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The First of the Year

by Jim Park
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The first two shows of 2004 Canadian truck show calendar took place on June 5 and 6 in southwestern Ontario: the Palmerston Classic Car & Bobtail Truck Show, located deep in the heart of farm country about 50 km north of Kitchener-Waterloo, and the Brigden Pull & Shine event, near where oil was first discovered, about 15 minutes southeast of the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia.

The dew was still on the grass from the cool night before, but already trucks were being marshaled onto the Palmerston fairgrounds (the locals pronounce it "paam-erstn", I discovered). By noon there were over 80 trucks lined up for a day of relaxation and catching up with those other midnight voices on the CB. In all, 98 trucks registered - the best year ever, says organizer Joan Harrow, co-owner (with husband Don) of Palmerston's Ashland Transport.

"We started with 28 trucks in 1998, and we're still trying to top the 100 mark," she says. "Maybe next year."

It might be a bit premature to call it a movement, but if turnout is any indication, the relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere at Palmerston seems to be catching on. The friendly, family-oriented gathering brought out the best in drivers as they sat around in lawn chairs, chatting and chasing the kids around.

This year's event drew drivers from as far away as New Liskeard, about 250 miles north of Toronto. Pat Daley, Domenique Montgrain, Jeff Bond, and Dave Brown all trouped down for the weekend, just for fun. Once in a while a polishing rag could be seen wiping a streak off a fuel tank, but there certainly wasn't any pressure. And refreshingly, rates and border delays hardly came up in the conversation. It was a good day to forget all that nonsense and get down to some serious fun.

I had a most interesting conversation with owner-operator John Bremmers about hardware. We weren't talking about transmissions or torque ratings, or even axle spreads or air suspensions. John was mighty upset that his GPS unit had a 9-pin connector, and was therefore incompatible with the USB ports on his new laptop. Times they are a-changin'. You'll meet John in an upcoming issue of highwaySTAR, a really interesting character.

"We owe special thanks to the sponsors and supporters of the show," says Harrow. "We had nearly $17,000 worth of door prizes and give-aways this year. Nearly every entry received a prize worth around $100."

Proceeds from the $30-entry fee were split between a dozen local sports and civic groups ($500 each) like the Palmerston and Harriston swim teams, several Boy Scout and Girl Guide troops, and a nursery school, among others. Good solid support from some good solid community spirit.

Brigden Pull & Shine

Meanwhile, down the pike in Brigden, turnout wasn't what organizers were hoping for, but a good time was still the order of the weekend. Tom Quinton and Jim Paisley, regulars at Brigden, came for some relaxation and shining, and to watch the tractor pulls on Friday and Saturday night. Those pulls are always the big draw at Brigden.

Tom's green '96 Western Star has earned its share of gold at the show, and this year was no exception. He came away with pest paint and best '96-'99 O/O truck. The Paisleys, Jim and Lynn, upgraded to a 2004 Pete three months ago. After taking best pre-1999 O/O truck last year, they collected best 2004 O/O truck and Peoples' Choice this year. And Travelers Transportation once again grabbed the best fleet category (6 or more), with its group of 10 Kenworths, Freightliners, and new Western Stars.

James Herriot brought his restored 1975 Kenworth W900 to the show, winning best antique and best pre-'92 O/O truck. Last year, Herriot carted home best antique honors for his classic GMC tandem in nearly showroom condition, despite the fact that it works nearly every day.

"Although we did not have as many trucks as we have had in the past we still feel the event was a success," said Devon Teft, a Pull & Shine executive. "The weather was wonderful, there were a lot of nicely polished rigs. The drivers worked hard and it really showed, making for some tough judging."

Watch for reports on the next two shows on the calendar, Minden's Kinsmen Pull and Shine, and Strawfest in Carp, Ont. We'll be out at both of them!

2004 BRIGDEN PULL AND SHINE TRUCK SHOW WINNERS

2004 People's Choice - Jim and Lynn Paisley's 2004 Peterbilt 379
Best 2004 company truck - Arthur Dick
Best 2000-2003 company truck - Angus Beverly
Best 1996-1999 company truck - Jason Johnson
Best 2004 O/O truck - Jim & Lynn Paisley
Best 1996-1999 O/O truck - Tom Quinton
Best Pre-1992 O/O truck - James Herriot
Best T/T reefer - Arthur Dick
Best T/T van - Angus Beverly
Best T/T float/flat - Trevor Crawford
Best T/T dump - John Ford
Best T/T livestock/feed - Tom Dobbin
Best T/T trains - Rob Whitmore
Best straight or light working truck - Adrie Oostendarp
Best show truck - Jim & Lynn Paisley
Best paint, working - Tom Quinton
Best interior, working - Angus Beverly
Best mural - Tom Dobbin
Best antique (20 yrs or older) - James Herriot
Best fleet (6 or more) - Travelers Transportation
Best displayed area - Tammy Cable