The Mid-America Trucking Show began in the early 1970's, when a private management group was formed by Paul K. Young, to create the largest and most diversified trucking show in the United States of America. The first Mid-America Trucking Show was held in 1972 with 83 Exhibitors and 4000 visitors in attendance. The show occupied a portion of the West Wing of the original Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.
The Mid-America Trucking Show is more than a tradeshow. It is the annual forum for the heavy-duty trucking industry, providing face-to-face interaction between industry representatives and trucking professionals. Attendees are driven to MATS because they can efficiently research the latest products and services to provide their business with a competitive edge. Exhibitors participate in MATS to effectively introduce new offerings, increase brand awareness, promote products and connect with suppliers, customers, and prospects.
MATS is where the industry comes together, where attendees network with Fortune 500 companies, where media outlets from around the world go to report on the business of trucking, and where trucking business gets done.
It's common knowledge that if you want to conduct business in the trucking industry, you have to be at MATS.
Since that time, The Mid-America Trucking Show has grown steadily, first filling the West Hall of the mammoth KY Fair & Exposition Center, then expanding to the larger East Hall. The show continued to grow throughout the 80's spilling over to auxiliary Hall A, then also into auxiliary Hall B.
With the completion of the new South Wing of the KY Fair & Exposition Center in 1991, The Mid-America Trucking Show was able to meet what had become an overwhelming demand for space. Almost half a million square feet of space was taken up by 650 Exhibitors and more than 35,000 people attending in just three days, making it the largest Trucking Show in the Western Hemisphere!
The next major growth phase of The Mid-America Trucking Show occurred in 1994, when the South Wing Phase II expansion was immediately filled by the Show. 160,000 square feet of exhibit space was added, along with additional outside exhibits.
The 1997 Mid-America Trucking Show once again expanded to meet the ever increasing demand. The show's expansion into the West Wing of the KY Fair & Exposition Center gave Mid-America 1,000,000 square feet of show space hosting some 1058 exhibiting companies!
The 2000 Mid-America Trucking Shows was the largest trucking show ever seen in the Western Hemisphere with over 70,000 registered Attendees from every state in the union and 44 countries.
The 2002 Mid-America Trucking Show proved to be a tremendous success for the trucking industry and especially for the 980 companies that exhibited. The show included a wide array of companies and products with Exhibitors from 47 states and 9 foreign countries. Once again, the aisles of the show stayed grid locked from show opening to show close with a final attendance total of 68,164 Attendees.
The 2006 show marked the next major growth of the show as the South Wing C Expansion project was completed adding approximately 160,000 sq. ft. of Class A exhibit space, bringing the show to well over 1 million square feet of exhibit space throughout the South, West, East and Pavilion. This addiitonal space seemed to vanish as quickly as it came on-line. The expansion enabled the 2006 show to break all previous records for attendance, number of exhibiting companies, and total square footage. By the close of the show, 1,144 Exhibitors had occupied more than 1 million sq. ft. indoors and 200,000 sq.ft. outdoors; showcasing the latest products and services to a record breaking 80,291 trucking professionals from around the world
In 2008, the East Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center was completely demolished and the new North Wing was erected in its place. The North Wing renovation project provides a more modern Class A exhibition space with higher ceilings, fewer support columns, and a widened path from the South Wing/East Hall. In addition, the renovation project included an overhead pedway to allow those parking in the rear of the facility to access the 35,000 sq. ft. North Wing Lobby without walking through the North Wing. The new wing made a significant impression on Attendees and Exhibitors alike as 1,174 Exhibitors and 76,563 trucking professionals participated in the largest heavy-duty trucking event in history. In fact, MATS 2008 set the record for Exhibitor participation and demolished the previous record for size of show by more than 50,000 sq.ft.
In the year 2011, the Mid-America Trucking Show celebrated an impressive four decades as the world’s most important heavy-duty trucking industry event. As the country’s economy slowly started to regain its footing, this resurgence was reflected at Mid-America’s 40th Anniversary event. 1,039 exhibiting companies from 47 states and 9 foreign countries showcased their products and services to yet another remarkable crowd of 76,179 attendees. Like the resourceful industry that MATS represents, it had weathered the economic storm and set its sights on a more prosperous future.
Further building on the momentum from the previous year, the Mid-America Trucking Show exceeded its own lofty expectations in 2012. This particular show was the inaugural year for the MATS Fleet Forum, a special event found only at the Mid-America Trucking Show. This milestone gathering of fleet executives and industry elite, produced in conjunction with Fleet Owner & Heavy Duty Trucking Magazines, provided those lucky enough to attend an extensive outlook into the ever evolving landscapes of equipment and trucking.
The support MATS receives from the heavy-duty industry was again made clear as 1,070 of trucking’s most renowned companies encompassed over 1,200,000 sq.ft. of exhibit space. The all-time attendance record was also shattered when 80,972 qualified attendees assembled in Louisville for what many have since dubbed the “Best Mid-America Trucking Show Ever”.