The Return of 'Big Iron'
Jim Finn was inspired upon visiting big truck shows in the mid-1990s.
The Mantorville man started up the Big Iron Classic truck show, for semi-trucks and trailers, in 2000.
It has grown.
Finn estimates that, depending on the weather, around 20,000 people will visit this year’s 18th-annual Big Iron Classic Truck Show and Charity Drive, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 8-9 at the Dodge County Fairgrounds in Kasson.
“There are a lot of guys who take a lot of pride in what they do, and that was kind of my idea,” he said. “Basically, it turned into a big family reunion. I just like seeing the people. I’ve got a lot of friends in this business. I’m always excited for it to come, just to see how big it’s going to be.”
More than 700 semi-truck tractors and trailers will be on display, and truckers from around the country will display their working and show rigs, according to bigironclassic. com.
Instead of an entry fee, event organizers collect toys to take to youngsters. They have gone to the Toys for Tots and Santa Anonymous programs and local fire departments – and were disbursed to kids in Joplin, Mo., after the city was hit by a major tornado in 2011.
“We spread it around, wherever, each year,” Finn said, adding that he often receives letters from grateful parents.
“It’s a thanks to those guys,” he said, referring to the truckers.
There is no charge to the public, but visitors are encouraged to contribute a toy or two. The event is free, except for the truck pull - the event’s grand finale - on Saturday night.
Diesel truck drivers will compete, pulling a weighted sled.
This year's truck pull will feature different classes, and the "King of the Hill"- a 'pull-off' with the champions in each class (except for antiques).
“We’re going to have some pretty good competition at the truck pull,” Finn said. “It’s pretty unbelievable when you see the condition of some of these trucks - 120,000, 130,000 miles a year, and they really keep ‘em looking nice.”
Winners’ trophies will be awarded in antique, road class, modi ed road class, modified electronics, and open divisions.
Finn said visitors can check out the big rigs, and perhaps get ideas for improving their own.