Chicken Dinner News

By Sandi Soendker,
managing editor and Land Line staff


As this issue goes to press, we are still buzzing from our five-day trip to the Mid-America Trucking Show. It’s a spectacular, and at the same time grueling, event. I am struggling to come up with something “original” for this lead, but the truth is, my brain cells have been reduced to – wait for it – “extra crispy.” Here’s the Chicken Dinner News, Kentucky-fried style.


Jazzy takes time out to captivate MATS
Jazzy Jordan is probably a little sore these days. Not necessarily from the 2,000 miles plus she’s run, but from the thousands of hugs during the Mid-America Trucking Show.

The Minnesota teen interrupted her now-famous run across the U.S. to raise awareness for trucker health to turn MATS into a meet-and-greet marathon. OOIDA Members Lee and Paulette of Dalton, MN, got almost as many hugs as their daughter.

Jazzy’s brother, Levi, was also on hand for the Louisville festivities, along with a Jordan Enterprises driver who drove from Minnesota to deliver the family of Sheila Grothe, the woman whose death motivated Jazzy’s run.

Grothe was a driver of one of the pilot cars for Jordan Enterprises and a special person to Jazzy. She died of cancer a year ago at age 38. Jazzy believes she might have survived if she had had the care that health insurance would have provided.

When Sheila died, Jazzy was determined to “do something.” She suspended her training for the 2012 Olympics and decided to run instead from coast to coast to benefit the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund. SCF is an organization that provides financial assistance to truckers who have medical problems and who can’t afford health care.

As MATS wrapped up, Jazzy was anxious to get back into her running shoes. Her run began Sept. 1, 2009, with only one interruption (an injury that occurred in the fall). As of the first week of April, she was in Tennessee, with her sights on North Carolina. From there, she will run north and finish in New York. To follow her, go to her Web site, runwithjazzy.com.


Slice of life
MATS attendees met OOIDA Member Gina Angsten from St. Joseph, MO, at the truck show. Gina is the newest member of Freightliner Truck’s Slice of Life program.

Gina was chosen from more than 400 applicants to take part in “Slice of Life Season 2: Reloaded for 2010.” The program allows selected truckers to drive a Cascadia for a year. Throughout the course of the 12-month program, the drivers will blog about their real world experiences on the road via www.SliceofTruckerLife.com.

“I can’t even describe it in words to be honest with you,” Gina said about being chosen for the honor. “I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.”

Gina, who has been driving truck for 17 years, has a real love for trucking.

“I just love being a trucker,” she said. “I like waking up in a different city every day, and I’ve met some really great people while out on the road. It’s not a job for me – it’s a lifestyle – so being an owner-operator really suits me.”

Gina is already accustomed to sharing her life on the road. She’s a member of Trucker Buddy International and sends updates to her class a couple of times every week.

“I’ll just be sharing what I do and how the truck performs at a deeper level,” she said.

Gina joins the three original Slice of Life participants – OOIDA members Henry Albert and Dick McCorkle as well as Kurt Grote.


Highway Angels
Every year, the organizers of the South Dakota Truck Convoy for Special Olympics commission a commemorative painting from artist David M. Porter.

This year the painting was inspired by Leland Martin’s song “Highway Angels.” Leland was given his first look at this year’s painting when convoy organizer and OOIDA Member Marty Ellis unveiled it at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Leland is an OOIDA life member and popular country music artist. He autographed the original and the numbered limited edition prints.

The South Dakota Convoy for Special Olympics will be held Sept. 24-25 at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds, Sioux Falls, SD.


Ice Road Trucker/OOIDA Member Alex is a hit
The roads of the far north are nothing but solid bumps, ridges and cracks during warmer months ... and all gravel. “They are so bad that if you want to get any speed goin’, you gotta take your wallet out of your pocket and put it between your teeth.”

That was the kind of frank fact and humor that truckers and others were treated to at the Paul K. Young Memorial Truck Beauty Championship at MATS in Louisville. Alex Debogorski and George Spears of “Ice Road Truckers” fame were special guests at the trophy ceremony, compliments of Firestone. Alex is an OOIDA life member.

PKY competitors were thoroughly entertained by a superbly personalized slide show from George and Alex. Alex and George spoofed, narrated, chuckled and confessed (in some cases) their way through a collection of spectacular scenes of ice road trucking.

Following George and Alex was hard, but the trophy presentations did not disappoint. Especially the rockin’ fabulous trophies made by Carl Carstens and Rockwood Products. More about the PKY winners on Page 66. LL