Wheel Jam returns June 3-6 in Huron, S.D.

May 28, 2021

Chuck Robinson

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The 17th annual Wheel Jam Truck Show is scheduled for the weekend of June 3-6 in Huron, S.D.

Wheel Jam takes place at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds at 1 Nevada Ave. SW in Huron.

In addition to the semitruck show, the event includes classic car and motorcycle exhibitions, stock car races, carnival games, and music from rock and roll bands.

Wheel Jam Truck Show is presented by 18 Wheel Truck Promotions LLC. Organizer Scot Marone has been involved from the start, 18 years ago. Not only is he a truck driver as well as a farmer, but the whole crew helping to organize the truck show are truckers or married to one, he said.

He says truck shows like Wheel Jam put truck driving in a positive light and help with the industry’s public relations.

“Once they meet the drivers and see the trucks, then they see that truck drivers aren’t the evil people some groups like to make them out to be,” Marone said.

With people not getting to come to Wheel Jam or most other truck shows last year, Marone said there might be a bump in attendance.

“Everyone has some pent-up energy, and they just want to go out and have some fun,” he said.

As far as the number of trucks in the show, Marone said it is tough to estimate what it will be.

“We’re hoping for 200 or so, but we never know,” Marone said. “I have a pretty good feeling that this is going to be a good show. There is a lot of good chatter out there.”

Before Marone and his truck driving posse began organizing the truck show, Huron city leaders had already created an event but were looking for something to help it stand out. Marone suggested a truck show, and was given free rein to pull it together. A few years after starting, they created the limited liability corporation to help with fundraising and organization.

Wheel Jam events

Admission to Wheel Jam is free, though there are concert fees, registration fees for the shows, and some other fees.

A parade on Saturday gets things started, followed by an opening ceremony.

Truck events include a Show ‘n’ Shine exhibit, a truck light show, and the World’s Loudest Dynamic Engine Brake Competition.

For Dynamic Engine Brake Competition, some 25 or 35 bobtail trucks will compete on Saturday on a quarter-mile course to see who has the loudest engine brakes. The loudest top five all are in the money for prizes and will compete in a final run for the top prize.

Rock ‘n’ Lights is scheduled for Friday evening at 10 p.m. During the truck light show, classic rock and trucker tunes will be aired on Big Jim 93.3 FM. At dusk on Saturday, the traditional Driver’s Choice Light Show is planned.

Admission is charged for the evening concerts. The Big Jim Jam Fest starts at 9 p.m. on Friday, June 4. Admission is $5. On Saturday, June 5, Urbandale Lane performs at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $7.

An admission fee also is charged for the stock car races on Thursday and Saturday evenings at the Dakota State Fair Speedway.

Wheel Jam Truck Show

Registration for the Wheel Jam Truck Show costs $40 per truck. Preregister here. The fee is payable at the show. The show is judged and awards presented on Sunday. If you are running late, come on anyway, Marone said. They understand a truck driver’s schedule and will bend to accommodate them.

The truck show will have yearly classes for bobtail and combination working class trucks.

There also will be show truck classes and new truck classes.

Specialty classes include Best Bull Rack (livestock trailers), Best Refrigerated/Van, Best Hopper, Best Tanker, and Best Flatbed.

Access to the fairgrounds for big trucks is pretty good, Marcone said. Huron is 50 miles north of Mitchell, S.D. The truck route brings a tractor-trailer to the right place.

South Dakota BBQ Championships

During Wheel Jam, the South Dakota BBQ Championships also are scheduled to take place. The Saturday competition is a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned event with more than $14,000 in prizes at stake.

On Friday evening, the annual F.A.T. Friday Chili Challenge is scheduled. Prizes are awarded in two categories as well as an overall judged category.

Immediately following the Saturday barbecue competition, the Backyard BBQ People’s Choice event is scheduled. This event gives the public an opportunity to taste some barbecue and to contribute to the South Dakota State Fair Foundation. LL

TBS

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.