Sunday, September 11, 2011

The 12th Annual Midwest All Truck Nationals brought trucks and truck fans from all over America to the Riverside Red-X

They say that one of the dangers of owning a pickup truck is that all your family and friends will ask you to use it to haul things for them. If that's the case, Riverside was the location of the most popular people in town, because the 12th Annual Midwest All-Truck Nationals was wall-to-wall trucks.

For the past few years, this event was held at the E.H. Young Riverfront Park, but that location is still suffering from the ill effects of too much water and not enough riverbed. So the festivities were moved to the grassy lot out behind the eclectic Red-X general store. I haven't been to this exact location since the old Riverside Stadium dirt track resided on this spot.

TANGENT ALERT! I loved going to that old racetrack on Saturday nights. Riverside Stadium was grubby, dated, and old. They held great races on the oval, and at the end of the night, they'd run figure-eight shows that would take your breath away. The announcer wasn't protected by a fancy booth, and sometimes he would get in verbal altercations with people in the crowd. But when there was a lapse in the action, he'd always tell you to, "stand up, get the wrinkles out of your britches, and go flatten your bladder." One night, it started to rain, and the hot incandescent lights that were suspended from the frazzly old wires over the grandstands started popping and exploding before someone thought to cut the power. I was really sad to see that place close down at the end of the 1980s; you just don't get that kind of raw, fun entertainment many places anymore.

OK, back to the truck show. There were maybe close to 200 trucks at this event, but it still looked a little down from last year. I can't confirm if it really was or not--maybe the less spread-out location made it seem that way. But most people that I talked to agreed it looked like a smaller turnout. They did say during the awards ceremony that more people stopped to look at the trucks, and that would make sense, because you could see the show from the road better than you could at the park.

The show was Saturday and Sunday, so it obviously fell on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. They played the National Anthem, and had flags, banners, and tributes throughout the weekend. Normally, the Marines are at this show collecting toys for Toys for Tots, but they unfortunately couldn't be there due to a scheduling conflict. They were still collecting donations for Toys for Tots, as well as Operation Breakthrough and Hope House.

Trucks--there were a few. Everything from creamy Cameos to turf-tramping 4X4's. My favorite thing in the show was a black and white '59 El Camino with a tri-powered 348 and '60 Impala seat upholstery. It was just so--mmmmmm.

The American Truck Historical Society brought out some very cool vintage big rigs, like Diamond T's and old GMC Generals and stuff. I really enjoy looking at those, although most of them spent the weekend on flatbed trailers, and it would have been fun to see them more closely.

I have half-jokingly said on here before that you can go to any car show, even if it is brand-specific, and get at least one '57 Chevy car. There were maybe four old cars that snuck on to the show field. On Saturday, one of them was a '55 Chevy, so even though that's close, my theory looked like it wasn't going to pan out. But on Sunday, there was a '57 Chevy Bel Air sedan on the grounds, so it proves that once again, even if you're having a show for trucks only, one of these babies is going to find its way in.

There were several groups that come to this show, and I think the biggest had to be the lineup from They usually seem to get the participation award, and I can see why. They always bring a nice selection of '67-'72 Chevy trucks, and they always seem like they have a good time.

One of the things that keeps me coming back to this show each year is the opportunity to hook up with John and Peggy Milliman and the rest of the crew. The "Stovebolters" are a genuinely nice group of people that come to Kansas City from all over the country for their annual reunion.

Naturally, I brought my earthy '63 Chevy C-10 to the show. On Saturday, Tony Smith, a Stovebolter and local 1960-'66 Chevy truck freak, parked his ridiculously dazzling and freshly restored '66 C-10 short bed stepside with a 327, factory air, and factory four-wheel-drive next to me. My truck wanted to crawl in a hole and die.

Of course, Tony's truck won first in it's class. But there were a lot of classes, and a lot of trophies. Luckily, since my truck isn't restored, I ended up in another class. And believe it or not, I won a first place trophy too. I'm proud of the award, although I think they just gave it to be to be nice.

There was also a model contest. I brought a model I built a couple of years ago just to set on my truck at the show, but they talked me into entering the contest. And guess what--I won a first place trophy for that too! Pretty cool--and the trophy is about ten-times bigger than the model.

The Genuine Chevy/GMC Truck Club of Kansas City hosts and coordinates this show, and they really try hard to make everyone feel like a winner. But in this crowd, there really were some deserving winners. I wasn't totally clear at the awards ceremony, but I think the best of show trophy went to a silver, bagged '67 or '68 Chevy with a '59 Chevy dashboard.   Last year I took a picture of this truck, and it was still finished in black primer, so they've certinaly done a lot of work on it since last we saw it.

I've written way too much. Let's get to the pictures already. There are 364 of them in the slideshow below. Most are from Saturday, a few from Sunday. If you were wondering why your neighbor wasn't home to help you move that big couch to the dump in his pickup this weekend, you'll probably see where he was after you look through the photos.


  1. Great photos of some great trucks! and not a tojo in sight. Thanx for posting. And some of those models - man I wish I had some talent...

  2. Thanks for the pictures. But I think Best of Show went to the blue 72 chevy with the 69/70 grill in it and with a LS6 carbureted motor.

  3. craig, the story is great and the photos are fantastic. you do have the best of show correct and we make everyone feel like winners because they deserve it. participation by each truck helps us to help others and that makes winners. thanks for being there each year.