Two thousand miles. That’s a lot of road, but no trip is too far for the TanTara Transportation Company.
The Muscatine trucking crew sang “We got a great big convoy” as their Hawk Truck hit their highway last September, bound for the first Iowa Hawkeye away game at Rutgers. That trip marked the first big Ten game of the season.
Since 1985, President Mike Riggan’s fleet trucking company has hauled Iowa’s football equipment to and from out-of-town games. At home games, you’ll find the rig parked by Kinnick Stadium.
The Black and Gold 18-wheeler—whose trailer says “It’s great to be a Hawkeye”—is a common and much loved sight for loyal Iowa fans. The truck’s vanity plates read “HAWKONE” and the truck is affectionately known as the Hawkeye Hauler.
The cost of this deluxe transportation service for the University of Iowa football team? Zero. It’s absolutely free. It’s just one more way Riggan, 65, a proud Vietnam veteran, gives back to the community that helped him succeed.
For his part, Coach Kirk Ferentz says the truck is a tremendous benefit to both the college and the football team. Riggan “goes above and beyond . . . he drives that thing hard,” said Ferentz in a Daily Iowan interview.
“We do this for the football team,” said Riggan in the same interview. “We bleed the Black and Gold—always have.”
No one can doubt this statement; Riggan certainly talks the talk and walks the walk. The gleaming rig cost more than $200,000 dollars and fuel and maintenance run more than $10,000 per year. As a gesture of thanks for all he does, Riggan receives sideline passes to get closer to the action, action made possible by his generosity of spirit. His son, Jeff, has done the driving for many years.
Riggan’s labor of love for the Hawkeyes is one of many charitable programs the Lone Tree businessman supports. As one of 18 children, Riggan learned early the importance of hard work and helping others. That’s why he’s also so pleased to support nearly 20 organizations, including the Special Olympics, American Cancer Society, and Hospice of Central Iowa.
Last season, the Hawk Truck logged more than 5,000 miles with trips to Rutgers, University of Minnesota, Purdue, Penn State, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Next stop? The Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida, where the Hawks will face off against the Florida Gators. You can be sure the Hawkeye Hauler will be there. In fact, Jeff pulled out of Iowa City on December 20 to make the long-haul trip.
Win or lose at the Outback Bowl, the TanTara team will be ready to do it all over again when the 2017 football season begins September 2, 2017. So, starting next fall, when you’re headed to an Iowa game, look for the dazzling diesel trucking down the highway to deliver its precious cargo. And give a wave to Riggan and his loyal crew.
For more about the Hawk Truck, please read this feature article in Landof10.com.