ATHENS, Ont. — For the third year in a row, the truck show that just might be the best kept secret in Canada, brought the eastern Ontario town of Athens to life. The local fair grounds was crammed with trucks, new and old, with some dating back the earliest years of the 20th century.
Hosted by the Upper Canada Chapter of the Antique Truck Club of America, the Athens Truck Show takes over the Athens Fairground the second weekend in August. Athens, located about 20 minutes northwest of Brockville, Ont., is also the hometown of legendary truck and equipment collector Charlie Tackaberry of G. Tackaberry and Sons Construction. He has amassed a collection of hundreds of classic and contemporary trucks, many of which find their way into the Athens Truck Show each year. Charley Tackaberry is a truly generous fellow who enthusiastically supports such ventures.
In what may have been a world first, there were functioning examples in Athens this year representing 100 years of commercial transportation, ranging from a 1919 Ford Model T 1-ton truck to a 2019 Kenworth T880.
There were on display dozens of World War II vintage trucks from Autocar and GMC to Ford, Chevrolet and Diamond T and lots of highway trucks from the ’50s and 60s. Those were the days when a big engine meant 250 hp and air conditioning was two windows wide open at 50 miles per hour.
It’s amazing to walk through such a collection, stopping to take note of the year of the truck you’re gazing at and compare it to older and newer models. It’s hard not to notice the glacial pace of change over the decades, from the ’40s to the ’80s. Beyond that, things began to heat up, but we still had manual everything, air conditioners were more popular but still optional and advanced driver safety systems really referred to front-wheel brakes (optional until the mid-1980s) and power steering.
The blarney is always meters deep at such events, and that along is worth the tank of gas to get to Athens. Listening to the older drivers speak so fondly about a life that was much tougher than current drivers face, albeit in slightly different ways, is something I never tire of. It’s all part of a classic truck show, and it’s much more pleasant to listen to than the choruses of air horns and jake brakes at some truck shows.
If you haven’t been to the Athens Truck Show, make the calendar for mid-August 2019. You’ll be glad you did.
WALCOTT, Iowa – The TA in Walcott, Iowa – billed as the “world’s largest truck stop” – has been hosting its Truckers Jamboree since 1979, and this year 91 trucks participated in the annual Super Truck Beauty Contest.
Dennis Durand, a company driver for Winnipeg-based Jade Transport, brought the international flair. He was the lone Canadian entry.
His truck is a gleaming 2017 Kenworth with a custom-made stainless steel sleeper to match his stainless steel tanker. Powered by a 14-liter Detroit, this is a working unit that is a “beautiful outfit to drive,” says Durand. “Getting a thumbs up as I go down the road is what’s great.”
Even in these hectic days with lots of freight, Dennis still does shows wherever his boss sends him. “It’s not all about the trophies. It’s about meeting old friends, making new ones and having fun in our industry. The show is the trophy,” he says.
The observation was punctuated by the crowds around him, with groups joining together in the fun. One U.S. couple who saw he was from Winnipeg asked him about traveling to Manitoba and west to the Rockies. Dennis spent quite awhile telling them about all the great places along their route.
When asked which truck really stood out to him, antique, or show truck, Dennis paused, reflecting for several moments. “They’re all great”.
Heather DeBaillie has organized this show for longer than she cares to remember, but her enthusiasm is that of a person who still has a youthful passion for truckers, her staff and the industry.
“It is cool, it is exciting, and I love the people that I meet and I love the drivers. It’s a profession that people should be proud of,” she said. “Once this thing kicks off, it’s like, this is so awesome … It’s a reunion. It’s a parking lot party.”
CLIFFORD, Ont. – Unlike last year — when rain and mud dominated things, and even got some trucks well and truly stuck — the ninth annual Antique and Classic Truck Show enjoyed brilliant sunshine on June 29 and 30. If anything it was too hot, but the crowd seemed as big as ever.
Held in the small town of Clifford, Ont., two hours northwest of Toronto, the affair is organized by the Great Lakes Truck Club. They’re just a bunch of truck lovers, and the show they lovingly run holds no pressure for anyone, with no competition for prizes and only a handful of low-key vendors. That’s how the club wants it, and the 1,500-or-so folks who attend the show obviously like it.
In 2010, the show’s first running attracted 80 trucks, which rose to about 120 in 2011. Over the last three years the count has been well over 250.
