September 16th, our dispatcher Brandon packed up his truck, grabbed his tent and he drove across the state of Michigan, across the Mackinac Island bridge into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the town of St. Ignace for the annual Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show. Brandon, had never been to this truck show but after his last truck convention at Houston’s Truck N’ Hustle he was eager and ready to attend more of these events, for the primary purpose of promoting Elite Driver Systems.
Elite Driver Systems is a dispatch company that focuses on back-office support, capacity management, booking, customers, negotiations, and tracking. As for the Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show, the event was organized by St. Ignace Visitor Bureau and this year was the 26th annual truck show and it was a display of the biggest and baddest trucks in the industry. With people traveling from as far as Texas and Wisconsin to get the best views of their semis as well as compete for prizes for the annual driver awards ceremony! While there are many events and opportunities to network at this event, I asked Brandon the event went all weekend starting right at 9AM on September 15 when all the owner operators registering their trucks for the event and then at 2PM sharp the festivities began with the Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show Convoy that departs Grayling in route to St. Ignace.
The following day, all day registration began followed by a silent auction beginning at 10AM at the Little Bear East Arena immediately followed by the Scream ‘N Rebels arrive into Mackinac County Airport with the full display available for viewing until the end of the evening. The event was not complete for the day without live music outdoors as well as street performers and food trucks while the Parade of Lights was displayed. The parade of lights is a huge attraction where 200+ semi-trucks drive across the Mackinac Bridge in parade form covered in lights while the drivers are busy honking and pulling jake brakes to make a statement. The Parade of Lights begins at dusk and is a popular attraction amongst many and people line the streets to get the glorious views of the semis driving a lit up across the Mackinac Bridge.
We sat down with Brandon to get his thoughts and experience at his first Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show. Brandon, who had just attended the Truck ‘N’ Hustle networking convention down in Houston at the end of August said this event was an entirely different beast, “The drivers who display their trucks are incredibly proud of their truck and equipment… some of the drivers I spoke to are retired now and spend their time traveling to various truck festival across the state. This is more than just a career or a passion for them, this is their way of life.” Brandon went on to explain that a lot of the drivers who had traveled to this event have been coming annually since it began 26 years ago. While this truck show is a great opportunity for drivers to showcase their trucks it is also for a good cause. A portion of the proceeds from the Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show are donated to the Helen Moss Breast Cancer Research Foundation to help fight again cancer by raising money from this event!
Richard Crane, was an owner operator who started a scholarship fund to help educate men and women alike who are interested in pursuing a career as a CDL driver as well as starting the American Truck Driving School in Elm Mott, Texas. Once the American Truck Driving School had begun, Crane started to think about his new idea of a trucking classroom on wheels and finding new ways to gain interest in the trucking field. The primary goal of this foundation and scholarship is to help likeminded individuals who are interested in trucking and transportation achieve their goals by providing assistance and information to help get them started. At this year’s annual memorial truck show there were 241 trucks in attendance all competing for some of the top 3 prizes as well as listening to some live music and getting the crowed excited and eager to be a part of something, helping fund cancer research and helping educate future owner operators in the trucking industry.
While Brandon explained this as a great event and an incredible opportunity to learn more about different kinds of trucks, he was able to speak with some of the owner operators he had called previous to try and assist them with dispatching services. Overall, he described the event as a learning experience, a way to better understand the minds of these drivers who travel across the country to take part in a great cause, to speak with others who share their passion and to help further the dream Richard Crane had for the trucking industry as well as getting to learn from new people and hear about what it is that motivates them in this industry. Elite is proud to be able to attend such events and learn from people whose passion is in the development of the future of trucking and making a difference in the world.