On Saturday morning, 140 trucks gathered in Richfield, Wisconsin, for the 10th year in a row to show support and raise a record amount of money for Special Olympics Wisconsin.
The event was part of The World’s Largest Truck Convoy – a national event which collectively unites more than 1,000 truck drivers in 15 states and 4 Canadian provinces.
Last year, the convoy in Wisconsin raised $92,000. This year, expectations were exceeded as organizers say the 165 truck convoy helped raise over $121,000 – a record amount.
To kick off the event, the trucks made a 56-mile trip up U.S. Highway 41 escorted by law enforcement and each marked with an orange ribbon. The convoy then rolled onto the Experimental Aircraft Association grounds about 11 a.m where crowds of supporters and athletes cheered their arrival.
“Truckers are huge supporters of our mission,” Christina Harris, director of communications for Special Olympics, told The Northwestern. “They go out of their way to make this a fun event for the athletes.”
One Special Olympic athlete, Jerry Halboth, said he looks forward to the event every year. This time around he got the chance of a lifetime to ride inside one of the trucks.
“It’s been a dream come true. My grandfather used to drive semis for 45 years so I’m following in the family footsteps,” Halboth told Fox News.
The funds raised by the World’s Largest Truck Convoy help provide year-round programming in sports, health, education and team building to nearly 10,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The convoy also brings together local communities who band together for the event.
“It just brings tears to your eyes when you see the families and the athletes with their banners, it’s awesome,” said truck drivers Ron and Nith Mathiesen, whose son has participated in Special Olympics.
“It makes us feel wonderful for doing it, their hugs and smiles are all we need,” they said.
The World’s Largest Trucking Convoy was started by law enforcement official Norm Schneiderhan, who found inspiration for the event through his participation with the Special Olympics in the Law Enforcement Torch Run, combined with his family’s involvement with the trucking industry.