RANTOUL — The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to cancel this event.
DaVeda Reitz said the annual TopGun LargeCar Shootout will be held this weekend (July 24-26 — the same as it has been for the last 12 years at Rantoul’s airport.
Reitz’s late husband, Tom, started the show and organized it for first 11 years. Mr. Reitz died in 2018, and his widow took it over.
“This is the second one since Tom died,” DaVeda Reitz said. “I wanted this one because it’s our 13th.
“Second of all, I didn’t want to have any virus tell me I couldn’t have it” and “because the village of Rantoul is allowing me to have it.”
Reitz doesn’t know what to expect. The turnout of trucks could be poor because many owners assume the show won’t be held. Or it could be gangbusters because so many events this year have been canceled.
TopGun isn’t the first truck show to be held this year in the U.S., but it is one of the first somewhat larger shows to be held.
“It’s a little harder (this year) to get it set up. We’ll wait and see,” Reitz said.
The show normally draws between 150 and 200 trucks. Reitz prepared registration sheets and folders for 300 trucks just to be safe.
“I might be way off,” she said.
The show didn’t lose any of its larger vendors.
Rockwood, Lincoln Chrome, OOIDA, Country Supply and Davis Brothers have all pledged to be there.
The show runs Friday through Sunday. Most trucks roll in the first day, which is highlighted by the annual Parade of Lights at dusk when the rigs, all lit up, trek down U.S. 45 to Thomasboro and back.
Most of the events run from 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday, including jake break, stereo and kiddie pull competitions.
DaVeda Reitz said earlier that her husband started TopGun because he didn’t like the emphasis some truck shows put on competition. TopGun is geared more toward truckers and families getting together for a good time.
Those truckers that want to compete, however, are welcome to. Those that don’t, have their own category.
Trophy classes are Fancy Show and Everyday Trucks. The non-competitors will be in the Wash ‘n Park category.
All participants receive a dash plaque and event t-shirt.
Competitors vote for their favorite two trucks. The top two trucks will be on the event t-shirt the following year.
There will also be a Dinosores Motorcycle Club bike show with more than 100 bikes competing in seven classes.
Smoke N Whiskey will perform live at night. A DJ will be set up during the day.
TopGun focuses on the working-class truck as well as the owners, drivers and sponsors/vendors that support the industry.
The weekend’s activities conclude at 9:30 a.m. Sunday with an awards ceremony.
There is no admission charge.