The Great Trucking Get-Together: An Annual Celebration at the World’s Largest Truck Stop

  Large sign of worlds largest truck truck stop on Iowa highway 80

Truck drivers hold a critical role in driving the economy and helping businesses move products safely, efficiently, and sustainably. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), over 70 percent of freight in the U.S. is moved by truck. We depend on truck drivers and the trucking industry to consistently deliver goods and keep our economy moving.

Each year, the trucking community comes together at the world’s largest truck stop to celebrate truck drivers during the Walcott Truckers Jamboree. With 7.7 million Americans in jobs that relate to trucking activity in 2017, excluding those who are self-employed, and 3.5 million truck drivers employed in the U.S. 2018, it’s no surprise that the Jamboree gathers more than 42,000 attendees every year.

  Jamboree Truck

This year’s event, which took place July 11-13, marked the Jamboree’s 40th anniversary. The festivities offered a range of entertainment for truck drivers and their families, including the Trucker Olympics, the Super Truck Beauty Contest, an antique truck display, carnival games, live music, fireworks, and more.

project44 joined the celebration to thank the trucking community. While we were there, we asked truck drivers what they love about their job as well as what’s challenging.

What Truck Drivers Love About Their Jobs

There’s a sense of pride within the trucking community. When asked what he loves most about his job, one driver said, The mission. The purpose of what I’m doing and supporting America, making it run. I’ve been doing it for 35 years and I’m still not tired of it.”

Of the truck drivers we interviewed, they overwhelmingly said they enjoy the flexibility of their job. One driver summed up the sentiment of everyone we spoke with by saying, It gives me the flexibility to do what I want to do and still get home on weekends.” Another explained that the benefit is really about making your own schedule, You have your appointment time, but in the time to get there, you can do anything you want.”

On top of flexibility, the ability to travel throughout the country and visit new and exciting places is another common theme. I like traveling. I like seeing different things and meeting different people. I’ve been to a lot of different places and I get to try a lot of different foods,” said one driver.

For most, the combination of travel and a flexible schedule allows them to lead the life they want. One driver embraces this lifestyle by traveling with his wife and dogs. He told us, I get to see the country. My wife and I drive together, so when we decide we want to stop and enjoy life, we do. Right now, we get to choose what we like. If we’re in Niagara Falls and decide we need to stay a couple extra days, we do.”

What Truck Drivers Don’t Enjoy About Their Jobs

While the drivers we met are excited about their jobs, there are some challenges that come with the job. For example, check calls.

While technology is improving, one driver emphasized that some tech approaches don’t solve the problem, What annoys me the most is when they track you on your phone, and it doesn’t work half the time, so they call you 10-15 times a day.”

Another driver has found that with the right technology, the experience is much more efficient. He explained, I don’t have to worry about check calls too much. I used to do them. Tell them what my route was and be on hold for 30 minutes. With technology these days, it’s all taken care of. They don’t call me anymore. I don’t have to stop twice a day. My dispatcher doesn’t have to hear from 30 drivers every morning.”

Dwell time is another frustration for drivers. A driver summed up the concern by explaining, You can stay in the dock up to 8-10 hours. If you have a reefer load, you can easily stay in the dock for up to 8 or 10 hours. Dry van is usually four hours. If I could go in for an hour or two and be gone, I’d be happy.”

These pain points impact more than the truck drivers, they influence the entire shipment process, creating inefficiencies and unnecessary costs. Visibility solutions can address some of these challenges, having a positive impact on truck drivers’ day to day jobs.

Not only did we learn a lot by spending time with drivers at the Truckers Jamboree, we had a great time. We appreciate the dedication of the trucking community, and the Jamboree was an excellent venue to celebrate. Plans for the 2020 event are already underway. Visit the website for more information about the 41st Annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree.

To learn more about how visibility can help ease challenges for truck drivers and their employers, read our recent blog post, How project44’s Visibility Benefits Carriers.