Best Semi Truck Shows: 2023 Highlights & 2024 Exciting News
Truck shows are a place to show some love to the most souped-up, tricked-out semi trucks in North America. It's a place for semi-truck enthusiasts to get together, hang out, and spend time with people who share the same interests. They're also a lot of fun. Most host competitions, drag races, auctions, concerts, and educational seminars. Locals who attend truck shows always leave with a bit more appreciation for the supply chain industry and its unsung heroes.
Below, you'll find a master list of the top truck shows of 2023 and 2024, when and where they take place, and what events or atmospheres they're known for. Whether you're looking for a small walkthrough or a large expo setting, there's a truck show on this list for you!
Top Semi Truck Shows in the U.S.
There's something objectively impressive about a machine the size of a small building that can haul 22 tons and look immaculate while doing it. Semi-truck shows are fun for little kids, their grandparents, and everyone in between.
The most popular shows have various decked-out trucks with pristine interiors. It's at these shows that you can find jaw-droppers like the semi-truck pontoon and the famous Sizzle Thor (before it was sold overseas).
Some of the largest shows attract industry heads from all areas: megacarrier CEOs, factoring company sales reps, you name it. Smaller shows have a more laid-back feel and consist mostly of truck owners who just want to show off their pride and joy and hang out with others who feel the same.
There's usually a fee to participate as an exhibitor and as long as you pay ahead you're good to go. Attendees typically have free entry or pay $5 - $20 for a ticket.
1. Mid America Trucking Show: The Largest Big Rig Truck Show in the U.S.
The Mid-America Trucking Show is the largest truck show in North America. Companies come from all over the globe to display, learn about, and test out new technologies. Attendees run the gamut from small hotshot trucking drivers to analysts from DAT and Truckstop. Aside from a custom truck show beauty contest, they host concerts and educational talks that cover things like negotiation tactics, market updates, emerging tech, and driver safety.
Location: Kentucky Expo Center, Louisville, KY.
Dates: March 21-23, 2024
$10-$20 for attendees.
$5.50-$14.50/sqft for exhibits.
What to Expect in 2024:
MATS is a monster of an event, with an expected 55,000 attendees, 850 exhibitors, and 40+ seminars expected in 2024. Expect a full weekend of learning, networking, and trying out a load of new products.
2. Texas Trucking Show
The Texas Trucking Show is a large trade show focusing on connecting suppliers and carriers. As a carrier, expect to see booths from truck stop companies, brokers, mechanic part producers, tax services, and more. It's not all business, though. There's a beauty pageant and a mini-truck parade, too! These videos provide a nice recap of the 2022 and 2023 semi truck shows.
Location: NRG Center, Houston, TX.
Dates: June 22-23, 2024
Cost: Free for all industry members.
Parking costs $40/tractor and $80/tractor-trailer.
What to Expect in 2024:
2024's show is expected to be even bigger. As with the Mid-America Trucking Show, you can expect an expo-like atmosphere with vendors galore.
3. Midwest Truck & Trailer Show
Deemed the "biggest little truck show" in the US, the Mid-West Truck & Trailer Show is also a weekend of networking and truck admiration. It's held together with the Mid-West Truckers Association annual conference that offers several seminars from industry experts and trucking professionals. Exhibitors include distributors, suppliers, and those offering the latest innovations in trucking. Check out a previous big rig truck show display room. The 2023 truck show was a big hit, and 2024's won't be any different.
Location: Springfield, IL 62702.
Dates: February 2-3, 2024
Cost: Free entry.
$650+ to exhibit.
4. The Midwest Classic
The Midwest Classic is first and foremost a fun custom truck show. They have live concerts, food trucks, fireworks, beer, and a breakfast offered to drivers. For show trucks, awards include best lights, best in show, best farm class, and more. Check out 2023's older truck section here.
Location: Oakland, NE.
Cost: Free to attend.
What to Expect in 2024:
There's no date set yet for 2024, but previous year's dates were in late July and early August. There were around 2,000 attendees and 130 truck exhibits.
