The event is staged at various locations across the country so that supporters of Special Olympics can demonstrate their devotion to this worthwhile undertaking.
Law enforcement officers escort the convoys up to 30 miles through and about the host cities to generate publicity for the events that tend to include a picnic, barbeque and awards ceremony, held in tribute to participating truckers and the industry for the charity.
The vehicles gather at a staging area and convoy through the metro area to a predetermined site like a raceway, fairgrounds or truck stop to be welcomed by the Special Olympics community.
Participating vehicles are limited to semi-trailer trucks, large trucks, low-boys, dump trucks, flat beds, buses, large tow trucks and large box trucks – all trucks must be at least 10 tons gross vehicle weight to enter the event. Not too surprisingly, trucks containing hazardous materials or bearing the names or logos of alcohol or tobacco companies are prohibited.
As an example, the event in Illinois begins at 10 am, starting from First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, at 19100 S. Ridgeland Avenue, in Tinley Park, and travels along Interstates 80 and 57, returning to the Amphitheatre – a 22 mile trip.
The event there is scheduled for September 28 due to a scheduling conflict on September 21, when most of the events occur in other cities around the country, according to Barbara DiGuido of Special Olympics Illinois.
The ending celebration is always open to the public, with food, music and the opportunity to meet some grateful Special Olympics Illinois athletes. Many of the participating truckers bring the whole family along for the ride.
“Last year we had 70 trucks,” said DiGuido, “and we’re hoping for more this year.”
"Special Olympics has a way of bringing everyone together, setting aside differences and building atmospheres of acceptance," said Tom Reasoner, Assistant Director of the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run. "The fact that Special Olympics can bring together law enforcement and truckers is a testament to how the athletes of Special Olympics are a true inspiration."
The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics (LETR) began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas (USA), Police Chief Richard LaMunyon took action to increase local awareness of Special Olympics, seeing it as an ideal way to get local personnel involved in the Special Olympics community.
Subsequently adopted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the organization is now recognized as the founder of the LETR. After 32 years, this support has come to providing a stable fundraising function for Special Olympics athletes worldwide.
These events and fundraising efforts include T-shirt and merchandise sales, donations and pledges for runners who participate in the LETR, corporate partnerships and special events such as Polar Plunge, Tip-A-Cop, Cops on Top, golf tournaments as well as the World’s Largest Truck Convoy.
Those wishing to participate in these events or the Worlds Longest Truck Convoy should click here.
Torque News salutes the law enforcement and trucking communities for supporting Special Olympics and empowering the dignity of these young athletes.