LAKE GEORGE - A convoy of 18-wheelers is headed for Lake George this summer, and "there ain't nothin' gonna get in their way"- to quote a 1970s movie of the same name.
Hundreds of professional long-haul truckers from across the nation are expected to attend a convoy, expo and convention July 11 in Lake George Village, organizers of the event said this week.
The event is expected to include displays and contests of customized and antique trucks, an expo of truck accessories, and a convoy-style parade of trucks decorated with holiday lights, organizer Bill Sutton of Batavia, NY said.
"This is going to be nothing less than spectacular," Sutton said. "Tractor-trailers are coming from every corner of the nation to participate."
About 100 truckers from Georgia, Texas and California as well as New York State have already pledged to attend, and custom tractor-trailers worth $1 million or more will likely be featured, Sutton said.
"Spectators will be seeing tricked-out trucks, with impressive chrome and lights," he said, citing that the Lake George convoy and convention event might be the first-ever of its kind. "These are the elite of the trucking world."
The event is planned as a fundraiser for the Prospect Center, which serves children of the Glens Falls region who have developmental disabilities.
"We are absolutely looking forward to bringing this event to Lake George," Sutton said. "Everyone participating will experience the splendor and
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beauty of Lake George - hopefully it will bring more people to the community in the future."
Lake George Mayor Robert Blais said this week that the convoy and convention was the first-ever of its type for Lake George, and that local officials would be meeting this month with the event organizers and representatives of the Warren County Sheriff's Dept. to work out the logistics of the convoy, expo and convention.
The event is being planned in conjunction with Citizens & Truckers United, a national organization of long-haul truckers of which Sutton is state director.
The state chapter has staged several convoys in the past in the region, primarily protests over high fuel costs and restrictive regulations that hamper the trucking industry, Sutton said.
In recent years, the group has held several convoys and protests in Albany. One convoy last June featured about 300 truckers traveling from Fort Ann to Albany protesting truck taxation and fuel prices.
Sutton said Prospect Center of Queensbury was chosen because of its financial need in this era of economic uncertainty and specifically the proposed state budget cuts to children with developmental issues.
"How can Gov. Paterson cut funding to children with disabilities? Our organization can not turn our back on this," he said. "Children with disabilities are often overlooked, and it's wrong."
Tina Kelly of Prospect Center said she was pleased about the enthusiasm the trucking group has shown in planning the fundraising event, and she was helping coordinate details on behalf of the center.
Sutton said that he's contacted the "Chrome Shop Mafia" folks of the hit television series "Trick My Truck" and he's negotiating their participation in the event, which is now envisioned to be held on one day, but may expand into a full weekend.
Sutton said other attractions may include one of the original Batmobiles leading the convoy into Lake George.
The convoy beginning the event is expected to start at Scotty's truck stop off I-87 Northway Exit 16, and travel up the highway into Lake George. The event may be so popular, however, that a second convoy may be staged from the Fort Ann Truck Stop into into Lake George, Sutton said.
"Through events like this, we hope to give everyday citizens a new impression of truckers," he said. "We're just hard-working people who have a passion for their work and their vehicles."