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Love Affairs in the Making

By on January 1, 2017

Join in the Fun of a 45-Year Lovefest

Our Mission: To preserve the history of trucks, the trucking industry and its pioneers

As its name and mission statement imply, the non-profit American Truck Historical Society has fostered a 45-year love affair involving trucks and their owners. You can’t have one without the other. Fans and supporters of the trucking industry form another contingent that satisfies their curiosities by being interested onlookers. If you own an old truck, restored or not, or just enjoy the sights and sounds of old trucks, you should join the lovefest that helps you fantasize about what life on the road must have been like back in the day.

For less than a dollar a week, you can become a participant in shaping and preserving the history of those who came before you. Whether you like to see the 18-wheelers of yesteryear, the Divco home-delivery trucks that you or maybe your parents grew up with, or any size and shape of vocational truck you can imagine, you’ll see them all at American Truck Historical Society shows, on the ATHS website and in its top-quality publications. From restored beauties to recent barn finds, trucks of the past help you understand the deep roots that fostered the industry’s growth, while shaping your livelihood today.

Incorporated in 1971, the original American Truck Historical Society headquarters was established in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. When Mr. Harris Saunders, Sr. (Saunders Truck Leasing) became president of the organization in 1977, he relocated the headquarters to Birmingham, Alabama. He hired his daughter, Mrs. Zoe S. James, to oversee the library, archives, and membership.

ATHS Today & Tomorrow

In 2001, the ATHS purchased a 30,700-ft2 building and more than nine acres of land in Kansas City, Missouri to permanently house the Society’s headquarters and the Zoe James Memorial Library & Archives. The library boasts a collection of more than 100,000 photographs; 35,000 pieces of sales literature; 45,000 books and periodicals, along with a large collection of scale model trucks.

Today, the ATHS has become an international organization with members in all 50 states and 23 countries. Also, ATHS has almost 100 local chapters, including five Canadian, one Australian, and three divisional chapters. One of the many benefits of ATHS membership is the great friendships that are made and the camaraderie that characterizes local, regional and national events.

What the future holds is yet to be written, but with the solid support of a dedicated board of directors, staff and the ongoing relationships with ATHS chapters around the world, the future looks bright.

Spectacular Annual Event

An annual convention has been held each year since 1972, and an antique truck show, open to the public, was added in 1980. These shows have grown from a handful of trucks during year one to more than 1,000 trucks, buses and RVs, military and special interest vehicles, and fire apparatus in 2016. Approximately 15,000 ATHS members and other truck lovers attend each year.

Trucks of nearly every vintage and make are represented at the show, from the high-spokers of the early 1900s to the big rigs like you drive. To be considered antique, trucks must be at least 25 years old, however, all working and show trucks are welcome. Many truck-related vendors are onsite selling memorabilia, books and manuals, photos, model trucks, parts, and more.

Using a three-year rotation, the show moves between the Eastern, Western and Midwestern regions of the county. The next three ATHS Annual Conventions & Truck Shows are already scheduled as follows:

  • 2017 – Des Moines, Iowa, May 25-27 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds
  • 2018 – Lexington, Kentucky, May 31-June 2 at the Kentucky Horse Park
  • 2019 – Reno, Nevada, May 23-25 at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center

Assisting Future Generations

Last year, the American Truck Historical Society announced the formation of the George Schroyer Memorial Scholarship Fund. Shorty Whittington, CEO of Grammer Industries, located in Grammer, Indiana, and a long-time supporter of ATHS, donated seed money on behalf of his family and company to start the scholarship program. ATHS has begun the process of raising funds for a permanent endowment. Scholarships are available to children, stepchildren and grandchildren of ATHS members.

“Our father had been in the trucking business for his entire life,” says Dave Schroyer, ATHS Board President, on behalf of himself and his brother Mark. “He was also an avid collector of truck and trucking memorabilia and anything related to the truck transportation industry, and that is why he served as a volunteer leader and was an avid supporter of ATHS for many years.”

The first two scholarship winners—Ben Wild, diesel mechanics and Casey Vanderlinden, veterinary science—were chosen in July 2016. Initially, the $1,000 scholarships ($500 per semester) were awarded at the start of the fall semester. Although starting at a modest level, this program is expected to grow substantially over the next few years. More details and application information are available on the ATHS website or contact the office.

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If your love of old trucks and the forerunners who helped build this industry pique your interest, the editorial staff of RoadKing would like to hear from you. Five lucky RoadKing readers will win a free one-year ATHS membership. To enter, please provide the following: your name, street address, mailing address (if different), city/state/zip, phone number and a 50 to 75-word statement why you would like to win the ATHS membership. Please email your entry to Warren Eulgen at Warren@HighVelocityCommunications.com. Or you can write your entry on a sheet of paper and mail it to:

RoadKing ATHS Free Membership
High Velocity Communications
Suite D
1720 Dolphin Drive
Waukesha, WI 53186-1489

Mailed entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2017 and be received by March 31, 2017. To be eligible to win one of the five free ATHS memberships, all requested information must be provided including your 50 to 75-word statement. The publishing and editorial staff of RoadKing magazine will judge the entries. All entries will become the property of High Velocity Communications. No phone calls, please. The five lucky winners will be announced in the May-June issue of RoadKing magazine.

Give a Great Gift

Whether for yourself, a parent, a grandparent or anyone else who appreciates the role of trucks in building this great country, why not give the gift of a free ATHS membership. Members receive the bi-monthly Wheels of Time magazine and Show Time, an annual full-color publication of the antique trucks registered for the annual National Antique Truck Show. ATHS members also have exclusive access to a “Members Only” section of the ATHS website. Membership also opens the door to ATHS Chapter membership, enabling you to participate in local activities, share experiences and network with other antique truck and truck history enthusiasts in your area.

To learn more about joining the American Truck Historical Society or giving a gift of membership, call 816.891.9000 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Central time or visit the website at www.ATHS.org.

About Warren Eulgen

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