Ionia truck, motorcycle show to benefit a hospice, cancer fighter

IONIA – Trucks and motorcycles will be on display at Ionia this weekend – with proceeds going to good causes.

The fifth annual Sam & Bert Letts Memorial Working Truck and Motorcycle Show takes place June 24-26 at the Ionia Free Fair, 317 S. Dexter St., Ionia. The event is free.

The cost is $50 for trucks and $25 for motorcycles. Proceeds from the event will benefit Ionia Area Hospice and Howard Christensen, a local trucker battling cancer.

“To have them come here and volunteer their time to help another trucker, it’s unbelievable. … It really is a great event,” said Kim Petersen, one of the event organizers.

Truckers, motorcyclists and their families will receive wristbands for free meals provided by the show.

The motorcycles are new to the show this year, Petersen said. Also new this year are two price categories. The commemorative prizes will be awarded to selected drivers after their vehicles have been judged by the families. Truckers will judge their peers for the competitor award, with first and second place going to motorcycles.

Trucks and motorcycles will arrive at noon on Friday, June 24. An ice cream party is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. that day.

Lunch for truckers, motorcyclists and families will take place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 25. At 10 a.m., the trucks and motorcycles will be in place.

A silent auction takes place from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Winners don’t need to be present to win.

“I think we’ve got more stuff this year than we’ve ever had,” Petersen said. Even though it’s a difficult time, people bend over backwards to try to help us.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, a 21-gun salute and tribute will be held for Scooter Koopmen, a recently deceased truck driver. Koopmen was a Vietnam War veteran and drove for Tanis Trucking Co. His semi and trailer, which are dedicated to POWs/MIAs, and his family will be at the show — according to Petersen.

Lunch is from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Prizes for truckers and motorcyclists will be announced at 5:30 p.m., while dinner will be served at 6 p.m. A live band will perform from 7-9pm.

At 9 p.m., Saturday, it’s Light Up the Town, with first and second place chosen for the best lighted trucks. The Competitor’s Prize will also be awarded at this time. Motorcycles are welcome.

The stop is at midnight. Trucks and motorcycles are free to leave at any time after the final rewards. Sunday, June 26 will be devoted to moving and cleaning trucks and motorcycles.

The event was started by Tim Letts, who lost his parents and brother to cancer. Tim’s father, Sam Letts, was a trucker for many years and Tim is also a trucker.

The 2021 event raised $4,100 for a local trucker and more than $1,300 for Ionia Area Hospice — both event records, Petersen said. Last year’s event also took place in severe weather, which Petersen said made the fundraising efforts even more special.

“That’s what the trucking industry is all about,” she says. “We always watch out for each other. It shows when we all come together like this for a good cause.

— Contact journalist Evan Sasiela at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @SalsaEvan.

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