I wish y'all could feel the way I do right now knowing we put together a really special event for a trucking icon I am proud to call my hero. So many people I know became truckers because of this man's movies. I was so happy to see so many of my fellow Americans join us. James Lamb, Truckers.com
WASHINGTON (PRWEB) October 15, 2018
Small Business in Transportation Coalition ("SBTC") President James Lamb announced today that truckers from across America met up in Texarkana, TX at the Texarkana Convention Center during the September 29-30, 2018 weekend late last month to pay homage to the late great mega movie star Burt Reynolds. Reynolds passed away in Florida on September 6th at the age of 82.
According to Lamb, the tribute event, which was produced and managed by the SBTC, a non-profit transportation industry trade group, which operates through the domain "Truckers.com," included a memorial ceremony and film festival honoring Reynolds' life and career, which were open to the public. Films including "Smokey and the Bandit," "The Cannonball Run," and "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" were played throughout the day for Reynolds' fans. The memorial program was attended by the Honorable Mayors Bob Bruggeman and Ruth Penny-Bell of Texarkana, TX and Texarkana, AR, respectively. The two cities presented Lamb with a joint proclamation to honor Reynolds. Lamb indicated he would be forwarding the proclamation on to Reynolds' son Quinton through Reynolds' manager.
On display outside the convention center was an original 1976 Trans Am autographed by Reynolds and Sheriff Buford T. Justice's (played by the late Jackie Gleason in the movie) patrol car, courtesy of Reynolds fan and classic car enthusiast Sean Bailey. Bailey and his team treated spectators to a Buford vs. Bandit car chase in the parking lot. Attendees walked away with t-shirts, DVDs, and other Reynolds fan memorabilia.
On Saturday evening, Truckers.com held a special cocktail hour with Texas' own DJ Mike and then a spectacular concert for CDL holders and SBTC members featuring the award-winning Canadian Trucker-themed country band "The Road Hammers," followed by the comic routine of Texas comedian Daryl Felsberg.
On Sunday at noon, local residents gathered outside the convention center to watch the police-escorted trucker convoy take off for Atlanta, GA. According to Lamb, who made what turned out to be the 13 hour journey himself, more than 30 vehicles participated in the "Eastbound and Down Memorial Convoy" including trucks, two Trans Ams, motorcycles and police vehicles. He said he observed hundreds of spectators waiving American flags in five states who came out with their families to watch the memorial procession pass and pay their respects to Reynolds along I-49 S. and I-20 E. Due to weather, traffic delays and road closures, many of the drivers had to shut down in Alabama, Lamb said, because of the Federal Hours of Service regulations which prohibit truck drivers from driving more than 11 hours, following 10 consecutive off-duty hours, leaving only the team drivers to actually complete the trip.
"We know many drivers were disappointed they had to stop so close to the end. We were equally disappointed that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an agency of the United States Department of Transportation, declined to process our emergency request for a waiver of the Hours of Service regulations so drivers would be exempt from the 11 hour rule for this one time memorial run," Lamb said.
Reynolds was best known and beloved for his role as "The Bandit" in the classic 1977 movie "Smokey and the Bandit" and the sequel films that followed. In that original American action comedy film, which was the second highest-grossing domestic film of 1977, Wealthy Texan Big Enos Burdette and his son Little Enos seek a truck driver willing to bootleg Coors beer to Georgia for their refreshment. Truck drivers who had been hired previously had been caught and arrested by "Smokey" (CB slang for highway patrol officers, referring to the Smokey Bear–type hats worn in some states) who is played by Jackie Gleason. The Burdettes find Reynolds' character, the legendary trucker Bo "Bandit" Darville, competing in a truck rodeo at Lakewood Fairgrounds in Atlanta. They offer the Bandit $80,000 to haul 400 cases of Coors beer from Texarkana, Texas back to Atlanta in 28 hours. Thus, Truckers.com's choice to hold the memorial event in Texarkana and duplicate the Bandit's run with a trucker convoy to Atlanta along I-20.
"I wish y'all could feel the way I do right now knowing we put together a really special event for a trucking icon I am proud to call my hero. So many people I know became truckers because of this man's movies. I was so happy to see so many of my fellow Americans join us in Texarkana and waiving American flags along the six-state convoy route. In these tumultuous times, we really should look for more feel-good opportunities like these to bring people together over common bonds," Lamb said.
Companies participating in the weekend event included Miller-Coors, which sent give-a-ways for attendees and Travel Centers of America, which provided free truck parking, meals and showers for drivers at the Atlanta Petro truck stop destination. Event sponsors covering event entertainment included Truckers.com, AuthorityRegistration.com, UCRAuthority.com, and FreightBrokerTrainingClass.com
SBTC wishes to thank the The Honorable Mayor Bob Bruggeman - Texas side, The Honorable Mayor Ruth Penny Bell – Arkansas side, the dual cities of Texarkana, Hilton and the Texarkana Hilton Garden Inn, and the Texarkana Convention Center for hosting this event. SBTC also wishes to recognize the following people and organizations in Texarkana, TX who worked so hard to help make this event possible in such a short time: Jennifer Montoya, Chase Waddell, Teresa Walker, Jeff Greening, Charles Pierce, William Ditmore, Dave Leopold, Pastor Scott Sundby,First Lutheran Church, Stacey Smallwood, Teresa Wagner, Brittney Cox, Barbara Walker, Maddison Bradford, Rob Wells, Lucas Sullivan, Lisa Thompson- Texarkana Public Information Officer, Director of Economic Dev, Tourism, Captain Steele – Texarkana Fire Department – Parking Permits, Shawn Fitzgerald – Police Security, Don Riddle – West Ark Concerts, Artex Electrical, Mack Lawrence- Angie Porterfield, Shelia Reed – DPG Corporate Office, Scott Bergt - Stewart Stevenson, Ruth Ellen Whitt & Eric Cane – Leadership Texarkana, Mendy Wagner – Texarkana Emergency Center, Charles Aldridge, Rani Gauriar & Scott Bruner– Offenhauser Insurance, Shirley Crawford- Rush Truck Center, Dots Rentals, Big Events Rental, Pipe and Drape, Mike Patterson, Patterson’s Camera, Andi Darby – Townsquare Media, Bob DelGiorno – Fox Sports, Texarkana Baptist Children’s Home and SBTC Membership & Events Manager Kevin Rea.