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Embrace your inner trucker

September 20, 2002

kevinc@herald-mail.com

From a public relations perspective, Mack Trucks was on the ropes and Paul Strausner didn't like it.

The Hagerstown engine manufacturer had little to no community outreach and morale within the plant left much to be desired.

This from a company whose innovations included the first hook and ladder firetruck, in 1910.

"I guess back when Mack was in this downturn, people didn't have very much good stuff to say about Mack Trucks, and a lot of us who worked there hated it," Strausner, of Greencastle, Pa., says. "And some of it was probably justified. What we were trying to do was change that. We wanted to just be part of the community."

So, feeling a bit bruised and battered in the public eye, a handful of Mack employees set about rehabbing their image.

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The result of their efforts was the Bulldog Roundup, a day-long open house at the Pennsylvania Avenue truck plant featuring tours, a truck rodeo, children's activities, a dunking booth, a toy show and a real live bulldog judging contest.

Saturday, Sept. 21, the ninth annual Roundup will allow visitors to embrace their inner trucker, whether by viewing displays or coughing up $1 to drive a truck.

"We try to show the good side of the American trucker," Strausner, event chair, says. "The trucking industry, it's just like anything else. A couple of bad people gives the whole thing a black eye."

Opening at the crack of dawn, rain or shine, organizers are bracing for between 16,000 and 20,000 visitors throughout the day, a far cry from the few thousand who turned out for the first event.

Donna Jackman has been involved with the Roundup since the start and marvels at its staying power. The liaison between The Lions and Lioness Club of Washington County and Mack Trucks, she enjoys seeing the positive outcomes that spring from the annual event.

Funds raised during the day will be pumped back into the community, whether to purchase glasses for children or winter clothing.

Not bad for something Jackman says started as a one-time only festival that has only grown in popularity from year to year.

"It's people with such varied interests and yet coming together to have a day of recreation," she says. "People come together and enjoy themselves, enjoy the food, enjoy the music, enjoy the displays, and families being together is the thing I think it most accomplishes. I just don't think we have enough of that today."

Earlier this year, Strausner retired from Mack Trucks, but his involvement with the Roundup shows no signs of slowing.

Too much work has been put into building the event. Besides, it's so much fun. Already, he's talking about next year's Roundup.

"I'd have to die to get out of this," Strausner says. "It's just that type of thing people feel real good about."




If you go . . .



Bulldog Roundup 9, a truck show and rodeo by Mack Trucks

Saturday, Sept. 21

Gates open at 6:30 a.m.; rodeo from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Event concludes at about 4:30 p.m.

Mack Trucks

13302 Pennsylvania Ave.

Hagerstown

Free admission.

For information, call 301-790-5958 or 301-790-5475.

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