Clifford, Ontario: Where classic trucks go for a good time

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CLIFFORD, Ont. — There was no shortage of sun, beer and bugs at the 2014 Antique Classic Truck Show which took place this past June 27 and 28.

The event, which was situated in the small but beautiful town Clifford, Ontario, was celebrating its fifth anniversary and it seemed like every classic truck enthusiast wanted to celebrate.

The show was hosted by the Great Lakes Trucks Club – which has 325 members – and its approach is pretty simple: No judging. No awards. No trophies.

“We’re very easy going and laid back,” said president of the Great Lakes Truck Club, Chris Hall. “It’s more of a meet and greet than say a mass truck show. The reason we have no judging, is we want to make it comfortable for some of the older guys that are still running the older equipment.”

Hall said that those who have older trucks will sometimes miss an opportunity to show off their classic rig because they might have dents and scratches and in a regular truck show, it’s kind of unheard to not have your vehicle all shined up for people to see.

“The trucks can come out as is,” Hall added. “Some of them are really super clean and some of them are just sort of washed up. So we want to make it comfortable for people to come and bring their trucks out.”

Walking around the show grounds, it was clear people took this advice. There were trucks showcased with cracked windshields, dents on the grill and even cobwebs. As a matter of fact, the older, unwashed trucks drew the biggest crowds.

The show really is classic in every sense of the term since it mirrors truck shows in the US where antique trucks are more popular. Hall said the idea for the show actually came about because of the lack of classic-themed truck shows in the province.

The club’s laid-back manner seems to be their key to success. People at the show brought their families, chugged beer while chatting about the good ol’ days and so it was no surprise to find out over the last five years, the number of the show’s truck entrants has more than quadrupled since people come every year to have a good time.

“At that time our club put together and advertised our first antique and classic show, we had about 50 trucks up here,” said Hall.

When I checked the registration booth Saturday afternoon, there was more than 200 trucks that had registered on the weekend to show off their goods.

To register a truck in the show it costs $25 and to be considered “classic” or “antique” there isn’t a magic date or year your truck needs to have been built on, though most trucks at the show were from the 70s and 80s. Even modern trucks can be entered as long as they have a classic flair to them.

“We have a lot of club members that do own newer trucks,” explained Hall as to the reasoning for the rule. ” So, we allow in newer trucks but they have to have classic styling with exposed air cleaners, exposed stacks and maybe a retro paint scheme.”

Hall said the show is rewarding for him, despite the fact trophies and awards aren’t given out and he enjoys the positive feedback he gets from having an easygoing show with no judging.

“The biggest comment we have about our show and the reason why our show is so successful is because we don’t tell people what to do, we just want them to bring the trucks out,” he said. “We have many guys here who bring their trucks out and they’ll come to me later and go, ‘I can’t believe how many people looked at my truck!’ And then they leave with such a great sense of pride.”

The event only set spectators $5 to get in and on the last night of the show, there is a barbeque pork chop dinner for all to enjoy.

For more information, please visit the Great Lakes Truck Club Web site here.




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Sonia Straface is the associate editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. She graduated from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2013 and enjoys writing about health and wellness and HR issues surrounding the transportation industry. Follow her on Twitter: @SoniaStraface.

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