National convention

National Convention and ATHS Truck Show Honors Trucking History –

The 2022 American Truck Historical Society National Convention and Truck Show is in the books. This year’s event was held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois from June 9-11. According to the ATHS, the event drew around 5,000 visitors per day.

ATHS members from across the country brought nearly 800 trucks to display throughout the fairgrounds. Laurence Gration, executive director of Kansas City, Mo.-based ATHS, says the company strives to preserve more than trucking history.

“As they say, there’s almost nothing in the world that doesn’t hit a truck at some point. It has to be delivered – whether interstate, across town or even locally – so the trucking story is the people story. It’s our raison d’etre,” Gration told Land Line.

Trucks of all ages and sizes were invited to be displayed during the event, serving as a visual reminder of how far the industry has come. For Gration, it is this journey that he and others at ATHS hope to preserve for future generations.

“Just the dynamics of it. When you think of something like what they were doing in the 1920s with rough roads and that sort of thing up to modern highways, it’s changed so much,” Gration said. “The economy of it, the hundreds of brands and manufacturers that have existed over the last hundred years, they’ve all disappeared. Like the old trucking companies. They all left. So someone has to remember, and our job is to make people remember.

In addition to all the historic trucks, attendees toured supplier booths, received history lessons about the trucking industry, and heard presentations on a number of different topics.

Among the presenters was OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh. He gave those who attended the presentation a history of the Association – from its beginnings during the oil embargo of the 1970s to what OOIDA does for drivers today.

OOIDA’s tour truck, the Spirit of the American Trucker, driven by Marty Ellis, was on hand throughout the truck show event. Pugh said the two organizations — who often work together — share a mutual respect for each other’s work.

“I would really like to thank ATHS,” Pugh said. “OOIDA and ATHS, we do a lot of things together. We try to support them with our Association. I know they support us, and that means a lot to us.

The location of the event changes every year. Over the next three years, the convention is scheduled to move to Reno, Nevada in 2023; York, Pennsylvania, in 2024; and Madison, Wisconsin, in 2025. LL