Trucks of all shapes and sizes were part in front of Burnley Memorial Library in Cottonwood Falls for the Chase County Downhome Truck Show, Saturday morning.
Chase County provided a fire truck and sheriff’s truck, the state brought in a snow plow, and several businesses and local residents parked a semi, fuel truck, cake feeder, a few antiques and numerous pickup trucks on the brick street in front of the library.
The brainchild of head librarian Janet Ayers, the outdoor activity drew kids and adults alike to see the trucks and check out related reading materials.
Most of the library’s spring and summer events had to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, so Ayers, a former teacher, has been drawing on her considerable expertise to find safe, alternative ideas. Held outside, the truck show allowed for social distancing. Masks donated by Kansas Motor Carriers were available, and separate hand washing and water stations were set up on the library grounds.
Despite the need for an outdoor setting and additional safety protocols, the purpose of the event remained the same as any other at the library.
“The goal was to have fun, encourage people to visit the library and get kids excited about reading,” Ayers said.
Brothers Vincent and Owen Hodges were delighted by the automotive display. On the way home after loading up on truck-related books, the boys were visibly excited about seeing the trucks up close.
“I like the one with the big scoop,” 9-year-old Vincent said, referring to the snow plow.
“I want a dump truck,” 6-year-old Owen announced.
Logan Carathers, 5, happily posed in front of his favorite truck wearing his “I [heart] trucks” sticker.
Interest in the trucks extended beyond children. Several adults gathered around various vehicles to talk horsepower and abilities and histories.
Mike Holder brought his 1951 Chevy pickup truck that still sports a “U.S. Mail” stencil on the front bumper. The truck started out as an Army truck, then a mail truck. Holder bought it at a government surplus auction and used it to haul rock and manure on his property.
“Lots of manure,” he said with a chuckle.
Floyd Beck of Matfield Green brought his 1988 Chevrolet Silverado to the show. He parked in the street, then settled into a lawn chair on the sidewalk to talk trucks. A hand-lettered sign mounted in the truck bed read, in part: “This old Chevy is still worked by Floyd Beck on his Matfield Green property restorations. Thanks for looking and please support the library.”
Ayers was surprised and moved by Beck’s show of support.
“I drove into town today to encourage kids to read,” Beck said.
In addition to the trucks themselves, children could check out books about trucks and take a free copy of Kid Zone magazine, donated by the American Trucking Association. 10-4 Magazine, a publication for truckers, also donated magazines, and the National Association of Small Trucking Companies donated several dozen mini toy tractor trailers. 4-H Reading Project members served as volunteers during the event.
“We’ve had tremendous support,” Ayers said. “From the city to the county to the state to the residents of Chase County, it’s been wonderful.”
Burnley Public Library is open during its regular hours: 2 – 7 p.m. Monday, 2 – 5 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. – noon Saturday. Patrons are requested to wear masks.