Palmerston, Brigden set tone for truck show summer

PALMERSTON & BRIGDEN, Ont. (July 12, 2004) — The first two successful shows of the 2004 Canadian truck show calendar took place last month in southwestern Ontario: the Palmerston Classic Car & Bobtail Truck Show — located deep in the heart of farm country about 50 km north of Kitchener-Waterloo — and the Brigden Pull & Shine event, near where oil was first discovered, about 15 minutes southeast of the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia.

The dew was still on the grass from the cool night before, but already trucks were being marshalled onto the Palmerston fairgrounds (the locals pronounce it “paam-erstn”). By noon there were over 80 trucks lined up for a day of relaxation and catching up with those other midnight voices on the CB. In all, 98 trucks registered — the best year ever, says organizer Joan Harrow, co-owner (with husband Don) of Palmerston’s Ashland Transport.

“We started with 28 trucks in 1998, and we’re still trying to top the 100 mark,” she says. “Maybe next year.”

It might be a bit premature to call it a movement, but if turnout is any indication, the relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere at Palmerston seems to be catching on. This year’s event drew drivers from as far away as New Liskeard, about 250 miles north of Toronto. Once in a while a polishing rag could be seen wiping a streak off a fuel tank, but there certainly wasn’t any pressure. And refreshingly, rates and border delays hardly came up in the conversation.

Meanwhile, down the pike in Brigden, Ont. turnout wasn’t what organizers were hoping for, but the traditional tractor pull carried the day. Tom’s green ’96 Western Star has earned its share of gold at the show, and this year was no exception. Travelers Transportation once again grabbed the best fleet category (6 or more), with its group of 10 Kenworths, Freightliners, and new Western Stars.

Both shows set the tone for what’s still to come across Canada. Up next: The Great Canadian Triple Play/Big Rig Show and Shine, July 16-18, Barrie, Ont.; The Fergus Truck Show — named one of the top 50 events in Ontario — takes place July 23 to 25; The legendary Rodeo du Camion kicks off Aug. 30 at Notre Dame du Nord, Que.; and the Big Rig Weekend at Mission Raceway Park in B.C. revs up Aug. 21-22.

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