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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Clifford came back!

After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Great Lakes Truck Club got approval just six weeks ago to stage their Antique & Classic Truck Show in Clifford, Ont. this past Friday and Saturday, August 27-28. Club leaders Chris Hall and Ron Johnston and the rest of the crew scrambled to get it together. And they succeeded beyond all expectations.

The last unofficial count, via Johnston, put the number of participating trucks at 320. That’s easily a new record for the show that was first launched in 2010.

(Photo: Rolf Lockwood)

With so little lead time, Chris Hall said much of the work was just getting on the phones calling people who they knew had trucks to show off, and asking for tips about others who might be interested. Remarkably, they attracted several trucks that hadn’t been shown before. And while we haven’t seen paying-spectator numbers yet, the crowds seemed much bigger than in years past.

While it’s mostly a fairly local show with west-central Ontario being the focus, it always attracts others from further afield. Jean-Guy Boulanger, for instance, brought his ‘007’ Kenworth down from northern Ontario. John Darra bobtailed his beautiful W900L KW all the way from Huntington, Quebec. And the Earl Paddock crew from Stoney Creek brought several trucks along, including an excellent 1966 Hayes Clipper.

The only downside of the affair was the powerful thunderstorm that soaked the event’s finale, the Saturday night barbecue dinner. Chris Hall said he had a sleepless night prior to the show’s opening, fearing that the forecast of rain would ruin things. At least it held off until after the show itself.

What we really saw there in Clifford was a lot of pent-up demand finally being satisfied. Trucking people love to gather, nowhere more so than an outdoor truck show. After so many months without being able to get together, there was real joy in the air. And a lot of smiles.

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