The 7th annual World's Largest Truck Convoy took place last weekend in Winnipeg for Special Olympics.
Drivers from Penner International, Steve's Livestock and Flying Eagle Transport could be seen in the 190 semi-truck line-up. The semi-trucks lined up at the Oak Bluff Recreation Centre and drove around the Winnipeg Perimeter which took about 2 and a half hours and averaged 40 km/h.
Flying Eagle Transport driver and Co-Chair of the Convoy Elmer Hanson says the total amount raised was $59,000. The lead truck for the convoy was Henri Picton, he raised the most amount of money at $8000. Hanson's truck was chosen by the Special Olympic athletes as the one they liked the most.
Although the event has been running for seven years, Hanson has been the co-chair for the last five years. He says there were many onlookers lined up on the side of the road with signs and banners thanking the truckers. He adds he got a message from another driver who has only participated a few times, the message said, 'I drove the entire Perimeter with a tear in my eye.'
“As a truck driver, it's great because you get a lot of the people that are out on the side of the road and there's banners thanking truckers and everything,” says Hanson. “You actually feel what you do is appreciated. And then to have the athletes there as well. Actually I have a girl whose a Special Olympics athlete as well. The money that's raised allows them to do what they love to be able to do.”
He notes during the Nationals in Vancouver earlier this year, his daughter was able to individually bring home a bronze in 5-pin bowling and the Manitoba Team also got a bronze.
Hanson explains, it helps all the athletes because a lot of these people wouldn't be able to afford or have the resources in order to be able to compete. He says it allows them to do what they love and it's a great opportunity for truck drivers to give back to the community and help out a good deserving cause.
Steve's Livestock driver Brad Quennelle says it was his second time participating in the convoy.
“The greatest thing is the reaction of all the Special Olympic athletes,” Quennelle explains. “How excited they get and how they get into it and want to be a part of being in the truck. It's a big thank you, all they kept saying was thank you to us. They're amazing.”
Quennelle notes it was a proud moment and talking to other drivers, they were proud to be apart of the convoy and be able to help make these individuals dreams come true.
September 7-13 this year is also National Trucking Week.