If you’re in the trucking business, you’ve probably heard of The Mid-America Trucking Show or MATS for short, which began in the 1970s. Since then, it’s become one of the most important events of the year for truckers. It is a three-day conference for owner-operators and carriers that brings together brokers, shippers, 3PLs, truckers, owner-operators and vendors from all over the world to network, attend educational sessions and learn about new technologies and services.
MATS will be held this March 28 through March 30 in Louisville, Ky., at the Kentucky Exhibition Center, near the Louisville International Airport. Over that three-day period, owner-operators and small trucking companies can gather information, make new connections and learn new skills that can impact their businesses significantly over the coming year.
MATS offers daily educational seminars for owner-operators and carriers on business management, strategy, safety, negotiation, industry trends and the value of emerging technologies. If you attend, you can learn how to start your own trucking company, how to use technology to grow and manage your trucking business, and how to negotiate the most profitable freight, as well as other skills that provide a high return on investment.
Seminars are held from 10:00 AM every day of the show until late afternoon. Presenters this year include Brett Hutto from Truckstop.com, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Apex Capital, UrgentCareTravel and yours truly. I’ll be speaking on Thursday, March 28, at 12:30 PM in room B-104 on how owner-operators and small carriers can navigate the biggest obstacles to success. For a full schedule of MATS educational seminars, visit the MATS website.
The MATS exhibition hall is a must-see for most industry professionals because of its size: it is the largest trucking expo in the United States. This year, there will be more than 1,000 exhibitors on the show floor. For owner-operators and small carriers, the exhibit hall is a great place to meet and reconnect with business partners, see new technology up close and personal, talk to product experts and see live demos.
Exhibitors at this year’s show will include trucking companies looking for drivers, bloggers, industry media, parts and tools vendors, software companies, insurance professionals, trucker associations, training companies and many more. Trucker Tools will be there as well. Visit us at booth 69185 in the West Wing near the Pavilion if you’d like to learn more about our free mobile app that connects owner-operators and small carriers with brokers, 3PLs and shippers.
For the eleventh year in a row, MATS will host a free concert on Friday, March 29, at 7:00 PM for all attendees in Freedom Hall at the exhibition center. This year, country artists Michael Ray and Runaway June will be performing. Red Eye Radio will also be hosting live appearances and musical performances by country artists such as Grammy-award winner Gretchen Wilson, Jesse G. and Bridgette Tatum throughout the three-day conference.
One of the major events at MATS is the annual PKY Truck Beauty Championship, the country’s premier truck beauty show that recognizes the best tricked-out trucks and rat rods. The championship celebrates heavy-duty, working show trucks and is a lot of fun. This is the 30thanniversary of the PKY championship. You can see check out the contestants in Lot J behind the West Wing of the exhibition center. Award categories include best in class, Best of Show, the People’s Choice and others. PKY award winners will line-up for a victory lap around the exhibition center on Saturday evening to close out the show.
In addition to being one of the biggest trucking shows in the United States, MATS is the most well-attended, diverse trucking show in North America. It’s a prime opportunity for owner-operators and carriers to make new connections, foster new business and learn more about what’s trending in trucking, from brake components and truck parts to the latest electronic logbooks and mobile apps.
If you’re attending MATS, please stop by the Trucker Tools booth (#69185) to enter our contests, check out our free mobile app for drivers and give us feedback on the app if you’re a current user. We’ll be running contests every hour between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM during the show. To enter, take and share a photo on Twitter or Instagram or comment on our Facebook post using the hashtag #TTatMATS for a chance to win one of the $50 Walmart gift cards.
Safe travels, everyone! I will see you in Louisville.