'If you got it, a truck brought it'

Monday, June 11, 2018
The Tri-State Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society began locally in September 2017. The group now has about 40 members and meets at different venues in the area on a bimonthly basis. (Above) The Tri-State Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society president Gordon Watson has been a member of the national organization since 1982. Watson attended a regional meeting of the American Truck Historical Society in Davenport in 2006 where he snapped this picture of some of the trucks on display.
Photo submitted

Tri-State Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society secretary/treasurer Clark Marshall became fascinated with big trucks when he was a child. His interest in all-things-truck "laid dormant" until recently when Tri-State Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society president Gordon Watson approached Marshall about becoming involved in the organization.

"I spent eight years in the summer living with my grandparents in southeast Nebraska when I was growing up," Marshall said. "I looked forward to going down there as a kid. My grandfather worked in a flour mill and I would get to go down there to see how that worked and all the trucks that would come in with grain and corn. I got to know a couple of the truck drivers and got to ride in one of the trucks when I was 8 or 9 years old. It was a big deal for me. I have always been fascinated by the history."

"I have always loved vehicles, especially big trucks," Watson said. "I can remember when I was 5 years old sitting out with my grandfather watching the trucks go by. Trucks have always been a part of my DNA. The bigger the better. I was a minister by trade. I always managed to find a part-time job driving trucks. When I was appointed to one of my first parishes, I had a family that was in the trucking business and I said if you will help me get my CDL, I will drive for you when I can. I have gotten to know a lot of truck drivers over the years and I appreciate those guys, what they do and what they have to tolerate."

Marshall and Watson are among approximately 40 members the local organization has added since its start in September 2017. The organization covers territory 100 miles around Spencer which includes parts of southwest Minnesota, eastern South Dakota and northwest Iowa and meets on a bimonthly basis.

"The Tri-State Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society's mission is to get as many people who are interested in the trucking business, people who have been in the trucking business and people who have old trucks to gather together in fellowship," Watson said. "The local chapters are responsible for keeping people involved in the organization."

Local members of the ATHS are required to join the national organization which costs $45 per year and the local chapter which is another $25 per year. The national organization offers members a bimonthly magazine and hosts a yearly truck show. Last year the show was in Des Moines and featured more than 13,000 trucks.

"We have a 50-year award for companies and individuals who have been in the business," Watson said. "Not only does it recognize the importance of the trucking industry historically, but also in the present. It also recognizes those who have been active over the years. If you have ever been with a group of truckers, you know there is no shortage of stories which in itself is entertaining. Our local chapter, we try to have a speaker every time. It is just a continual reaffirmation of the truck business and the role it has played in the growth of our country and continues to play."

Watson and Marshall encouraged anyone with an interest in trucks to join the next meeting which will be conducted at the Midwest Peterbilt offices at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 21, in Sioux City. For more information call Gordon Watson at 580-3507, email him at gnjwatson@msn.com or visit the Tri-State Chapter American Truck Historical Society Facebook page.

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