INDEPENDENCE — The Ninth Annual Truckers Parade Against Cancer set for Sept. 19 connects with spectators and participants on levels hinted at in C.W. McCall’s popular 1975 hit song “Convoy.” Many still remember youthful thrills seeing the big tractor-trailers and smiling when a trucker honked the horn. The motto for the effort reminds participants “every truck will take us one mile closer to a cure” for cancer.
“We modeled the event after a similar one in Virginia,” said organizer Cindy Dixon. “We felt it would be a good way to get people involved who normally don’t get to attend Relay for Life events.”
She praised the cooperation of municipalities and county governments, police and fire departments who make the event possible.
The event is still taking applications for participants and banner sponsors. It’s route travels on U.S. 58 East through Galax, ending at Carroll County High School in the parking lot. Registration for trucks is set for 10 a.m. with lunch served at noon. (Lunch is free to drivers and one guest.) Door prizes and an auction are slated to begin at 1 p.m. with the parade beginning at 2 p.m. The convoy will begin at Grayson County High School.
Dixon said barbecue plates will be available to the public for a $5 donations. All proceeds go to the Galax/Carroll County and Grayson County Relay for Life events. Sponsorship for each truck banner is $100. People may obtain entry information by calling Dixon at (276) 237-1414.
Estimated route times locally include the parade convoy reaching Lowes’ Hardware at 2:35 p.m., Harmon’s Western Store-Woodlawn at 2:44 p.m., Hillsville’s CVS Pharmacy at 2:53 p.m., Hillsville’s Main Street at 2:55 p.m. and Carroll County High at 2:58 p.m.
Dixon indicated participating merchants have given permission for spectators to be on their properties. Spectators are reminded to respect the merchants’ business schedules and not block customers or leave trash on the lots.
“What we started doing (because of growing participation) was using Route 58 so we wouldn’t be impeding traffic,” Dixon said. “It’s an awesome thing to see. Participants love it and so do the crowds that line the rural routes and wave. It’s different than a regular parade.” She said the yearly convoy tries to travel about 30 miles per hour to allow fellow motorists time to adjust to the column of participants.
Numbers of participants have continued to increase, with the exception of the second year of the parade when high fuel prices caused a drop in the numbers of drivers. Dixon explained most of the drivers who participate are local and own their own trucks, with some owing another truck as well.
“We want to see people come out in a big way and be with their families and have a good time,” Dixon said. “We love to see them standing out there and waving. When I was a kid it was something during the summer to see the convoys of military trucks.”
She said organizers will find a truck and driver for those who want to sponsor a banner but do not own a truck. She added that they are hoping to continue to grow until the parade is made up of 100 trucks.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.`