This article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives left and right around the globe for about a full year now, and we’re still trying to figure a lot of things out. Events across the board have been canceled and shut down as gathering restrictions to slow the spread of the deadly virus have taken hold, and truck shows sadly have been no exception to this rule. Some of the biggest disappointments in our industry last year were the cancellation of the Ultimate Callout Challenge (UCC) in greater Indianapolis, Ind., along with the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nev. Depending on where you live though (as not all areas have had the same gathering restrictions due to varying population density), some smaller and even medium-size show n’ shines and local truck meets still took place this past summer.
As we’ve said goodbye to 2020 and flipped the calendar over to 2021 however, we’ve made a lot of progress in our education and accomplishments and have seen some signs of hope arise and give us hints that regaining more control of our lives may just be on the horizon as we learn more about the virus and as vaccines and therapeutics are being distributed and administered. Depending on who you ask, life may not end up being quite the same as we once knew it, but I do know this is a battle we will win and this difficult time will pass. With all this said, let’s talk about the future of truck shows and events and what they may look like when the pandemic dies down enough for them to safely happen again. I know we’re all looking forward to it; at some point not too far ahead, there [will] be large crowds at major display shows and truck pulls again.
Several show organizers in our industry have a cautious but positive outlook on where things are going right now as they look ahead into 2021, including Diesel Performance Industry (DPI) Expo organizer Chris Searle, who helps organize the UCC in the spring each year and has a diverse, seasoned background in truck events. At this point, he plans for the UCC to happen on the weekend of May 21 to 23 (around the time of year normally scheduled), provided the local and state laws allow. However, to go with that, he does emphasize the health and safety of attendees, so you may expect some measures such as sanitizing and mask wearing.
“Of course, we want people to really have a good time, but also we need people to be safe and as healthy as possible while doing so, and you need to find that right balance between the two,” says Chris. “I really do think 2021 is going to be a good summer for truck shows and everything like that. I can see that people are really eager to get out and enjoy their hobbies again. I do expect there will be some changes in how the shows are run but nothing really drastic. People are still going to have a blast.”
Also, another point to keep in mind is the virus doesn’t spread as easily in outdoor settings, as experts have confirmed from last summer (lots of folks spend their time outdoors when the days are long and the weather is warm), so that also adds to the optimism for holding truck shows. At the end of last summer, the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza still took place, and several shows in Florida had some good attendance as well. Although COVID cases surged following this last holiday season, I believe the trend of making progress against this virus will continue. Health experts and show organizers alike remain cautiously optimistic about 2021 in comparison to 2020, even though there will be challenges. All in all, I look forward to what this year will bring.