Truck showcase for cause

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They cover hundreds of kilometres every year, keeping New Zealand moving, but many of the nation’s trucks will be taking a short break in Ashburton next month – and all for charity.
Trucks from throughout the country will be parked up at the Ashburton Showgrounds on Saturday, September 3 to raise funds for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.
The idea for an Ashburton Truck Show came when Rick Harkness saw the help and support his family received from the charity when his father had leukaemia. His father Andy, died in April, but Rick wanted to repay that help in some way.
He approached his neighbour, Steve Keene, whose mother died from leukaemia five years ago.
They were joined by four more mates – Todd Smyth, Robbie Shefford, Darren Rose and Jarrod Ross – and the truck show was under way.
The idea of a truck show for charity was not new. Brent and Rachel Wilson, John Arthur and Hayden Reed started the Ashburton Truck Show back in 2005, along with a few friends and some loyal sponsors. It continued for another two years, raising about $12,000 for Child Cancer.
Now, the small group of men want to build on that base, trying to raise as much as they can for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.
The response from drivers and their employers has been tremendous. It has been so good that entries have had to be limited to 130 trucks.
Everything from the workhorses of yesterday, to the most modern rig just off the production line, will be on show.
There will be two racing trucks, a100 tonne crane truck and spreader trucks.
There will even be a small truck giving children rides around the grounds.
No matter how many kilometres they have travelled the vehicles will all be sparkling and shining as their drivers try to take out the top in prize in the category. Ten categories of trucks will be judged at the show between 10am and 2pm.
These will include the best classic truck for pre 1990 vehicles, trucks from 1990 onwards broken up to mileage classes, the best fleet and a people’s choice judged by the general public.
There is aprize for the vehicle which has come the greatest distance and the Harkness family will award a trophy in memory of Andy.
The prizes will be presented at a function for exhibitors and the industry on Saturday evening. Guest speaker at this will be Phil Kingsley Jones, a manager of sportsmen and entertainers and a comedian. There will also be a charity auction, adding funds to the coffers.
Television presenter Bill Hohepa will be on site during the day filming for the Low Gear television series.
A bouncy castle will help to keep the children entertained and a variety of food stalls will keep the public fed.
The Life Education truck will be there, along with mascot Harold the giraffe.
There will also be a truck pulling competition.
While the show will give the public the chance to get up close to some huge rigs, the purpose of the day is fundraising.
Gate fees – $10 for families, $5 for adults, $2 for children under 15, while children under five are free – will go to the cause, along with the $20 fee exhibitors have paid to put their vehicles on show. There will also be a gold coin entry fee for some competitions during the day, the charity auction at night, and the donation buckets available for anyone to add their extra cash.
Entry to the Ashburton Truck Show will be through the showground gates at either the Smithfield Road or Brucefield Avenue entrances.
Gates will not open to the public until 9am to allow time for the big rigs to get into place. The show will close at 4pm.
While this year’s truck show is still to take place, thoughts have turned to running asimilar event next year and then every second year to tie in with another truck show in Christchurch.
In the meantime, the emphasis is on making this year’s event a success.
Í Organisers of the Ashburton Truck Show would like to thank all of the sponsors who have advertised in this feature and also the following: Temuka Transport, Mt Hutt Helicopters, Hinds Contracting and Transport, MacKenzie Supply Services and Stronechrubie.