Show organizers cancel MATS amid coronavirus threat

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.