BRADFORD, Ont. – The summer truck show has long been an industry mainstay, showcasing the best and – sometimes literally – brightest rigs on the road. But a struggling economy has taken its toll in recent years, as even some...
BRADFORD, Ont. – The summer truck show has long been an industry mainstay, showcasing the best and – sometimes literally – brightest rigs on the road. But a struggling economy has taken its toll in recent years, as even some of the most popular shows of the year have seen their attendance numbers dwindle.
A young upstart in the truck show game, the Stirling Truck Show, recently announced it would be bowing out and cancelling the show outright after only six years (full story on pg. 16). Is this a sign of things to come? Is the truck show, as we know it, becoming obsolete? We posed to the question to truckers at the Husky Truck Stop in Bradford, Ont., and also asked for suggestions how organizers can boost attendance.
• Ben Mair, a driver with AMS Transportation Services in Dundalk, Ont., says most drivers simply can’t afford the time off to attend truck shows.
“The money is just not there anymore. With the price of fuel, we are still making the money we were making 20 years ago,” he said. “And who can afford all of this fancy stuff on these trucks these days, you know? I know I can’t.
“I used to go to the (truck show) in Fergus all of the time. You know, but back then things were a little busier and the economy wasn’t as bad – but I haven’t been there for probably five years now.”
• Rick Broughton, a driver with more than 30 years of experience at Hayward Logistics in Clear Creek, Ont., says the economy is mostly to blame for the current state of truck shows in Canada.
“I think a lot of people would support the truck shows, but with the economy the way it is, it’s kind of hard to do that…plus to put the money into your show trucks too,” he said. “I would say if the economy spun around, you would see more (people in attendance). I really believe that.”
Like Mair, Broughton says he enjoys truck shows, but the last one he attended was the Fergus Truck Show about four years ago.
• James Pidgeon, a driver with Canada Cartage out of Ajax, Ont., says he believes truck shows are alive and well, as there is still plenty of company-to-company comparison at truck shows, as well as owner/operators looking to show off their pristine equipment.
As for ways to increase numbers at truck shows, Pidgeon suggests holding truck shows at different times of year to help allow truckers that are working to make it back to attend. “Maybe make a few more (truck shows) so that the guys who are gone all of the time can get back to go to one,” he says.
• Frank Jacques, a driver with Hince Transport out of Hearst, Ont., says the younger generation of drivers coming in aren’t as interested in truck shows as the older guard.
“Trucks are also changing and they don’t look as good. Like a truck like this, one thing goes and that’s pretty much it. Things are getting more expensive,” he says.
As for Jacques himself, he says he’s never quite seen the allure of truck shows. “For me it’s a job. Friday I hand in my keys and see my kids. I don’t feel like spending a weekend around a truck show. You know, I love what I do, but I want to be home.”
– Do you have a topic idea for the Truck Stop Question? Contact Adam Ledlow on Twitter at Twitter.com/adamledlow or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may feature your question in an upcoming issue of Truck News.