Meet two former truck driving champs who have their eyes on the prize

Truck News

As the official media sponsor of the Ontario Truck Driving Championships (OTDC), Truck News is profiling some of the of the drivers participating in the regional events which are being held on June 14 in Toronto and Cambridge. We’ll be following these drivers on course, and letting you know how they do as they compete to move on to the big provincial games.

Without further adieu meet Clary Ward and Jim Schaefer, two impressive drivers you should keep your eye out for:

Driver name: Clary Ward

Region: Central Ontario

Company: Con-way, Hamilton terminal

Clary Ward

Class: Single-single

Past experience: This year marks Ward’s tenth time competing. In 2013, he won first place at the central Ontario regionals, then placed first at the provincial level and went on to win first place at nationals. He’s claimed first place at three out of the last four Ontario championships.

Background: Ward has been with Con-way for a decade, though he has been driving professionally for more than 30 years. Like many other truck drivers, Ward got into truck driving because of his father, who was a driver for years. Ward says that once he got into driving he enjoyed it from the get-go. Before joining Con-way he worked for a company called Jet Transport for 18 years.

What he thinks about the Championships: “I think it’s good,” Ward said. “It gets news out there that it’s all about safety. To get in you have to be an accident-free safe driver. I’m sure, even though (winning) was a good reward for me, the companies are proud and can say they have some of the best drivers in the industry. It is like a feather in their hat too. I know our company promotes it within. Once somebody has won, they will put up a poster about it.”



Driver name: Jim Schaefer

Region: Toronto (Though his company currently runs in-house competitions to qualify drivers for the provincial Championships.)

Jim Schaefer
Jim Schaefer

Company: Tim Hortons, Guelph distribution centre

Class: B-Train

Championship experience: Schaefer has been competing in the Championships since 2009. He was the first place winner in his class at the provincial Championships in 2013. Schaefer is also one of the rare competitors who have scored two perfect pre-trip inspections during his short time competing.

Background: Jim has been driving professionally for more than 32 years and has been a company driver for Tim Hortons for 9 years.

What he thinks about the Championships: “I cannot think of a negative thing about it. Other than I didn’t win the nationals,” said Schaefer jokingly. “Some guys are embarrassed to perform in front of their peers and judges. And I say to the guys, ‘Regardless of where you go, there’s always someone watching you. You just have to blank that out and remember you’re just going for a drive; that’s all it is.’”

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