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The behemoth

CALGARY, Alta. - When Buster's Towing gets called to a major truck rollover, it's time to bring out the 'Big Guy.'Buster's - a division of Calgary-based City Wide Towing - boasts one of the biggest he...


NEW MATH: One big truck equals a lot of big jobs for Buster's Towing.
NEW MATH: One big truck equals a lot of big jobs for Buster's Towing.

CALGARY, Alta. – When Buster’s Towing gets called to a major truck rollover, it’s time to bring out the ‘Big Guy.’

Buster’s – a division of Calgary-based City Wide Towing – boasts one of the biggest heavy recovery units in Canada.

The behemoth Western Star tow truck features a rotating crane that lifts up to 80,000lb off the back and 40,000lb from the side, allowing it to retrieve trucks that have rolled far from the highway’s surface.

“We can work off the side with this truck, so we don’t take up the entire highway,” says fleet manager Robert Voelk. That benefit has made the truck a favorite among Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers who occasionally ask for that truck specifically when they call Buster’s out to a wreck.

Voelk and one other driver, Todd Warner, are the only operators who get to man the special rig picker-upper.

“It makes a lot of our work easier,” says Voelk. “We’ve had some big jobs where that truck has been invaluable.”

The truck was built in Quebec in 1998, and since then it has received a heavy workout from Buster’s. It responds to about 80 calls a month, and it has yet to run into a job too big.

Although maintenance costs are higher than on most heavy-duty tow trucks, Voelk says it’s worth having it available for big jobs the competition can’t touch.

“It dwarfs every truck that’s out there,” says Voelk. “It’s a great advertising piece and when it goes out on a job you know it’s going to get done.”

The massive tow truck is powered by a Series 60 Detroit Diesel engine and features an 18-speed manual transmission. Twin power take-off units and the remote controlled crane featuring a three-stage boom complete the package.

“I love running that truck,” says Voelk.


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