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Show organizers cancel MATS amid coronavirus threat

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

The Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) joins the growing list of industry conferences, sporting events and music festivals that have been canceled in the past few days because of the coronavirus threat.

“This is a decision we did not make lightly, but in consultation with our exhibitors, attendees, supporters, and partners, including Kentucky Venues, Louisville Tourism, Kentucky Governor’s Office, and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Families Services,” read a statement posted Thursday on the MATS website. “In light of today’s extraordinary circumstances and with an abundance of caution, this decision has been made with the health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors, employees and show partners in mind.”

The decision to cancel MATS came a day after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. The same day, President Donald Trump announced a 30-day travel ban on foreign visitors from most of Europe in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

MATS, scheduled for March 26-28 at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, attracted more than 72,000 attendees and around 1,000 exhibitors last year.

This is supposed to be the 49th year for MATS, which was founded by Paul Young. His grandson, Toby Young, is the president of Exhibit Management Associates Inc.

“MATS has a proud tradition as the largest and most well-attended show in heavy-duty trucking,” according to the statement. “We will return stronger than ever in 2021 and will focus on an unforgettable 50th-anniversary event on March 25-27, 2021, in Louisville, KY.”

More than 1,300 people have been confirmed to have the virus, resulting in 38 deaths in the U.S. Approximately 128,000 cases have been confirmed with more than 4,700 deaths worldwide.


  1. Stephen

    This had to be done we had a mine show in Toronto 2 weeks ago. People at the show gave it to at least 3 people in Toronto. It is already in the homeless shelters in New York City. People that live on the street in Toronto are showing signs of it today. Trucking companies in Canada have been told to not go into some parts of the U S . Cuts to public health care in some parts of the U S and Ontario means we do not have enough resources to treat a major outbreak. I have camped out at queens park protesting my insurance company not fixing my house in 6 and half years and cuts to health care and programs that help truck drivers and the homeless by our government and insurance companies. The O T A in Canada knows that many truck drivers do have coverage is the get sick or injured in the U S .

  2. Dave

    TIA will rightly cancel their show next, then Freightwaves will cancel theirs……and if GATS is cancelled in August the world is in REAL trouble!!!!

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Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to [email protected]