2017-09-14 / Front Page

Big Rigs Rolling Toward St. Ignace

22nd Annual Truck Show Is This Weekend
By Erich T. Doerr

St. Ignace is loaded up and motoring toward a convoy-sized amount of fun this weekend as host to its 22nd annual Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show.

The show will run from Friday, September 15, through Sunday, September 17, featuring a big display of semi-trailer trucks and the famous Parade of Lights across the Mackinac Bridge to Mackinaw City and back Saturday, September 16.

Registration has been strong for this year’s show and there’s a real chance its lineup could top 200 trucks for the first time. The main display areas will be at the Little Bear East Arena and in downtown St. Ignace along the stretch of State Street from Marquette Street south to Truckey Street.

In a new display area, semis will taking up positions during the show at the Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Dock 2 parking lot downtown, next to the State Street display area. Several semi truck dealers will display their latest models near the arena.

“We’re very excited for this year,” Visitors Bureau Director Quincy Ranville said. “The Little Bear is going to be packed.”

“Ice Road Truckers” TV show star Alex Debogorski will return to visit with spectators for the second year in a row. He will sign autographs by donation and pose for photos with visitors all day Saturday in a tent beside the Little Bear. He also will ride in one of the trucks during the Parade of Lights.

Justin Gauden, the Truck Show’s 2013 Guest of Honor, also will return this year and will ride in one of the parade’s lead trucks.

Friday will mostly be a preview day as the trucks start arriving and vendors begin setting up their booths. Mrs. Ranville she is pleased this year’s event has about 25% more vendors lined up than the one in 2016.

State Street will close to traffic Friday afternoon as the rigs begin coming into town. The first trucks to arrive will start parking in the Star Line lot. State Street will remain closed until the Parade of Lights departs Saturday evening, at which point it will reopen to traffic and remain open the rest of the weekend.

After the parade, the returning trucks will park at Little Bear East or the Star Line lot.

Saturday’s festivities will start about 9 a.m. with the semis on display all day as the judges make their rounds. The trucks taking part in the St. Ignace show are working trucks, except for a few out-of-service customs that will be mixed in.

The Parade of Lights will set off from downtown St. Ignace at dusk. The departure time is not precise, but usually, the rigs start trucking out of town with their horns blaring at about 8 p.m. The parade will include almost all of the trucks from the show. The route will take the trucks out of downtown St. Ignace on the I-75 Business Loop to meet up with I-75 before they proceed across the Mackinac Bridge.

The trucks will loop through downtown Mackinaw City, including runs down South Huron Avenue and East Central Avenue, before making a return trip over the Bridge and coming south through Evergreen Shores as they use the business loop to return to the Little Bear.

On Sunday morning, the show will close out with an awards ceremony at 10 a.m. The ceremony will take place inside Little Bear East and it is open to the public.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the iconic trucking-themed chase film “Smokey and the Bandit” and celebrations are planned to mark the occasion at this year’s show. A free screening of the movie is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. inside Little Bear East. The screening is open to the public. During Saturday’s show, replicas of the film’s famous Pontiac Firebird Trans Am and its semi truck partner will be displayed outside the arena.

A silent auction will be held during the show at Little Bear East to benefit the International Trucking School. The school is organizing the auction to raise money for recruitment and education. This year’s festivities won’t include a gun and knife show or a display of model trucks inside the arena, as in the past. There will be a dunk tank just outside the Little Bear.

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