The nation’s “Truckers’ Family Reunion” is back and better than ever.

Gazing up at the fireworks over the first day of the Truckers’ Jamboree in Walcott, Iowa at the famous I-80 Truck Stop, one would hardly know that a pandemic had just hurricaned its way through the American economy and shaken society as a whole.

As they ribboned in and out of the flashing rigs–  the crowd of drivers was electric with the show trucks competing for best “Lights of the Night.” Each truck blazed out vividly in yellows, greens, and blues. 

With their excitement, drivers began revving their engines to try to blow fire from their rigs. The rainy weather made shooting flames a challenge, but it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits: The crowd began pumping their fists together and the show-rigs and antique trucks answered with a truly ear-deafening roar of horns. 

Thousands of truckers gathered this year for the 2021 Truckers Jamboree to participate in what they call a family reunion for drivers. 

COVID-19 was hard on drivers around the country. Last year’s Truckers Jamboree couldn’t be held in person, which was deeply disappointing for I-80’s staff: At the annual I-80 birthday party they showcased the first truck to ever pull more than its own weight. The museum’s curator thanked everyone for attending after a year of hardship and disappointment. It was good to be back.

Everywhere at the Truckers Jamboree attendees agreed that there were more drivers, that there’s more excitement than ever for the event. The event was founded in 1969 to thank drivers for their service. At the time, they only had a few hundred people come, but now the event is in the tens of thousands.

One driver who has been attending the event for 23 years said that two years ago he thought the show might be on the decline, perhaps coming to an end. But this year’s jamboree has more show trucks, more excitement, more drivers than he’s ever seen before.

Whatever the challenges of COVID-19, this year’s enthusiasm has proved that America’s drivers are still out serving the country on the road and celebrating being part of the truck family.

And with the more than 175 exhibits, hundreds of glamorous show trucks, driver-geared events like Truckers’ Olympics and Pet Contests, the fireworks show festivities and the draw of the world’s largest truck stop itself, it looks like the Truckers Jamboree is going to be around to draw drivers for years to come.