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And the Winners Areā€¦

by Jim Park
If you don't like the smell of diesel smoke and the roar of Jake brakes, then the Fergus Truck Show and the Rodeo du Camion probably aren't for you. As the two biggest shows of the summer, these two pack in enough excitement to last 'til next year. The Fergus extravaganza turns the tiny town, located about an hour's drive west of Toronto, and just north of Guelph, pretty well on its ear for the weekend. This year, they crammed 41,083 people onto the fairgrounds, and that doesn't include the 361 show and shine entrants, 155 truck-pullers, or the 1028 volunteers.

It would be harder to estimate the crowds at Rodeo, but when a crowd that big is having that much fun, who's stopping to count? It's a carnival up in Notre Dame du Nord, Que., which lies at the northern tip of Lake Temiskaming, near the Ontario town of New Liskeard. The truck-race course is lined a dozen deep with race fans from all over the world, and this year's Show & Shine drew trucks from as far away as Kapuskasing, Ottawa, and Grayling, Mich.

Each year, at both events, the list of participants becomes more varied, with lots of new faces (and grilles, too) showing up on the winner's podium. There were several first-timers carting home prizes this year, such as Silvo Ostronic and his chopped, bright yellow, loooong-nose '84 Pete. He built that one himself by clipping six in. from the doorposts, the cab, and the sleeper. He extended the hood by 23 in., and added several feet to the frame to get that long sleek look. It's a work in progress, he says, funded out of general revenue. When there's a bit of dough in the bank, Silvo's back out in the garage. It's looking pretty good for a truck he bought for $7000. Total investment so far: a mere $18,000.

Terry Vogler's '92 Aerodyne K100 showed well again. He took away first-place honors for best cabover and best paint, combo. He also won in the same categories earlier this summer at the Brigden show.

The light show on Saturday night is always one of our favorite parts of the Fergus extravaganza. It's a great opportunity to take some interesting photographs of the trucks, and folks always seem a little more laid back at that time of day. John Camposeo's green and yellow '85 Freightliner made a nice subject, but that truck shows well, night or day. He's actually got a pretty tidy looking fleet of trucks done up in the same colors. Real eye-catchers.

With about three dozen fewer show trucks than last year, you could hardly say Fergus was hurting, but the impact of the past winter was obvious. As an observation, and for what it's worth, there seemed to be more of the older trucks on display this time out, and that's always a treat for the gray haired guys like me who cut their teeth on late-seventies/early-eighties vintage trucks. It's great to see so many of them still out there turning heads.

The big news at Rodeo this year was the persistent, though false, rumor that this year might be the last for the 23-year-old event. There have been a few complaints about some of the rules governing the racers, and it's believed that some of those unhappy with the changes might have started the rumors. See the sidebar story.

There were a few notable absences this year, but the new faces more than made up the difference, especially in the Show & Shine competition.

Robert Brinker of Grayling, Mich., cranked up the heat in the mural and paint categories with his 2002 Freightliner XL Classic, nicknamed Dragon On. It's air-brushed from stem to stern with dragon murals, complete with scales on the frame rails. Renowned air-brush artist, Al Proulx from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., is the genius behind the art work, and Brinker is pretty darned proud of Al's efforts. We'll be doing a profile on Al Proulx in the very near future, so watch for it.



And speaking of murals, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Dany Prévost's 1979 Ford Louisville 10-wheel dump truck. It's not often you see a 24-year-old truck in such fine condition, and he says he works it every day. She's as clean as a whistle, and there's a nice little mural on the hood of the truck. Under that hood is an old A-block 3406 Cat. You can't mistake the sound of that engine, and it sounds as good as the truck looks.



So aside from the regrettable presence of Ontario's truck police set up in New Liskeard on the only roadway leading over to Quebec, and the loss of Brent Kurtz's turbo in his first trip up the hill, Rodeo was an unqualified success again this year. Same with Fergus. By this time next year, the roar of the crowds and the smell of diesel, propane, and aviation fuel will once again be luring the curious and the enthusiasts back to Rodeo, while the admittedly quieter goings-on at Fergus will help fill the town's fairgrounds with trucking fans yet again. highwaySTAR is pleased to be a sponsor of both events, so we'll be sure to see you there!















Nobody remembers your name when you finish second. And this time Terry Nychuck and the "Wilder Thing" crew will be remembered, not just for the win but also for their spirited last-second push to the finish line. Nychuck's arch rival, Donny "Mad Dog" Vachon with his bright orange Western Star, was in fine form all weekend, and literally couldn't be beat as the elimination rounds progressed. From the time the pair first squared off, it was a matter of feet, if not inches, between first and second place. Suffering a jammed shifter, Nychuck dropped the first race, and found himself in catch-up mode the rest of the weekend.

Come the final best-two-out-of-three showdown late Sunday afternoon, Nychuck flipped open the hood, made a few adjustments, and said to the crowd of on-lookers in the pit area, "She's gonna win or die trying. We're going for broke!"

Nychuck took the first race, Vachon the second. It couldn't have been staged any more dramatically. While warming up his tires before the third and final run of the weekend, coolant was seen spilling on the ground underneath Nychuk's Kenworth, and expectations began to fade. True to his word, though, when the green light on the Christmas tree lit up, it was all but over for Vachon. Reaching a speed of nearly 75 mph in a distance not much longer than a football field, and up a steep hill at that, Nychuck and his '400' Cat edged out his opponent's '475' Detroit by a matter of inches.

Who knows, by the way, how much power those engines are actually producing.

