BARRIE, Ont. – The personalities were just as unique and exciting as the vehicles on display at the inaugural Ontario Trucking Association’s Big Wheels Bike and Car rally.
Industry professionals made the haul up to Horseshoe Valley to mix and mingle with their colleagues in an event that showcased an unparalleled affection for automobiles.
The road that brought Ken Olsen of TKO Transport to the Sept. 12 rally stretches back over two decades.
“Twenty-five years ago I was working for a VP of sales and was fed up with the job,” Olsen said.
“My friend Tom and I started our own courier business and here I am.”
Olsen, like many of the attendees, started up their own businesses while others, like James Steed of Steed Standard Transport joined a family business that goes back four generations.
Olsen and Steed came to the rally with their Harley Davidson bikes, both cruisers, to enjoy an afternoon hosted by the OTA.
Al Boughton of Trailcon Leasing rode in with his gold 1969 Dodge Charger, which he spent four years rebuilding.
Boughton, a car collector, has been working on cars since his youth.
“When I was a kid, I did it out of necessity,” Boughton said. “You saved all your pennies for a car and when it broke down, you had to fix it yourself because you had no money left.”
“If you didn’t have wheels, you didn’t have a girl,” Boughton added.
Boughton helped organize the event, rallying in cars from the GTA west, including two cars from his own collection, the Charger, and his wife’s lime green 2013 Ford Mustang.
Boughton’s wife didn’t have the only Mustang on display; Ed Wiersma, from Ed Wiersma Trucking showcased an older, classic model from 1969.
“I had almost the same Mustang when I was younger,” Wiersma said. “I loved that car.”
The black ’69 Mustang was procured from an estate sale several years ago and while the engine was in good shape in spite of sitting idle for quite a stretch, Wiersma spent some time getting the car clean and repairing the leaky transmission.
The inaugural event wasn’t just about great rides, but it was also for a great cause. A portion of every ticket sold was allocated to raise money in memory of Lucas Redpath of Cummins Eastern Canada and director of the OTA Allied Trades Division and Mitchell Pogue, son of OTA Board member David Pogue, president of E.G. Gray Transportation.
“OTA will donate a portion of the allocated funds in the name of Lucas Redpath to the OTA Education Foundation, where they will be used to benefit OTA Allied Trades applicants in 2014. The remaining funds will be directed towards an Ontario college that is offering a firefighting program, in honour of Mitchell Pogue,” said Marco Beghetto, the vice-president of communications and new media at OTA.
“I cannot tell you how much it means to me and my family that the association has chosen to honour Mitchell with a donation to a program and pursuit that meant so much to him,” said David Pogue. “Mitchell was a voluntary fireman in his community; it was his passion and a way for him to give back.”
“We are honoured OTA and its members are remembering Lucas in this way,” said Michael Christodoulou, president, Cummins Eastern Canada. “He was a great young man, who was dedicated to the industry and to the association; I am sure he would be very proud and appreciative.”
It was a day for car enthusiasts to rub elbows, talk shop and raise money for a good cause.