For the second year in a row, the Southeastern Chevy/GMC Truck Nationals are being held at the Wilson County Fairgrounds in Lebanon, and for the first time, it takes place over two days.
Friday morning, the streets of Lebanon were teeming with General Motors trucks of all shapes, sizes and colors, as they flocked to the fairgrounds for a full weekend spent with other truck lovers.
The event’s promoter, Bryan Ashley, said the only requirement for vehicle entry is that it be a GMC or Chevrolet, it doesn’t matter what year it was made. According to Ashley, this component of the event lends itself to the colorful array of cars from across decades, making for a real showcase.
Ashley said this was the largest event of its kind in the country and that in its 11th year, it continues to grow. The event was held last year and drew in a little more than 1,000 participants by Ashley’s account, but he expects that number to be closer to 1,500 this year.
Ashley said that they’ve seen so much growth and excitement surrounding the event in recent years, that they keep upsizing and that the fairgrounds were a perfect spot because of the crowds it could sustain.
The event has come quite a long way since its humble beginnings. Tim Brewer, with C/10 Club Tennessee, said that the first year they had this event, it was held in White House and featured about 150-200 trucks. This year Brewer’s even more optimistic than Ashley about turnout, saying he wouldn’t be surprised if they got 2,000 trucks out there.
Brewer said that not only has it grown around the state but that it’s now an international drawing.
“We’ve got people here from as far west as Phoenix and Salt Lake City, and several people from Canada,” he said.
Despite the large distances between the members of his club and this niche Chevy-GMC car show community, Brewer said it really is like a family all the same.
“You see the same people and you get to know each other while you’re out here,” he said. “We’re all about the same thing, so we got common ground.”
That’s right, the event is hardly just for the drivers of the trucks to come show them off to other drivers. All interested are invited to attend. Ashley said that over the course of the weekend, they expect to see about 8,000 people.
There are food trucks and vendors, in addition to all the trucks. Jason Chandler, is the marketing director for Auto Metal Direct in Atlanta. He said they do a lot of work with sheet metal to repair older vehicles, so he was out at the fairgrounds with his team, “to show drivers what they had to offer.”
Chandler said it’s a great way to talk to people and discover what’s trending and what needs are more popular than others. “It’s a great way to gauge what people want and need,” he said.
He described himself as a “truck driver of 25 years,” and said he felt right at home among the crowds.
Natural Fiber Extravaganza
Not only is a truck show going on at the Wilson County Fairgrounds, but inside the Farm Bureau Expo Center, an event featuring live alpacas was taking place in the building’s main showroom.
The Natural Fiber Extravaganza is a three-day event celebrating all aspects of natural fiber. It’s promoted as a weekend full of hands-on workshops, education, live animals, fashion shows vendors, shopping, and kid friendly activities.
Those vendors have booths set up and are selling everything from soups, to clothing apparel. As for kid-friendly activities, what could be more kid-friendly than taking a selfie with an alpaca.
Joel Armstrong, JP Acres, Lincoln, Neb. was conducting this booth with four alpacas named Romeo, Goldie, JJ and Ms. Pac-Man. Armstrong said his stand isn’t just for kids, that “everybody enjoys it,” and they can have their photo with the alpaca converted to a button as a souvenir.
Armstrong said the fiber of the alpaca wool is versatile and can be used for many things, but that it was also good for the animal that be sheared. “These animals are native to the Andes, 10,000 feet above sea level, and they can’t cool down like humans or dogs do.”
The alpaca expert said they sweat from under their arms and so it’s important in hot climates like these to keep their wool short.