Great American Trucking Show 2020 CANCELED Due to COVID-19 Concerns
UPDATE: On Wednesday evening, event organizers posted the following message to the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) official website:
The same fears and uncertainties that have led entities as diverse as Facebook and Major League Baseball to cancel or severely curtail in-person events have informed a very difficult decision: Randall-Reilly is canceling the Great American Trucking Show, scheduled for Aug. 27-29, 2020. This decision has been made with the health and well-being of all participants first and foremost in mind.
We remain committed to producing events like GATS that showcase the latest information in trucking, equipment, parts and accessories, as well as access to jobs. We will use the coming months to determine what form future events take and assess the safeguards needed to ensure your health.
This pandemic has underscored how critical the industry and drivers are to the well-being of America. The fleets, owner-operators and drivers are what’s kept the flow of food and other goods in stores and homes. We are thankful to you, proud of you and will keep you posted on what’s next for GATS so we can celebrate you at a future event.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) was the first to break the news.
Check out TNN’s original report with many more details below.
Dallas, TX – The 2020 Great American Trucking Show (GATS) has been canceled due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has confirmed with multiple sources with direct knowledge that this year’s GATS will not be held.
The trucking industry’s second largest annual exhibition was scheduled for August 27-29 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, TX.
However, Randall-Reilly (organizers of GATS) began informing sponsors and exhibitors on Wednesday the decision was made to cancel the event.
One of those sponsors is Matthew Kane, CEO of Riteload.com.
“They called me today out of courtesy and I’m super appreciative of the early call,” Kane told TNN. “There was a last minute meeting called and they decided to cancel the show.”
Kane expressed he was “very, very disappointed” due to the fact he has invested “countless hours” planning a large veterans-themed event in the drivers’ parking lot.
He told TNN he had reached out to the famed Blue Angels to possibly perform a flyover for drivers.
Well-known country musician and trucker, Bill Weaver, was scheduled to make 18 different appearances during the show.
“It’s horribly disappointing,” Weaver told TNN. “For many drivers, that’s the only time of year they take off. That’s their break.”
Sources tell TNN organizers privately expressed they waited as long as they could before pulling the plug.
Significant show-related costs were coming due and organizers feared social distancing policies could jeopardize the event.
“The risks were too high,” one trusted source said.
GATS organizers are expected to officially announce the cancellation this week.
The industry’s largest annual exhibition, the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS), was also canceled this year due to the COVID-19 national emergency.
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Following the announcement of the MATS cancellation in March, Tom Winters, GATS director of operations, sent an email providing an update to exhibitors.
“Please be assured that we are monitoring guidelines or directives at a national, state and local level, and will respond accordingly,” Winters wrote. “Second, be confident that if the event is canceled by Randall-Reilly, regardless of the date by which this decision is reached, you will qualify for a full refund or, if you prefer, a credit toward other services or a future event.”
Organizers of the Walcott Truckers Jamboree, the industry’s third largest annual show held each year in July at the famous Iowa 80 truck stop, exclusively told TNN earlier this month that plans were moving forward.
“We are continuing with our planning for this year’s event and remain optimistic that we will be able to celebrate America’s truckers come July,” Heather DeBaillie, vice president of marketing for the Iowa 80 group, said.
To find out more about Walcott’s schedule and the musical acts slated to appear, click HERE.
TNN will continue to follow new developments.