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COLUMBIA, Mo. -- In case you missed "Truck Stop Missouri" during its first go-around, you will have another chance to catch it now that the Travel Channel has renewed the reality show for a second season.
The show will come back as "Truck Stop USA," but Midway Travel Plaza at Interstate 70, just west of Columbia, will still take center stage. The name change is a bid to attract a wider audience. Last year, the cable channel tested the show in various time slots, at one point pulling in more than 500,000 viewers, according to The Columbia Daily Tribune.
Midway Travel Plaza features 10 businesses in one location: a family restaurant, convenience store, bar, boot shop, antique store, repair shop, child care center, trailer rental, a haunted house and fireworks tent, according to its website.
At the middle of it all is Joe Bechtold, owner of Midway Travel Plaza. He told the news outlet that he expected the reality show to bring in additional business. However, he did not expect the crowds of out-of-towners -- numbering in the hundreds per week -- stopping by for a look at the truck stop.
"I can't get over how many people are road-tripping and making Midway a destination," he said.
Some new visitors are dropping by on their way to University of Missouri football games in Columbia. In other cases, locals are taking out-of-town guests to see the business. Then, there are those visitors who are making the truck stop its only destination.
"I didn't realize how far people would be willing to drive to just come and see it," Bechtold told the newspaper, noting that an Ohio family recently spent a weekend there. "It never occurred to me that we would get fans."
Film crews have been on location for the past couple of months and Bechtold expects them to be on hand for two upcoming events: a rodeo on Dec. 10 and a mixed martial arts fight on Dec. 17.
With a new season expected to bring in new legions of fans, Bechtold is encouraging local officials to take notice. He has met with the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and plans to talk to Boone County commissioners. While he doesn't have specific ideas, he wants other groups in the area to keep Midway in mind.
At least one official has noticed. "We haven't set anything in stone, but we have been talking," CVB Executive Director Amy Schneider said. "We are planning on talking to him further and seeing what we can do to help. It's bringing interest to Columbia -- interest to a different part of Columbia, but as long as it brings people in, we're excited."