September is one of my favourite months of the year. The weather is cool, clean and fresh, the leaves start to turn colours and provide us with amazing scenery. Baseball Playoffs are just around the corner, and the hockey season is just beginning, and for a few days, even Maple Leaf fans like me can be optimistic as news out of camps is always positive, and the reality of another losing season has not yet set in!!! Another reason September is one of the months I look forward to is there are some truly amazing events in the month that showcase the best our industry has to offer, and at the same time shows the charitable side of trucking and the Industry as a whole.
On the charitable side, September is the month that 6 different Truck Convoy’s for Special Olympics occur all across this great land. If this is an event you have never been to, try to make it out to one of the events in your region next year. The camaraderie among the truck drivers, fleet owners, suppliers to the Industry, Trucking Associations, and generally all sectors of the industry is on display and at its best! Everyone volunteering, attending and donating to this great cause puts any personal agenda’s aside and are selflessly giving of their time and support to ensure the experience for the athletes is the best it can be. The smiles on the faces of the athletes is reward enough for the drivers and rest of the volunteers, and it shows. The World’s Largest Convoy for Special Olympics takes place in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and 2 locations in Ontario. The Paris, Ontario Convoy took place on September 16th and 17th this year, and was their 12th annual event. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a portion of the festivities this year, and look forward to being able to participate more next year. The Paris Convoy alone had 74 Trucks and raised over $52,000.00 this year, and has raised over $530,000.00 since 2005. Several Fleets were represented and included Private and For Hire Companies and drivers. This was a truly heartwarming event, and if you have not attended before, I encourage you to get involved next year, you won’t be disappointed!
Another event in September that showcases the most talented and Professional Drivers of the Industry occurred on the weekend
of September 16th to the 18th in Brantford, Ontario. The National Truck Driving Championships are a yearly event that brings together drivers from all over the country. To even reach the Nationals the drivers must have already competed at regional and Provincial Championships and placed in the top of their field to advance. Drivers compete in 5 different categories, which are Straight Truck, Single-Single, Single-Tandem, Tandem-Tandem and B-Train. The drivers must complete a written test on Trucking Safety and Knowledge, complete a pre-trip Inspection where they identify defects, and then finally the driving course. Drivers must drive through obstacle courses that have been set up and then back into a simulated loading dock. Each cone knocked over or scraped deducts points from the drivers score. Private Fleets were well represented at the completion, with the Grand Champion being Bryon Winfield of Home Hardware, and the rookie of the year being Robert Smith of Tim Hortons. A full list of the winners can be found below. Events such as these should help to dispel the myths and image problems that we have in this industry. The Convoy is just one of several examples of charitable events that the Trucking Industry gets involved in every year. The Truck Driving Championships display the true skill and professionalism that today’s Professional Divers have. Unfortunately, no one outside of the industry knows about these events. We need to find a way to ensure the general public is more aware of these types of events, and that they are encouraged to participate. If we can get the general population to come out and attend these events, and interact with our industry, perhaps this would be the first step of many to improve our image and start to get more people interested in joining the profession!
1st place — Stewart Jutzi of Erb Transport — Ontario
2nd place — Danny Maltais of L. Simard Transport — Quebec
3rd place– Dean Grant of Agrifoods International — B.C.
1st place — Evan Hirst of Canadian Freightways — B.C.
2nd place — Clary Ward of XPO Logistics — Ontario
3rd place — Claude Guerin of Bourassa Transport — Quebec
1st place — Bryon Winfield of Home Hardware — Ontario
2nd place — Steve MacPhee of Day & Ross Transportation — Atlantic
3rd place — Greg Muzychka of Canadian Freightways — Manitoba
1st place — Shawn Matheson of Home Hardware — Ontario
2nd place — Mario Desjardins of L. Simard Transport — Quebec
3rd place — Denis Roberts of TST Overland Express — Manitoba
1st place — Robert Smith of Tim Hortons — Alberta
2nd place — Rob Stevens of Home Hardware — Atlantic
3rd place — Murray Manuliak of Bison Transport — Manitoba
Rookie of the Year
Robert Smith of Tim Hortons — Alberta
Bryon Winfield of Home Hardware — Ontario
About the Author
“Mike has 25 years’ of wide ranging experience in the trucking industry, performing such duties as a livestock and grain hauler for 3 years, followed by 5 years of long haul across North America hauling refrigerated and general freight. Mike was also a full time certified driver trainer for 2 years, and then transitioned into Safety and Compliance for 2 years, and then spent over 12 years as a Fleet manager for a Private Fleet. Mike is now the President of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, Canada’s only National Association that represents the views and interest of today’s Private Fleets.” Mike can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org