Tow Show season will soon be in full swing.  The first show of the season is the Florida Tow Show in Orlando, April 11-14.  Going to the shows reminds of the small regional shows we’ve had the Pacific Northwest going back decades.  The Washington and Oregon Tow Truck Associations have, on occasion, combined forces to put together a show, and one year it was in Portland, where I was working at the time, so we all got fired up to beautify our trucks.  We weren't entering all of them in a show-and-shine competition, but we all planned on visiting the show, and we wanted them to look good.  So I spent a couple of days scrubbing and polishing.  Some of the guys were using spray paint to touch up the wheellifts, booms, and wrecker beds, but the paint wasn't an exact match, so I got some touch-up paint and did it all by hand.  I was at the lot till about 10 pm the Friday night before the show, in the garage.  The last thing I did was get everything off the bed and touch up the bed and all of the equipment brackets.  I left all of the equipment on the garage floor so the paint could dry, and I went out for a few beers with friends.

Well, a few beers ended up multiplying, somehow, and when 9 am rolled around, I wasn't feeling too good, so I spent the day recuperating and never made it out to the show.  Oh well.  At least the truck was going to look good for awhile.

Our Saturday driver got very busy that morning, and he was towing in one police call when another came in before he made it to the impound lot.  When there were extra trucks available, we often would park the truck with the car on the hook, jump in another truck, and complete the call holding before unhooking the first car.  All of the extra trucks were at the show, however.  Then he peaked into the garage and saw my truck--bingo!  He hopped in the truck and motored downtown to the second call.

When he arrived, well within the 20-minute response-time requirement, smiling and waving to the police officer, he turned around to back up to the vehicle, and... the back of the truck was empty.  No dollies, no tow lights, no jack, no wheellift straps.  It was very clean and shiny, though.  He did the only thing he could think of.  He acted like nothing was wrong, picked up the car, and drove very carefully back to the impound lot.

He even parked the truck back in the garage for me.  He did try to harangue me on Monday, though.  How could I leave the truck backed into the garage, so that an unsuspecting driver would never figure out all of the equipment was on the ground?  Why didn’t I wait for the paint to dry, or at least leave a note in a conspicuous place?  It was a conspiracy!

My response: "Do your pre-trip inspection."

Have a safe and profitable week.

Nick Kemper

Paul S
7/22/2014 03:38:15 pm

Do you recall the first Oregon Tow Show? It was called Oregon Tow Truck Rodeo. It was held at Trolley Park off Hwy 6 in Washington Co. I'm sure it was before your time, but I bet you will recognize some names who were responsible for starting this industry on a path of professionalism. 1st The late great Gerry "The Bull" Bullock I know for a fact that no other man contributed more to the tow industry in the NW or nationally for that matter. I worked for Jerry for a few years before he sold out to Gary Coe I learned more from him then anyone I have worked for. ( and I worked for most all towers in Portland) Marty Openlander owner of Hillsboro Towing Was also part of the new tow industry. He and Jerry spent many hours on the road visiting tow co. all over the state and starting the OTTA At that first show towers like Gerlock, Speeds, Leonards, Newhouse, Handy Andys, S.O.S. and many more, all came together and laughed shared stories, drank beer, competed against one another. After that rodeo towers came together and started to change the tow industry into what we have today.


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