Archive for the ‘Dave Smith’ Category


How We Began


Our beginnings were as many organizations the actions of individuals. Some driver would become needy, and among the ATN Fans drivers would talk together and pool resources to help that driver.

In small groups we shared concerns, and we shared some efforts. Many of us did what we did quietly through friends in the belief that the recipient should not know where the aid was coming from. “Thank You” was not something most of us wanted to hear. Some of the recipients later became benefactors to others because, among the ATN Fans as among the trucking community in general, the belief in “pay me forward” rather than “pay me back” is strong. Some people did “pay back” when they were helped, those funds always seemed to find a new need to be applied to.

Over time it was only natural that small groups started discussing formalizing an organization to continue this effort. The shock we all experienced when one of the hosts of the radio show our group seemed to revolve around experienced the crushing loss in his personal life that our efforts could not ameliorate, gave some of us the spark that galvanized us into action at last.

Jacob Boulanger and his father Eric ( Bubba Bo) and Steven Sommers and his father Steve are for many of the ATN listeners an extended family. It seemed only fitting that we should guarantee that our trucking community efforts should reflect our acknowledgment of that relationship. Steven we agree to uplift in all his endeavors, and as a group we rejoice in his accomplishments. Jacob however we will with our own efforts try to honor because his life was cut short.

This memorial fund is the continuation of our community building that for most of us began with our participation in, and enjoyment of, the ATN show. Our hope is to also spread the community beyond the ATN audience to the entire trucking community. It is after all the entire trucking community we belong to that shares the beliefs that we put into practice here. Our roots as an organization are after all only the place to gain nourishment for the living plant we are bringing to life here. A fund by truckers for use helping truckers.

Jake Russell Boulanger Memorial Fund

Burnt Beans and I decided to try to avoid doing the dishes again this morning at Sierra Sids’. They probably would remember us from last night and would be ready for us, so we walked across the street in front of Sierra Sids’ to the “Black Bear Diner.”



Jessie Was our waitress, and she seemed to have some idea how to deal with us, for instance the first thing she did was grab me by the ear and demand to see some money in my wallet before she would let us order breakfast!  We think Mr. Smith must have called her and warned her about us.  Don captured the moment!


Dave had touted the chicken fried steak so much that I had to try it. Looking at the menu I saw a breakfast with it, “The Big Foot",” so I ordered it. Don ordered the breakfast just below it on the menu called “The Grizzly.”  Here is a menu shot showing the two breakfasts.Image05242011081913

When the breakfasts arrived they were stupendous. I shot a few pictures so that you can see what they were like, and then Don and I tried to eat as much as we could!

The last picture was taken after we finished eating, and shows how much was left to chose from for Puppy’s “Doggie box”. (No wonder he is so fat LOL!)



What “Food Jihad” visit would be complete with out a picture of the fabulous deserts offered at the Black Bear Diner.  So here is a short sample of what you see when you walk in the door and a few “Food Jihad” proof we were there photos.  No we have not yet recovered any hunger so we have not yet been back across the street to try those deserts.. Want to make a bet (this is Sparks Nevada after all) on whether there will be an update to this story featuring :”Desert?”

Rated *****

Written By: Dave Smith
Guest Correspondent

Why would someone want to attend a Special Olympic Convoy ??? The reasons are numerous as I see it. We are very lucky to be able to attend convoys all over America, for us getting up in the morning and eating breakfast and off to driving where ever we drive to to get the load there on time. Sure sounds easy, now lets look at it from a different perspective. We get up in the morning and have to have someone help us get dressed and fix us breakfast and because we are not able to drive a vehicle to get us to our work place let alone hold a license or even own a vehicle. We have to depend on someone to get us to work if we are able to work and get us home again.
These people are so special and do live in a different world than we know. Some are able to attend Special Olympic camps and sports activities, softball, bowling, basketball and track and field, soccer and swimming. By participating in these sports, people learn to be part of a team and team work, there is no "I" in team and they learn to work together, there are no losers, everyone wins.