Among those trucks was the 1950 Kenworth bubblenose owned by Ross Mackie, retired chairman of Mackie Moving Systems in Oshawa, Ont. Another Kenworth (there were many) was the pristine 1944 Model 600 from B & L Farm Services. Claimed to be one of only five in North America, it’s a numbers-matching truck with a 160-hp Cummins mated to a four-and-three Spicer transmission. Its “coffin” sleeper is accessed from the outside.
Peterbilts were abundant, of course, including a pair owned by show regular Kevin Trelford of Tara, Ont. The Peterbilt devotee showed off his spiffy ’72 359 with 12 Detroit cylinders, parked alongside his 2002 379 that’s used every day to haul cattle.
Rolf Lockwood, our editor at large, was on site and has some images to share through this photo gallery.
RAPHINE, Va. – The 36th year of the Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck contest got under way yesterday at White’s Travel Centre.
This year’s theme is “tribute to toughness” with highlights including free entry for truckers and their families, a look at the Shell Starship truck, fireworks, a truck parade, and of course the truck beauty contest which wraps up Saturday.
The contest features actively working trucks from he U.S. and Canada competing for more than $25,000 in cash and prizes. Twelve drivers will be selected to win a spot in the Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar for next year.
CLIFFORD, ON — In spite of rain and loads of mud on Saturday, July 1, the eighth annual Antique and Classic Truck Show organized by the Great Lakes Truck Club was another success. Some 1430 people came through the gates on Saturday, somewhat fewer on Friday.
Back in 2010 the show’s first running attracted 80 trucks and the organizers, a straight-shooting bunch of truck lovers, were a little surprised to have that many. In 2011 there were about 120 rigs, and the show was firmly on the map.
The weather and the 150th Canada Day celebrations kept this year’s truck registration count at 260, down from last year’s 270, but the relaxed and happy spirit was the same. And according to club stalwart and show co-ordinator Verdun Zurbrigg, the percentage of classic trucks compared to newer ones was up substantially. That suits everybody well.
The show’s success is no accident. It’s a carefully crafted attempt to be a relaxed event devoid of any pressure whatsoever. There’s no competition for prizes, very few vendors, just old trucks — some of them not yet made pretty — and people who love them.
“For me it is a plan coming together,” said Chris Hall, a club founder, past president, and one of its main driving forces. “When we conceived the show I wanted old-truck owners to be able to restore an old classic then have a place to showcase it. Now people build trucks specifically to debut at Clifford.”
In fact Hall used this year’s show to debut his own truck, a long-wheelbase, tandem-axle 1952 Kenworth model 825, with a rare supercharged Cummins NHRS 320. Found in California as a basket case, but complete, it has an aluminum frame and a generally lightweight spec’. The build took seven years of off-and-on work — Hall did most of the work himself — and the result is spectacular. If it isn’t perfect, I don’t know what could possibly be done to make it so. Down to the last detail, it’s been restored to the way it was when it left the factory.
The KW 825, incidentally, became the model 900 in 1956 and then morphed into the W900 in 1964.
Kenworth was the show’s featured marque this year, and there were lots of them there, including a sizeable bunch of cabovers.
Other highlights of this year’s show included Phil Langevin’s beautiful Western Star with its bright and shiny stainless-steel bunk, all the way from Ottawa. Another was the immaculate 1957 White Mustang 9000T owned by Hutton Transport of Uniondale, ON. And Peterbilt devotee Kevin Trafford of Tara, ON, showed off his latest, a beautiful Model 359, sitting beside his ’72 359 with 12 Detroit cylinders.
I must give a big shout-out to my willing chauffeur, Jason Schlueter of Stratford, ON, club member and owner of a lovely 2014 Freightliner Argosy cabover. He hauled me through the mud on a little John Deere and saved me from falling on my keester. Still took me an hour to clean my shoes afterwards. Thanks, Jason.
TORONTO — Freshly cut grass, barbeque and the old familiar scent of diesel are just a few of the things you’ll smell at the various shows around Canada this summer, starting with the first ever Woodstock Truck Show. Held at the TA Travel Plaza (Exit 230 on the 401) in Woodstock, ON, the show will feature at least 50 trucks vying for a spot in a 2015 charity calendar and will run on May 31 and June 1st.
