The Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky is mecca for anyone who has looked at an eighteen wheeler or a dump truck as a kid and wondered what it must be like to sit that high up, looking down on the cars as the miles fly by. A trade show by nature, it’s overall mission is to showcase the latest and greatest in the world of trucking, which normally wouldn’t lend itself to BangShift. (Unless a manufacturer let us tool around with a brand new rig, of course.) Even Lohnes was a little bit skeptical when I mentioned I was going to MATS 2017, since he figured that I’d see nothing but flatbed trailers (stacked in triplicate all over the floor), mattress manufacturers (must’ve missed them) and brand new trucks. There were new trucks all over the floor, of course, and yes, I sat in quite a few of them, especially ones that had sleeper compartments that doubled as a studio apartment. But that wasn’t the only reason to go…a trade show always brings out display vehicles, so I knew something had to be worthwhile inside that wasn’t brand-spanking-new.
And before anybody skewers me for this, somehow I missed a truck show at the back of the building. The PKY Truck Beauty Championship is where a lot of the seriously customized rigs were parked. That’s a fail on my part, and I’m not happy about it either. After seeing the quality of rigs that were present at SEMA last year, I’ve wanted to check out more sorted out semi trucks and trailers. But there were plenty of rigs in the halls, including some classics like Dodge BigHorns, a “crackerbox” GMC, and more that I hope makes up for my oversight.