With the proceeds benefitting the High Desert Montessori Charter School, Peterbilt gladly volunteered the space to host all of the oversized vehicles and attendees for this popular one-day event.
“This is the first year we’ve ever hosted (Kids on Big Rigs) and we’re all for it,” says Peterbilt Vice President Mike Altimus. “A couple of years ago we decided as a company that we really wanted to increase our community involvement; our vision this year was to make a difference,” he adds. Altimus noted that it’s also fun to have a lot of their customers that they provide vehicles for there as vendors. “This is a sweet opportunity, we’ll probably do it again if we have the chance,” Altimus says.
Kids had grins from ear-to-ear as they lined up to climb aboard their favorite big rigs, ventured up the climbing wall, enjoyed snow cones, shot arrows at hovering balls at the Wild Sheep Foundation booth, or danced to DJ Mike. It had a full-on family festival feel as a cacophony of honking horns and sirens could be heard throughout the yard of big rigs.
Kids walked around with NDOT activity books, new toothbrushes, and paper Bighorn sheep horns sprouting from their heads.
“The trash truck was the hit of the event,” says Reno resident Chris Lavery speaking on behalf of his 2-year-old Bodhi, thinking that he enjoyed it the most because that is the type of big rig he sees on a regular basis.
“He also had a nice time reflecting on life in the back of a police car,” adds his wife Kylie Lavery.
The Laverys added that this was an event that Bodhi looked forward to and used it as bait to get him to behave. “And he loves it, it’s a great event,” Chris says.
Meandering around the event, suddenly a man in a boom about 12 feet up drops a package with two balloons attached to it. The box hits the ground and a bit of yellow yolk drips out. At the Have Lights Will Travel booth below, kids were creating contraptions to try to keep the eggs from breaking.
“I would say that two out of three eggs don’t make it,” says Have Lights Will Travel’s Kyle McClelland. “Some kids don’t put enough engineering in. Like that one over there…,” he says, pointing to a package, “…that’s going to be an interesting one.” As its second year attending Kids on Big Rigs, McClelland says that he enjoys seeing all of the kids having fun and lots of smiles.
“It’s been a great turnout so far, we’ve had a good and steady flow all day,” says McClelland. “This is a much better space, there are a lot more people and more vendors. They did a good job promoting it this year and it’s a great event for the kids to see all of the trades,” he adds. McClelland says that his company fully supports an event like this to help get kids outside and away from computers/technology to expose them to those that keep the community running smoothly.
7-year-old Thomas Pillar was adjusting the driver’s seat of the Waste Management truck he was sitting in as his dad carefully watches from the ground below. Thomas says that the whole event has been pretty awesome and his favorite part was riding in the backhoe.
“We look forward to this event every year,” his father Tom Pillar says. They stayed at Kids on Big Rigs for two and a half hours and Thomas climbed in every vehicle.
Back over at the Wild Sheep Foundation archery booth, members give kids their paper horns and warn them not to head-butt each other.
“(The archery activity) seems to fit what we do as far as Bighorn sheep conservation,” says Foundation Educational Coordinator Ryan Brock. Along with traveling around with the Wild Sheep Foundation doing community outreach, Brock is also a teacher at Reno’s Jesse Beck Elementary School.
“All of my kids know about Bighorn sheep,” he says. Brock and co-worker Ken Knox say that they love local events like this to get kids exposed and interested in their efforts. This was also the last day that kids could sign up for the Wild Sheep Foundation’s summer camp and they are glad to see a lot of kids coming out and asking questions.
“It’s been neat to see a lot of families come out, want to be involved and asking questions,” says Brock.
The 2017 Kids on Big Rigs proved to be a successful event. It’s always held on the last Saturday of April and Peterbilt will most likely host it next year.