Day Three at MATS is coming to a close and I see the crowd thinning out and exhibitors getting read to tear down booths and pack up. We've said goodbyes to many trucking friends, ones we see only once a year.
In the press room, it's a 15-minute warning to pack up gear, finish stories. Most journalists are gone now. Dorothy Cox of The Trucker just finished pounding out a story, and I think she's calling it a week. Two guys from France are packing cameras and saying "au revoir." One editor from India is checking his flight schedule. One from Sweden is headed for a mini-vacation in the Carolinas for a day or two before returning to Europe.
Our OOIDA staffers are getting ready to strike all of our booths. We'll load up everything in our truck -- the Spirit -- and for most of the gang, the Louisville skyline will be in the rear view mirror by sunset.
Out on the floor, as booths are tearing down -- the Sirius XM radio journalists are still on the job pumping out MATS news over the airwaves. Our Land Line Now radio crew -- Mark Reddig, Terry Scruton and Barry Spillman --will be rolling up the wires and sound equipment. At the Pana Pacific booth, Evan Lockridge is broadcasting the Lockridge Report. Our senior editor Jami Jones is a guest today.
Our LL writers and super bloggers Bill Hudgins (Nashville) and Suzanne Stempinski (Chicago area) are on the road home. Senior Technical Editor Paul Abelson tells me he is headed to Papa John's and will leave tomorrow.
Papa John's is where Jami and I will be going later this afternoon, along with our State Legislative Editor Keith Goble. Jami will be a Grand Marshal in a Parade of Lights tonight, along with Toby Young, president of Exhibit Management Associates (producers of MATS). A number of bobtails are convoying through downtown Louisville to benefit Special Olympics. This will be the last story we'll cover for 2010 MATS and that's why Jami, Keith and I aren't going home just quite yet.
For most, 2010 MATS is a wrap -- but HEY! This party ain't over yet. Papa John's parking lot is still rockin' and the smell of hot dogs on the grill is calling to us ...