My First Jamboree: The Sunscreen Devastation at the Coolest Gas Station

Written by: Kieran Benson, 2019 Web Intern

The Walcott Trucker’s Jamboree is the biggest event of the year here at the Iowa 80 Truckstop. I, of course, didn’t know that. In fact, I didn’t even know that the Jamboree existed. I knew that the Iowa 80 Truckstop was the largest in the world, and that the Iowa 80 Kitchen had an awesome buffet, but I didn’t know what the Jamboree was. That is, until I was hired as a summer intern for Iowa80.com. So, it is safe to say that I did not know what to expect, but whatever I expected was nothing close to reality. The Walcott Trucker’s Jamboree wasn’t just big, it was gigantic.

A few of the contestants from the Super Truck Beauty Contest, 2019.

Not only was the Jamboree a gigantic event, it was the also the 40th anniversary this year, making it bigger and better than ever. There were a ton of trucks registered in the Super Truck Beauty Contest, awesome antique trucks from the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, five super talented musical guests, as well some of the best food around. This was definitely the biggest event I had ever been to, and I certainly wasn’t prepared.

Keith William’s “USA” won Best Overall Theme.

On the first day of the Jamboree, I was requested to go and interview drivers and take pictures before I would go to the Iowa80.com booth. I had naively walked out without sunscreen and only one bottle of water; I had just made a rookie mistake. While out in the scalding heat, dehydrated, and almost catching fire from the sun’s dangerous UV rays, I met some of the most interesting people with great trucks and great stories.

A lucky gold prize winner from the Iowa80.com booth; he won a $1,600 bumper!

I heard about a love-story between two truckers who had met at the Jamboree a few years ago. I talked to a humble truck driver who was the most honored to be on the cover of one of our catalog issues. I got to talk to ambitious contestants about their trucks’ themes. I was able to create amazing content for our social media, as well as meet new people and grow closer with my colleagues. I even got to pet some cute dogs.

Owner Look Alike and Best Dressed winners: Cathy Sherman and LJ.

That night I was stationed at the Iowa80.com booth, where truckers and children could spin our prize wheel to win some awesome gifts. While I was there for the final two hours of my shift, I really enjoyed interacting with drivers, seeing their reactions, and getting to give out prizes to the kids. Plus, I could hear the band from the big vendor tent.

The GIANT crowd from the Sawyer Brown concert on Friday.

The following two days I had just as much fun. I worked in the booth some more and took some great pictures for all of our social media. I was chauffeured around in a golf cart, had an awesome hot dog, and was offered wonderful experience in the work force. More so than the awesome perks of working the Jamboree, I was able to create a lasting memory of the bright show lights, the shiny chrome, and the dedicated employees of the Iowa 80 Group that I was lucky enough to be a member of this summer. 

Lights at Night competition on Thursday night.

So, if you haven’t been to the Jamboree, I strongly, strongly encourage you to come next year. There is great food and amazing music; there are wicked cool trucks and really remarkable people. But please, please don’t forget sunscreen.

Click HERE for our Facebook album on the Walcott Trucker’s Jamboree!

SUPER TRUCK BEAUTY CONTEST WINNERS and SUPER TRUCK BEAUTY CONTEST GALLERY

BONUS LINK: Trucker’s Best Friend Pet Contest Winners

Iowa 80 – The World’s Largest Truckstop

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