MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 27, 2014

Touch-a-Truck draws biggest crowd yet

Belinda Crittenden said moving this year’s Touch-a-Truck to Davis Field was a great idea.

“I like it better this year,” Crittenden said. “It’s bigger and there is more space. My kids love it so much out here.”

Crittenden and her husband brought their three children ages 6, 5 and 2 to the fourth annual Touch-a-Truck event on Saturday morning. They were joined by approximately 2,500 others, which makes it the largest Touch-a-Truck yet.

Francie Martin, a coordinator of the event, said they had to make the change in venues because they’d simply outgrown the last.

“We’ve got more vehicle and more exhibitors,” Martin said. “We even have all-terrain vehicle rides. We’ll have drag racing this year and we brought two emergency helicopters as well. The Castle of Muskogee even brought their jousting horses out. We put a sign out at Love-Hatbox saying we’d moved, but even some of our own people went out there first.”

Martin also said the attendance at the event was a far cry from the first one they put on.

“The first year we put it on, we had a hard time getting people to sign up to bring vehicles out,” she said. “Now they’re calling us, wondering when the event will be and if they can bring their vehicles. This is for the kids. We’re giving kids the opportunity to experience vehicles they might see every day but not get to touch.”

Proceeds from the event go to the children’s department of the Muskogee Public Library. The library also brought 3,000 books to give away at the event. Approximately 100 vehicles came from as far away as Georgia, and the show featured an entire row of public works vehicles from the city of Muskogee, race cars, tractors and more.

Crittenden said the event is cheap, and gives the people in the area something to do on a Saturday.

“Another benefit is it makes them familiar with the emergency vehicles and workers,” she said. “That way if the kids need to, they don’t have to be afraid to approach them. My kids learn so much every year, and they definitely look forward to it.”

Carson Crittenden, 5, spent some time in thought before answering what his favorite vehicle was.

“All of them,” he exclaimed as he threw his arms wide, indicating the entire airfield. “I’ve been in a firetruck and a cop car. I like them all.”

Workers at the gates handed out earplugs to patrons as they entered. While the myriad of sirens from emergency vehicles was loud, it was all immediately drowned out by the sound of the race cars being fired up and revved to their limits.

Carey Menasco, who brought his 1974 big-block Chevrolet Camaro to the event, said this was his second year participating.

“I think it’s awesome for the kids,” Menasco said. “I watch them pretty close when they get in the car, I just don’t want them to hurt themselves. They sure won’t hurt the car.”

Menasco said he was even thinking about participating in the drag race later on.

“I didn’t bring it to run,” he said, pointing at the 1,300 horsepower car. “But if I can get the fuel in it, I’ll take it out there and show them what a burnout looks like.”

Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or tsloat@muskogeephoenix.com.

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