Let’s not bury the Fergus Truck Show before it’s dead

The 25th edition of the Fergus Truck Show came and went over the weekend and already there are rumblings it will be the last. The body’s still breathing folks, so let’s not bury it just yet. It may be premature to be discussing alternative venues in southern Ontario but that’s exactly what many visitors to the show were doing on Saturday and Sunday.
Indeed the show has its challenges. Shrinking crowds and escalating costs are chief among them, exacerbated by a growing reluctance on the part of landowners to rent space needed for camping and parking.
It seems that somewhere along the way, the event morphed from truck show to music festival, yet organizers have heard those complaints and are trying to return the show to its roots.
Many of us were expecting disaster last weekend after the show dropped its full-time staffers and announced it would be run entirely by volunteers. However, things ran smoothly, for us at least, and the volunteers were always ready to help out when called upon. From the moment we checked in, Cassie ensured we had everything we needed and our important Owner/Operator of the Year presentation went off without a hitch.
For that we are thankful. (More on the Owner/Operator of the Year later).
The volunteers worked tirelessly throughout the weekend and at no time did we witness anything resembling chaos or disorder. Well done.
There are always complaints surrounding an event of this magnitude, but most we heard concerned the weather and the dwindling crowds. One ultimately affects the other and it seems Fergus Truck Show organizers just can’t catch a break when it comes to weather. The weather gods were smiling Sunday, however, and you couldn’t have asked for a better day for a truck show.
There were still some breathtaking show trucks on display but the overall truck count was down, way down. The spirit of the show’n’shiners remained strong, however, with countless hours spent primping and polishing their rigs.
For me, truck shows like Fergus are all about the people. Here are a couple stories that stood out from the weekend:
When making the rounds with colleague Adam Ledlow and our video equipment, we ran into Dale Holman, one of the very first Truck News Owner/Operators of the Year. His son Cory was on-site polishing their 94 Freightliner dubbed Generations.
Dale was the first owner of the truck, and he put a million miles on it. His father Floyd then took over and added another million miles. Floyd passed away, and now it’s Cory’s turn to add his million miles to the odometer.
The truck still gets nearly 9 mpg, if you can believe that. On the door you’ll find inscribed the names of three generations of Holmans: Floyd (flanked by angel wings), Dale and Cory. It’s trucking families like that who are the backbone of the industry. Watch for their story on Adam’s Fergus episode of our WebTV show Transportation Matters in the coming weeks.
The other moment that really struck me was when we had a very special visitor to our booth, 10-year-old Jackson Felkar. Jackson is wheelchair-bound and comes from a trucking family, Felkar 5 Trucking out of Dutton, Ont. They haul livestock.
According to his parents, Jackson is an avid fan of Truck News. He gets excited when it arrives in the mail and he even takes it with him to school. Below, you’ll see a picture I took of Jackson at our booth with publisher Rob Wilkins and associate publisher Kathy Penner.
It’s moments like the ones I just mentioned that make going to the truck show worthwhile. If it wasn’t for the show, I wouldn’t have known what ‘Generations’ meant when I passed that white Freightliner on the highway and I wouldn’t have known that the work we do here makes a kid’s day in Dutton, Ont. when the latest issue arrives in his mailbox.
The Fergus Truck Show, and others like it, have their challenges. But let’s not lose sight of the fact these get-togethers are important for a whole bunch of reasons and at the end of the weekend, the memories we take with us hopefully outweigh the inconveniences encountered or the discomfort wrought by an uncooperative Mother Nature.
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Jackson Felkar pays us a visit at the Truck News booth at the Fergus Truck Show. His family runs Felkar 5 Trucking hauling livestock out of Dutton, Ont.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • James what a great blog and I totally agree with all your comments. Moments like Jackson visiting us are priceless and make it all worth while.

  • James More people in the industry should take the time to visit, walk talk and not just attend the big big shows in Metropolitan areas (GTA) I have enjoyed attending FERGUS for many years and will continue to support it for many more.

  • I an very disappointed with the show. I asked for a refunded and I was threatened by the organizers that if I don’t leave. They will call the police. Beer line up was 400 long, and it was scary dark. The staff was rude.