"I can't tell you how good this feels," Nychuck said after the race. "We didn't put much into it this year, and to tell you the truth, I didn't think she'd see Saturday night. I guess that makes up for the last two years. Now I'm three out of five up on Mad Dog. He'll be looking for blood next year."

The Winners: Fergus Truck Show

Public's Choice Brad Hickman Kratzer Trucking
Best O-O, Working
John Camposeo John Camposeo Ltd.
Best Day Cab Joe & Jeff Berry Service Star Freightways
Best Cabover
Terry Vogler Terry Vogler Trucking
Best 2003 Company Truck Gerry Martin Wallenstein Transport
Best Pre-2003 Company Truck
Brad Shantz Thur Transport
Best 2003 Working Dennis Brubacher Ippolito Transportation
Best '01-'02 Working
Grant Lough Fastrax Transportation
Best '99-'00 Working Chris Barron Rims Co-op
Best '95-'98 Working
Jay Anderson Jackson Transportation Systems
Best '84-'94 Working Mike Ryson Kim Tam Truck Leasing
Best Pre-'84 Working
Cam Hiltz Cam Hiltz Trucking
Best Restored, Non-working Brian Kurtz Brian Kurtz Trucking
Best Paint, Tractor
Stan Hamulecki Sunrise Equipment
Best Paint, Combination Terry Vogler Terry Vogler Trucking
Best Mural, Tractor
Jay Anderson Jackson Transportation Systems
Best Straight Truck or Combo Commercial Bob Segrue
Best Display Area
Donald Robson Mel Janssen's Trucking
Best Display Fleet (3+) Lyons Mill & Timber  
Best Fleet (3-5)
Tri-Corp Transport  
Best Fleet (6+) J.F. Kitching & Son Ltd.  
Best Combo, Reefer
Jim Warner Jr. Air Ride Transportation
Best Combo, Van Kevin & Jackie Carty Landstar Ranger
Best Combo, Livestock
William T. Bonnell GMF Transport
Best Combo, Float/Flat/Curtainside Aaron Cooper IFS
Best Combo, Car
Carrier Paul Powers CCT Auto Trans
Best Combo, Tanker Gordon Currie Ariss Highlands Transport
Best Combo, Trains
Chris Sabourin Tim Hortons
Best Combo, Dump Kyle Kneeshaw Kyle L. Kneeshaw
Best Combo, Feed
Ed Benjamin Lakeside Transport
Best Straight w. Pup Gascho Bauman Wallenstein Transport
Best Straight Truck, Dump or Tow
John Swaving Pro's Pick
Best Dump, '02+ Kevin Smeltzer Yard Weasels
Best Dump, Pre '02
Lance Jelley R. E. Jelley and Sons Ltd.
Best Service Vehicle Bill Chirbey Bill's Repair
Best Heavy Recovery
Frank Jewett Abram's Towing
Best Light-Duty Specialized Bill Little Elora Antique Warehouse
Best Highway Mini
Henry Tourigny Henry's Heavy Equipment Repair
Best Lights, Single Dennis Brubacher Ippolito Transportation
Best Lights, Fleet Tri-Corp  
     
Race Winners: Rodeo du Camion
Name Category Place
0-424 hp    
Serge Beauregard Bobtail 1
Patrick Genessee Bobtail 2
Sylvie Paradis Bobtail 3
Serge Beauregard
Loaded 1
Martin Perreault Loaded 2
Stéphane Labonté Loaded 3
425-459 hp
   
Michel Normand
Bobtail 1
Jerry Dussault Bobtail 2
Donald Vachon Bobtail 3
Michel Normand
Loaded 1
Jacques Périgny Loaded 2
Donald Vachon Loaded 3
460-499 hp
   
Steve Goulet
Bobtail 1
Jonathan Lemerise Bobtail 2
Marc Roy Bobtail 3

Name

Category Place
Jacques Meilleur
Loaded 1
Steve Goulet Loaded 2
Martin Lemerise Loaded 3

500 + hp

   

Sylvain Gauthier

Bobtail 1
Ted Hopper Bobtail 2
Claude Normand Bobtail 3
Donald Lavoie Loaded 1
Claude Normand Loaded 2
Sylvain Gauthier Loaded 3
Special Class
   
Terry Nychuck
  1
Donald Vachon
  2
Rod Grabowski   3
Free For All Race
   
Claude Normand
  1
Michel Normand
  2
Jacques Meilleur   3
     
Show & Shine Winners: Rodeo du Camion
People's Choice
Robert Brinker  
Best Highway Tractor
Phil Langevin  
Best Logger Tractor
Stéphane Bélanger  
Best Highway Combo, Van
Brian Kurtz  
Best Highway Combo, Flatbed
Gilbert Paiement  
Best Specialized Transport
Marc Roy  
Best Brand New Truck
Richard Harrison  
Best Towing
René Tessier  
Best Antique Truck
Carl Lalonde  
Best Tractor & Dump Trailer
Daniel Laberge Transport  
Best Non-working
BGR Express  
Best Combo, Tanker
Jade Transport  
Best Low Bed
Germain Cadieux  
Best Dump Truck
Dany Prévost  
Best Combo, Logger
Martin Leblanc  
Most Representative Fleet
Brian Kurtz  
Best Chrome
Brian Kurtz  
Cleanest Paint & Lettering
Robert Brinker  
Best Interior
Pierre Faucher  
Most Attractive site
Jason Caruso  
Best Maintenance Brian Kurtz  

 

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