As you can see, big rig truck shows can be a place to meet business connections, drink a beer and watch drag racing, or both. Below we summarize what you can expect to see while you're there to help you prepare as an exhibitor.
If you're going to travel to one of these truck shows in tiny towns like Lufkin, TX, or Oakland, NE, you'll want to have some fun while you're there.
Show truck competitions are some of the only places where you can see the coolest trucks in the nation all gathered in one place. If you plan to enter your truck, make sure to contact the event holder to ask about prizes and associated fees. The MATS Big Rig Build-Off winner, for example, gets a $20,000 cash prize.
You'll notice some repeat contestants at different custom truck shows; many owners travel from show to show to compete with their community of fellow truck enthusiasts. Check out MATS 2023 first show truck competitor slideshow and Iowa's 80 Truckstop's Truck Beauty Contest show truck winners.
Live music is a common trucking show bonus. Large expos have concert-like performances, and the smaller meetups usually have a live country band performance alongside food and drink vendors.
Trucking shows are a place to learn from different industry players and leaders. MATS seminars, for example, discuss topics like how to best leverage ELD technology and how to help drivers stay healthy.
Regardless of the seminars and talks, the opportunity to meet like-minded people from around the country is an invaluable learning experience in itself.
Thousands of people attend semi-truck shows to network, make sales, and build lasting partnerships. Carriers know better than anyone that, in this industry, your business partners could be in your hometown or on the other side of the country.
Trucking shows are an opportunity to connect with other truckers, brokers, carriers, freight factoring companies, suppliers, and financial services companies that you otherwise wouldn't have met.
Whatever position you hold, bring your business cards and get ready to network!
How to Prepare
Make a list of the exhibits you want to visit and speak with.
If you plan to attend as an exhibitor or booth holder, prepare some promotional materials like pamphlets or an interactive showcase.
Train whoever is attending the trucking show with you on key talking points.
Make sure you have an easily accessible list of some sort to jot down contact information for potential connections, partners, and leads.
If you're entering your truck, finish up any final touches to make your rig stand out.
Calendar of Upcoming Semi Truck Shows
Let's take a look at some of the most exciting truck shows coming up in 2023 and 2024. For most, tickets aren't available yet, so mark your calendars or turn on notifications as a reminder!
Notes: 75 Chrome Shop is a 10,000 ft showroom and parts seller. Their location even offers showers, laundry, and games. This big rig truck show features some of the coolest customizations you'll come across.
Notes: Small, hometown-feel truck show and trailer pull housing semis, antiques, dump trucks, and light shows.
Cost: $40 to show your truck, $50 for trailer pull.
Showcasing Spectacular Rigs: What's Trending for Semi Truck Shows 2024
2023 saw some spectacular action at truck shows, and the community is excited to come out now that pandemic shutdowns are fully over. With the rise of trucking "influencers," it's easy to watch video highlights of these shows and stay connected while we wait for truck shows 2024 to start up again.
Customizations Stealing the Spotlight
The 2024 truck shows are expected to have some amazing customizations in the works. Shops like 75 Chrome Shop and Semi Casual post their in-progress rebuilds and upgrades pretty frequently. Check out these unique show truck customizations from 2023's Mayberry show. New truck models are coming out with upgraded safety and comfort features, many of which were added because of innovators who attended trucking shows.
Of course, many semi-truck shows address the elephant in the room: electric and self-driving trucks. Trucking shows allow carriers to learn about the progress being made behind EVs and self-driving trucks in a reliable and trustworthy setting. MATS hosted an EV talk that addressed the likelihood and timeline of these innovations becoming more popular.
Safety and Automation
Employers now, more than ever, prioritize employee safety and workplace fulfillment at a higher level. Because of the dangers and health effects that a career in trucking presents, trucking shows are a valuable chance for carriers to discuss what they're doing to keep their drivers healthy, safe, and happy.
Seminars on preventing distracted driving, long-term driver health, and accident avoidance are hot topics at semi-truck shows. Check out these video examples from MATS.
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Education and Resources for Truckers
Our guides are crafted based on driver testimonials, ensuring that each article is developed with drivers' best interests in focus. A few of our recent trucking guides include:
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