Big rigs rule Re­serve roost

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

A mass of mon­ster trucks mush­roomed across Palmer­ston North’s Rail­way Land Re­serve on Sun­day in aid of the Child Can­cer Foun­da­tion.

Held ev­ery two years, the Pro­fes­sion­als Big Rigs Day has Manawatu¯ truck­ies turn up in droves to take ea­ger fam­i­lies on $2 rides around the cen­tral city, with the money go­ing to the non­govern­ment funded char­ity.

In­volv­ing 105 vol­un­teer driv­ers and their highly pol­ished rigs, the day in­cor­po­rated static truck, De­fence Force and cy­cle safety dis­plays, Lions Club food stalls and quick­fire raf­fles, an auc­tion, and the ap­pear­ance of a Royal New Zealand Air Force he­li­copter.

The NH90 mil­i­tary chop­per held par­tic­u­lar ap­peal, ac­cord­ing to or­gan­iser Greg Wenman.

‘‘That was a real crowd­pleaser. Peo­ple never nor­mally get to see a he­li­copter land­ing and tak­ing off close-up like that.’’

Wenman said there had been a steady stream of fam­i­lies queu­ing for the trucks through­out the six­hour event.

‘‘This year Scafit, the scaf­fold­ing peo­ple, de­signed ramps to help peo­ple up onto the trucks. In the past we’ve used stacks of pal­lets, so that was some­thing new.’’

Due to new gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions, the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee had to put a huge ef­fort into health, safety and traf­fic man­age­ment plans.

‘‘We’re hop­ing that, un­less the reg­u­la­tions change, we can use that as a tem­plate for fu­ture Big Rig events.’’

He said they were also in the process of set­ting up a char­i­ta­ble trust to en­sure funds would con­tinue to be ad­min­is­tered lo­cally.

While the pro­vi­sional to­tal of around $40,000 was down on the al­most $50,000 raised in 2016, Wenman said two years ago the auc­tion had been do­nated sev­eral sought-af­ter items, which boosted the sum.

‘‘We won’t know the grand to­tal for a cou­ple of weeks yet, but ev­ery­one did such a great job.’’

Tracey Torok, mother of Child Can­cer Foun­da­tion am­bas­sador Ad­die Torok, 7, said her daugh­ter en­joyed honk­ing the horn as she trav­elled with her dad, Rob, in one of the rigs as part of the con­voy.

‘‘We had im­mense fun, and the weather was so good, too.

‘‘The joy on the faces of the kids - es­pe­cially those go­ing through treat­ment - that’s ex­actly what it’s all about,’’ Torok said.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/STUFF

Jack Bod­ley, 5, in front of Cen­tral House Movers’ 2017 Ken­worth T 409SAR.

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