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    Midway Auto Truck Plaza Star of New Reality TV Show

    "Truck Stop Missouri" will premiere on the Travel Channel July 27 at 9:30 p.m.

    COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Midway Auto Truck Plaza will be the setting of a new Travel Channel reality show debuting this summer, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

    Film crews from Leftfield Pictures -- the New York-based company that films the hit show "Pawn Stars" -- have been in the area for months filming snippets of life at the multi-business complex off Interstate 70's Exit 121. The result, "Truck Stop Missouri," will debut on the Travel Channel at 9:30 p.m. July 27. The show will air weekly with subsequent shows starting at 9 p.m. It's expected to run for at least 13 episodes.

    "That's step one. Hopefully, and from everything we've seen, it will be a smashing success. From there, we'll see where the road takes us," Stone Roberts, executive producer for the Travel Channel, told the newspaper.

    The program has been in the works since November when Joe Bechtold, general manager of the Midway complex, first got a call from the production company letting him know they were looking for the "most unique," independently-owned truck stop in America.

    Midway includes a hotel, tattoo parlor, boot shop, antique mall, fireworks stand and haunted house. Those establishments, along with the fact that the business is family-owned and located in the heartland, made it the right choice, according to Roberts.

    Film crews have been at Midway since January, interviewing locals and showcasing events that make the truck stop unique. Among scenes caught on film so far are bikini-clad girls washing cars as a fundraiser, a cowboy-themed church service and a game of cow patty bingo.

    There will be plenty of "day-in-the-life-of" truck stop scenes, too, Bechtold added.

    "It's made everything really fun," he said, noting that even the most "mundane" things are captured on film in a fun light. "It's been massively exciting for my employees and regulars."

    Bechtold is the star of the show and the producer said, he "shines as a character."

    "Joe is the core of that family business, the core of the show and really the core of that facility," Roberts said. "He's done a wonderful job, and, so far, we see no reason why that won't continue to be the case."

    Roberts also insisted the scenes will be authentic.

    "There's such a wide variety of characters and stories that pass through Midway on a daily -- if not hourly -- basis," he said. "It's not hard to find a wide variety of good stories to tell, and they all present themselves to us organically. We're there to mold them into wonderful stories and share them with the world."

    Bechtold seems modest about the whole thing, but said he's excited about the program bringing national attention to Midway. "I hope it puts us on the map," he said.

     

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