Largest Fleet in the Convoy Award

When we, as truck drivers and owner operators, attend a convoy we develop friendships with athletes and their parents and/or guardians. Yes some parents give up their special needs child to someone willing to take them and love and nurture them for the rest of there lives. We may only get to see these athletes once a year, but they do remember us and our trucks and yes many ride with the same driver year after year.
I have been very lucky to attend convoys in Florida, Delaware, Texas, Kentucky and my home state of Nebraska and meet some wonderful people,not only in Special Olympics but also the trucking industry, media, state and local government and also in law enforcement, but mostly it is the athletes I have been fortunate to meet. That’s why we put the convoys on, it is for the athletes. All the funds generated from a convoy stay in the state where the convoys is held. It take a 100 dollars per athlete to send that athlete to camp. It is left up to the parent or guardian to get the athlete to and from camp,
As most convoys go, Friday night is Family night, a big cook out and fun and games with interaction with the athletes and their parents or guardian. Of course the trucks are the center of attraction, all cleaned up and shining. In Nebraska we have a softball game, the athletes versus the truck drivers. In 6 years the truckers never have won a game.
Every athlete gets to hit the ball and run the bases and we even have had athletes in wheel chairs play with a member of law enforcement or a fire fighter to run them around the bases It is a sight to see, with smiles and cheers from someone that enjoys the game.

Saturday Softball Game Opening

Then after the big softball game, it’s time for dinner and cake and ice cream and the dance with a live band, (the band donates the time and gas to get to the convoy.) Athletes do love to dance and sing karaoke.
Saturday morning at first light, the big diesel engines come to life and the drivers look for that 1st cup of coffee and a doughnut as the big day starts very early. A drivers meeting is held and then we move on to opening ceremonies with people speaking from local and state government and the chaplain of the Nebraska Highway Patrol offers a prayer for the safety of our convoy. Then everyone loads up in their trucks, drivers and athletes, some riding with the same driver for many years, once again back to the development of friendships.
Then with lights flashing, sirens screaming, and air horns blowing, away we go.

Saturday Morning Opening

People are lining both sides of a four lane road waving signs and just waving to the trucks with athletes on board, big smiles abound. We go twenty mile north to Bosselman Travel Center with people waving signs and banners and cameras going off all over the place. Once every truck is safely parked, lunch is served. Then the awards are handed out, awards for the farthest traveled, the lead truck, the largest fleet and the athletes choice award (were the athletes pick their favorite truck and no truck can win more than once). An auction is held and extra t-shirts and caps are sold, also coffee mugs are sold to those who want them. Once again all this money is keep in the state for Special Olympics programs for athletes.
When a driver comes to a convoy he pays a $100.00 entry fee to be in the convoy and in these tough times $100.00 seems like a lot. It is also tough to lose money if he or she parks a truck for the weekend. So why do drivers try desperately to get to convoys to participate in them?

Law Enforcement Escorting The Convoy

If YOU wonder why, lets look at if from a different angle just a minute.
How much money does one put out for chrome or lights in a year? How much money do you spend at Walmart for things you only think you need? Maybe you could skip a couple of wash jobs? Maybe forgo a night in a casino? Yes times are tough right now in the trucking industry, but time are always tough for someone with special needs! We convoy to help raise money to meet those needs because WE CAN!

Some of the Participants

Come join with us this year, pitch in together as an industry that has always had a lot of compassion for people and let’s help out by going to a convoy near you and enjoy a few hours of fun. It is a life changing weekend for you, and possibly for many others as well. A lot of funds and programs are being cut because of money isn’t there right now. It’s tight for everyone, it would be awful to see programs cut for Special Olympics or Convoys cut because we as an industry didn’t help.
So is $100.00 for two days worth of fun and eats a lot, I sure don’t think so.
Special Olympics Website!

Special Atheletes Having a Blast