GRAND BEND, Ont. - The first annual Big Rig Truck Nationals truck race and show took place at the Grand Bend Motorplex Sept. 7, and organizers say it was a big success.The event was sponsored by Earl ...
ROARING TRUCKS: On the way to the finish line at the Big Rig Truck Nationals.
GRAND BEND, Ont. – The first annual Big Rig Truck Nationals truck race and show took place at the Grand Bend Motorplex Sept. 7, and organizers say it was a big success.
The event was sponsored by Earl Hardy Trucking, and according to Ron Biekx, general manager of Grand Bend Motorplex and show organizer, Earl Hardy was an exemplary supporter of the event.
“Earl Hardy has been really great to work with. He was there for the drivers, he really wanted them to have fun. He brought all kinds of prizes and things for them to take home, he wanted to make sure these guys got more than they thought they were going to coming into the event,” said Biekx.
Biekx said that even though it was the first show, it has given him motivation to start planning next year’s event in an even bigger way.
“It certainly met my expectations,” said Biekx. “I was tickled about how pleased the people were, everyone was enjoying themselves and there were an awful lot of air horns honking and it had a real family atmosphere. It was great.”
The race began at 12 p.m. and all drivers were raring to go, said Biekx.
The 2003 Big Rig Champion, and winner of the coveted Earl Hardy Trucking one-of-a-kind jacket was Bob Bennett from Luan, Ont. who was driving a 2000 Kenworth W900. The Big Rig runner-up was Johnathon Hardy from Woodstock, Ont., driving a 2003 Kenworth W900L.
The Tuff Truck winner was Bob Woodley from London, Ont. driving a 1997 Dodge Dakota, and the Tuff Truck runner-up was Phil Sampson also from London, Ont. who was driving a 1997 GMC Jimmy.
The Best Paint award went to David Bradshaw of Ayr, Ont. with his Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde 2003 Peterbilt 379. The Best Interior was awarded to Kevin Wernham of Wroxeter, Ont. and his 1996 Peterbilt, and the Best Engineered award went to Brad Hickman of Moffet, Ont. along with his 2002 Peterbilt 379. Although the truckers were competing and all wanted to win, said Biekx, they were having a really good time and they enjoyed being together out there.
“One of the neat things was that one of my staff members had a CB radio and while the big rig guys were racing the quarter mile, the whole time they were playfully trash talking on the CBs while they’re pulling gears,” said Biekx.
Beikx said it is difficult to gauge expectations when it is the first show, but he wanted to educate people about the event and get the word out there and break even financially, and he achieved both goals.
“The truckers, racers, fans and people putting the show on all seemed to be happy and the event sponsor even got an ovation, so it is definitely something we’ll be moving forward with for next year and it will be even bigger and better,” said Biekx. He said his advertising in trade publications and on the radio served a valuable purpose, but said the real way to make people aware of an event is by word of mouth.
“I was hoping that enough people would hear about it through the ads and by word of mouth that they would give me a break the first year,” Biekx laughed, “and as long as we showed them a good time and a good event then we could go from there.”
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