Any advice for me at the Ontario Truck Driver Championships?

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Evidently, I’ve been entered in the tandem-tandem class at the OTDC in Brantford this weekend, I am more than a little nervous!. These are all regional champs and the winners are going on to the National Championships in Alberta later this year. I’m a novelty candidate but I’ll be up against, arguably the best drivers in the province and I’ve never done a truck “rodeo” before. I know there are pylons involved and tricky backing maneuvers. This could be a debacle. On the other hand, i’m pretty good at times, too. As a younger guy running auto parts I remember backing into the US Customs building on Fort Street in Detroit, those narrow slots between trailers and hitting the dock first time without a correction–All at one with the truck and trailer. I’m going to a have to do some kind of zen mind link with the equipment and turning radius on Saturday morning. No idea of what I’ll be driving. One colleague tells me, it’s tougher than it looks (reassuring).

Really, events like this highlight the skill aspects of our industry and there seems to be a push to grow this event and get a unified competition going across Canada. How’s that for a reality show, the best of the best…and we can have a demolition derby afterwards.

Seriously I am looking for tips for Saturday’s competition. And what do you think of the idea of having workplace skills competitions? How do we get more drivers and companies interested in taking part? And what the heck am I doing there?

Don’t know what will I’ll be driving. I have a picture of my dad in a DP camp in Germany driving a tractor over a barrel with one wheel in the air, but he told me they were doing that for the photo opportunity. But If I end up knocking down every pylon I’ll try to scramble through the course and at least try to set the fastest time.

These are the best drivers in Ontario that are going to be out there. Home Hardware always seems to qualify a good number as does FedeX, Tim Hortons’, Erb. The company that signs my paycheques doesn’t go in for the skills competition. You”d thing their drivers would be natural for the step-van division which has been discontinued.

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Harry Rudolfs has worked as a dishwasher, apprentice mechanic, editor, trucker, foreign correspondent and taxi driver. He's written hundreds of articles for North American and European journals and newspapers, including features for the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Life and CBC radio.

With over 30 years experience in the trucking industry he's hauled cars, steel, lumber, chemicals, auto parts and general freight as well as B-trains. He holds an honours BA in creative writing and humanities, summa cum laude.

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