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Family Time

by Rolf Lockwood

About two hours northwest of Toronto heading toward Owen Sound you’re well away from the hustle and the ugly bustle of city life. Instead you’re deep into lush, green farm country. And except for city folk rushing madly so they can relax sooner at their cottages on Lake Huron, people don’t seem to mind driving two lane highways at 80 clicks. It’s refreshing for a reluctant citydweller like your cub reporter here.
I made that jaunt on a Saturday morning in early June, heading for the Palmerston Hand Car Races and Bobtail Truck Show. Palmerston is a small town, a rural hub, and the shiny trucks on display reflected it. These rigs, some 65 of them, were just as likely to be hauling feed as auto parts.
Within minutes of my arrival I’d made friends with a couple of young kids helping to polish Dad’s Kenworth, and not far away from them was a father-and-little-son team working hard on the chrome wheels of Papa’s Pete. I lingered quite a while there, talking about this and that, then moved on and met up with a guy I’d profiled in print 20 years ago. He wasn’t even married back then, but there was his teenaged son with a polishing cloth in his hand as well. You’d be forgiven if you asked about child labor laws at a show like this!
I grabbed a hot dog for lunch and then fell into a long conversation with a group of guys who shared my passion for trucks, but a couple of them were pretty serious about it – they trade old truck brochures like kids trade hockey cards. I could have hung around with them all day.
The Palmerston affair is like that, a distinctly non-competitive show with a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere where folks of like mind simply gather to …well, just to gather. There were some very nice trucks on display, for sure, every one of them a working machine aside from a couple of antiques. But better yet was the chance to spend time with some very nice trucking people. And their smiling kids.
Down Brigden Way
And the kids were out in numbers at Brigden that weekend, too. I suppose kids and trucks go together like bugs and bumpers. Shows like Palmerston, Brigden, and the others are a great way to blend a little down-time, family-time, and trucktime into a single affair.
While the folks in Palmerston were priming their rides for a truly relaxed day of camaraderie, another large crowd of truck fans had assembled in Brigden, located just a few miles south of Sarnia, Ont., for the fifth annual Truck Pull and Show and Shine weekend. The mud was flying high on Friday night as the Modifieds and the Four-Wheelers tore up the track. Clouds of black smoke drifted across the infield, and of course the road of the big modified motors could probably be heard clear across the St. Clair River. But across the fairgrounds, the highway haulers had the rags and polish out, getting ready for the judges’ tour later on Saturday.
The judges had fewer trucks to check out this year, perhaps 35 to 40 of them, but the caliber of the iron was high indeed. Jim Provost had some of his prettiest iron out there, and there were couple of great looking antiques in the mix as well.
The rain moved in early Sunday and put the boots to the tractor pulls scheduled for that afternoon, but it’s safe to say that enough fun was had on Friday and Saturday night to satisfy most appetites.
We didn’t make the shows in Mission, B.C. or Saskatoon, this year, but our roving reporters were on the ground in the west. We’ll have pix and stories from those shows next month, along with the Carp Valley Show and Shine. We’ll be attending The Fergus Truck Show (July 25-27) in Fergus, Ont., and Rodeo du Camion too (Aug. 1- 3), in Notre Dame du Nord, Que.
Hope to see you there!

Brigden Winners
John Smith – Big Shiny Truck
And another big shiny truck
John Smith – Big Shiny Truck
And another big shiny truck
John Smith – Big Shiny Truck
And another big shiny truck
John Smith – Big Shiny Truck
And another big shiny truck
John Smith – Big Shiny Truck
And another big shiny truck
John Smith – Big Shiny Truck
And another big shiny truck
John Smith – Big Shiny Truck
And another big shiny truck

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