Bud Rush: 2009 Highway Star of the Year

ExpoCam 2009 has come and gone, but it seems to have left smiles on many faces after its three-day run at Montreal’s Place Bonaventure, April 16th through 18th.

Both trucks and trailers were sold right off the show floor, and there were many scenes of attendees handing over real, hard cash for a wide variety of smaller items. All of that seems to suggest that, while things are bad, this industry still has a very strong heart with a regular beat.

In fact, there was a markedly upbeat mood to the show, a strong spirit in the air. Attendance was almost at 2007 levels, and on Saturday morning the long line of visitors waiting for the doors to open at 9:00 a.m. started forming two hours earlier. The first 4,000 of them got a free Freightliner or Western Star hat.

Bud Rush
Bud Rush is honored by Newcom Media and sponsors as 2009 Highway Star of the Year.

And once inside, visitors were presented with much to see and do.

All truck makers were represented on the show floor, including Mack’s big new Titan and International’s LoneStar, both of which drew crowds. There was keen interest in the 2010 engines on display, of course, and that group included one example of the new MaxxForce 15 from International, set to launch some time in 2011. On the trailer front Manac showed its new and lightweight Darkwing flatbed.

A new feature to this year’s show was the ExpoCam Green Route, which highlighted exhibitors whose products promote fuel efficiency or reduce emissions. More than 40 products were ­featured, from hybrid trucks to aerodynamic trailer skirts and next-generation HVAC units.

Amongst many other popular displays, crossborder carrier C.A.T. attracted lots of interest with its driving simulator, as did the Nascar racing machine sponsored by Total Lubricants. The racing theme was continued by Traction Heavy Duty Parts with its racing simulator games.

All three show days included French-­language seminars moderated by Transport Routier editor Steve Bouchard. Fleet ­topics included fuel-saving strategies and employee recruitment and retention. For owner-operators, a Saturday session led by owner-operator Michel Patry covered small business management in tough times. Each of the three was attended by at least 100 show-goers.

One of the key highlights of ExpoCam was the presentation of the 2009 HighwaySTAR of the Year award to Bud Rush of Oakbank, Man., who has been
an owner-operator with Armstrong Moving/United Van Lines for some 30 years. The program honors a driver or owner-operator who sets himself apart from the rest. The winner must have a first-rate safety record, of course, and a record of contributing to his community in significant ways. Rush, who makes a habit of saving lives on the road, is a volunteer fireman who also coaches hockey and transports senior citizens around his community. He has driven 4.5 million miles without an accident—and even without a ticket!

Joining highwaySTAR magazine in this award were several sponsors—Freightliner Trucks, Ancra Canada, ArvinMeritor, Caterpillar, Chevron, Espar Heater Systems, and the Owner-Operator’s  Business Association of Canada. Prizes included a cheque for $10,000, an Espar cab heater, and a road-ready laptop.

ExpoCam is produced by Montreal-based Newcom Média Québec, which also stages the CamExpo show in Quebec City and publishes Transport Routier and Logistics magazines. Its sister company, Newcom Business Media of Toronto, ­publishes this magazine, highwaySTAR and Truck & Trailer, as well as Canadian Technician and Plumbing and HVAC ­magazines. Newcom Business Media also produces Toronto’s Truck World show,
set to go in April 2010 at Toronto’s International Centre.

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