June truck shows
7: Peterbilt Ontario Truck Centres in Whitby is hosting its 2nd annual open house and show and shine. Peterbilt is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and the special anniversary edition 579 is sure to make a guest appearance. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features a BBQ and Road Hammers concert.
6-8: You won’t want to miss this truck drivers’ “super party” from June 6th to 8th in Mont-Laurier, QC. The party’s promising a rush of music, trucks, motorcycles, antique cars and everything nice. There will be a show n’ shine, truck parade, heavy truck race and of course, awards.
21-22: The truck stops at Burl’s Creek Park in Oro, ON, where the 2014 Canadian All Truck Nationals will be taking place June 21 and 22. There’s camping on site and big rig show n’ shine as well as a truck and tractor pull.
26-29: Back in Quebec, there’s the 33rd annual Truck Festivalin La Dore from June 26 to 29. There will be trucks galore, music, food, festivities, truck racing and a truck parade. Not to mention the traditional lottery, awards and prizes.
28-30: From June 28 to 30, the Clifford Truck Show will be back for the fifth time at Rotary Park in Clifford, ON, featuring a host of classic trucks as the show pays homage to our industry’s past. You can also camp overnight right on the show grounds, and with low admission fees, the Clifford Truck Show promises to be a unique classic experience.
July truck shows
5-6: Then there’s the Silver Willow Classic, which will take place July 5th and 6th in Mansfield, ON. Antique cars and trucks as well as today’s high-performance diesel pullers battle it out in the show competition for some limited-edition Collector Trophies. This year’s the second time for the judged show competition and there’s now camping for show goers.
5-6: Also that weekend, on the west coast, Pro Trucker Magazine is hosting the Big Rig Show n’ Shine in Chilliwack, BC. Participants can enjoy a great combination of live music, steak BBQ and best lights competition, dash plaques, door prizes, etc. And this year, for the first time, some of the rigs will be parked indoors – the show has 70,000 sq. ft. of indoor truck parking and booth space.
12-13: The Vancouver Island chapter of the American Truck Historical Society is putting on its annual summer truck show in Duncan at the BC Forest Discovery Centre on July 12 and 13. On display will be about 100 trucks such as Hayes and Pacific Logging trucks, Diamond T and International Harvester trucks, just to name a few.
20: On July 20,Joseph Haulage is hosting its third annual show and shine truck show in Ancaster, ON. There will be a BBQ, live music, games, prizes, trophies, swag and an all-around heck of a good trucking time. To RSVP, call 905 643 0637 ext. 3245.
25-27: One of the summer highlights on the show schedule is the Fergus Truck Show at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex, located on 550 Belsyde Avenue in Fergus, ON. Taking place from July 25 to 27, it features a long list of events over the weekend including a demolition derby, truck pull and many live bands to keep the energy up and the party going until the wee hours. Mark your calendars, this one’s going to be epic.
31: the following weekend is Quebec’s big show, the Rodéo du Camion. Starting July 31 and running until August 3rd, live bands will be the evening follow-up to each day of truck racing, barbeque and family fun. The show takes place in Notre-Dame-du-Nord, QC.
August truck shows
15-17: Then in August, from the 15th to the 17th, get ready for the challenge! The 255 Challenge, that is, an event held in Baie-du-Febvre, QC, that promises to be a weekend full of adrenaline and activities! The main attractions, of course, are the racing trucks and the show n’ shine, but there will also be antique cars, pickups, motorcycles, entertainment and more.
16-17: AnotherBig Rig Weekend is happening in Red Deer, AB on August 16-17. Alberta’s finest will compete in the show n’ shine and best lights competitions. There will be prizes, live music, a BBQ and much more.
30-31: You’ll also not want to miss the Big Rig Drag Racing competition held on August 30-31st 2014 as part of the Labor Day festivities in St. Joseph de Beauce, QC. Truckers from all over Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and the U.S. battle it out in the truck pulling and acceleration competition all in the name of charity!
September truck shows
Wrap up a great summer at the 2014 Cocagne Truck Show, scheduled for Saturday, September 6th at the Marina Grounds in Cocagne, NB. This working truck show n’ shine is now in its third year and features live music, BBQ, light show and an all-round good time!
With truck shows featuring all kinds of rigs in all kinds of locations this summer, there’s something for everyone this summer, so grab your keys, your polishing wax, and your appetite for entertainment and let the good times roll.
And if you know of another truck show here in Canada, please give us a shout!