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Last year, The Motor Market had the great opportunity to feature one of the most rewarding events in the Sioux Falls, and Rapid City areas; the South Dakota Convoy. This epic event pairs some of the prettiest workhorses with the most inspiring of athletes to bring fundraising dollars in for Special Olympics South Dakota. Still holding the title as the "World's Largest Truck Convoy" the SD Convoy just had one question: Are you ready South Dakota?
After speaking with our featured truck owner, Seth Denning, of Prime Time Express in Corsica, SD and Torch Run Liaison for Special Olympics South Dakota, Kelsey Messerschmidt, it’s hard to not get excited about this year’s upcoming SD Convoys, which are being held for the 13th year in Sioux Falls, SD on September 25th and 26th and for the second year in Rapid City, SD on September 18th and 19th. The event is truly an amazing time for both the drivers and the athletes, bringing them both together and raising money for the athletes to do what they love.
Just like any other competing athlete, there are requirements of practice time for those in Special Olympics South Dakota to obtain. But along with these practices and events come the expense of lodging, travel and uniforming. Here’s where the fundraising comes into play. With the help of events such as the SD Convoy, athletes can have little to no out-of-pocket costs to them. This makes the success of these events crucial, and the committees that put the SD Truck Convoy together really are amazing. Messerschmidt notes that “without the volunteers and committee members, these two convoys would not be possible, and all their work is very appreciated by the athletes and their families for the work they do.”
The fuel for funding of these athletes mainly comes from two of the largest events hosted by Special Olympics South Dakota. "Our two biggest events have usually been the Polar Plunges and the Truck Convoys. With all of the growth of our Truck Convoys, there is a very real possibility that it will become our largest event for fundraising dollars.” Let's make this happen, South Dakota! There are many ways for people to get involved in the fundraising at the SD Convoy. There are auctions of donated items, a poker tournament in Sioux Falls and of course along with the always helpful donations of items, there is all the volunteer time!
One of the goals this year was to tweak the Rapid City Convoy to allow for growth, and also to make the event more aware to the public. "We changed the route this year, and made it a little longer. We also coincided the convoy to be on the same weekend as our State Softball Tournament in Rapid City, and the convoy will be driving directly past the fields. Also, we are planning on having a unified sports night on Friday night, where registrants can actually play a unified sport with the athletes they are helping to fund! We are really looking forward to it, and so are the athletes!”
The most memorable part of the events at either venue is usually the truck convoy itself, where the athletes are able to ride in the trucks with the drivers and wave to the passers-by. In fact, Messerschmidt remembers last year’s Rapid City convoy fondly. “The schedule called for lunch to be served after the convoy around Rapid City was completed. It was really hard for me to get the drivers and the athletes to leave the trucks as they were enjoying themselves so much! It really is a very inspiring and fun part of the event each year!”
Volunteers for the event are never turned away, as there is always something to be done, and so are donations for the auction. "We get donations from our usual sponsors that go anywhere from tires to air horns. Along with these, we take donations of any kind such as hair cut vouchers from salons. Anything we can auction off we would love to have!"
Prime Time Express and the owner of our featured truck, Seth Denning, remembers how he got his start participating in the SD Truck Convoy. “One of my long-standing employees has a family member involved with Special Olympics South Dakota and he pitched the idea of getting involved to me a couple years ago. After taking one truck to the first one, we've steadily brought more each year." And this year is no different. Denning is planning on having multiple trucks in attendance at the 2015 SD Convoy. "This event is one of my family's favorites to go to. My kids love going on the convoy and meeting the athletes. It's all for a great cause which makes the hard work of getting ready completely worth it."
Here’s the lowdown on this beautiful 2006 Peterbilt. It's been quite a process to get to this point, but the results are well worth it as anyone can see. “We bought the truck from a gentleman in Ohio who had started making it into a show truck. Essentially we took what his idea was and ran with it, adding more of our style as we went." Complete with a custom bumper with hydraulics to rise and lower as necessary and a matching interior featuring a wood floor in the cab, this Peterbilt will not disappoint. Do not let this shiny exterior fool you though, it's still a workhorse for Prime Time Express. "We do still use this truck for loads, on a limited basis of course, but it still hauls livestock from California to Florida." And we are sure it turns heads the entire trip!
This truck has officially become the show truck that Denning envisioned it to be. It’s been winning awards at shows across the country, the SD Convoy included! “The truck has received Best of Show at multiple truck shows, and has qualified to attend the National Truck Show in Dallas, TX. Last year, Denning’s truck received the Best in Show award at the SD Convoy along with other awards relating to his amazing interior and lights. The light show takes place Friday night at the Sioux Falls convoy.
Being a part of this magnificent event is truly a pleasure for the committees who contribute their time putting the whole thing together, the businesses and individuals who donate items for auction, the drivers who register their trucks and the people who come to the event and support Special Olympics South Dakota! Head on over to the event’s website at sdconvoy.org for official schedules of both events. Let’s make 2015 another success for Special Olympics South Dakota SD Convoy!