


Best of Show Limited Bobtail Over The Top

Eric Holthaus, Seneca, Kan.

1985 Peterbilt 359