Pro-Trucker Driver's Choice - July August 2023 ( Find Your Trucking Jobs)

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Has anything changed?

In 1999, when Pro-Trucker Magazine was first published, truckers’ main concerns were driver pay, shortage of drivers, poor driver training, employee/ independent contractor classification, hours of service, safe, adequate rest stops, and adequate parking in industrial areas.

Flash forward to 2023, and today, truckers’ main concerns are driver pay, shortage of drivers, poor driver training, employee/independent contractor classification, hours of service, safe, adequate rest stops, and adequate parking in industrial areas.

What has changed? Traffic and congestion have increased exponentially, leading to an increase in the number of traffic accidents and deaths. Our roads and bridges have deteriorated substantially, and many of the rest stops that were once open to trucks are now for cars only. Road closures due to accidents unexplainably take twice as long to clear today. And on top of that, fuel costs have doubled, and wages have not improved. So yes, things have changed – they have gotten worse.

Fly-by-night companies that undercut rates on the backs of inexperienced drivers bring rates down for everyone. Unreasonable delivery times, low payby-load and pay-by-the-mile rates encourage new drivers to take chances to make ends meet. These same companies often put new drivers on the road long before they should be cut loose. There are many stories of shippers not renewing contracts and going to some of these companies only to come back later when they realize how the quality of service and inexperience reflects on them as a supplier.

What can be done? Most European countries have gone to pay by the hour. There are several advantages:

1. Hourly pay ensures that truck drivers are fairly compensated for their time by considering the hours worked, including time spent waiting at loading docks, traffic congestion, and other delays beyond the driver’s control.

2. Improved safety: Truck drivers are less likely to speed or drive recklessly to increase their pay when they are paid by the hour. With a set hourly rate, drivers have less pressure to work excessively long hours to earn more money.

3. Retention and recruitment: Hourly pay provides stability and a predictable income. It would make the trucking profession more attractive to potential drivers and increase retention rates, which is particularly important in addressing the driver shortage issue.

4. By paying truck drivers by the hour, there is an incentive for companies to ensure better working conditions, such as reduced waiting times at loading docks and improved scheduling practices.

5. Level the playing field. Companies can still undercut, but it comes off their bottom line, not the driver’s.


John White:


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Bill Weatherstone • Colin Black • Dave Madill • Ed Murdoch • Glen Mallard • Myrna Chartrand • Scott Casey • John Maywood • Dave Elniski • Frank Milne


Ben Proudley • Alicia Cornish David Benjatschek



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Very well-known Photographer David Benjatschek, who owns, and produces the best trucking calendar in Canada, suggested featuring Tim Mandel as our July/August Rig of the Month driver. Tim is a great family man who loves anything with tires and a steering wheel.

My name is Tim Mandel. I was born a leap-year baby in 1968 and raised near Fox Valley, SK, in a large family with five brothers and a sister. I came from a farming background where I was taught that if you want something, you work for it. We kids all had jobs growing up, and back then, we loved running around after school and getting into trouble with Mom!

I struck out on my own at eighteen, working various farm jobs. I learned that I loved working on and tinkering with all kinds of vehicles. I settled at Chaplin, SK, where I met Alison, who I eventually married. My first job there was on a mixed farm, where I did all sorts of things. They had both cattle and grain, so I helped with haying, seeding and harvesting crops. There was also winter work,

like feeding cattle and repairing and maintaining the machinery.

Another similar job followed. The only difference was the colour of the tractors and cows! I went from Massey Ferguson equipment and Hereford cows to John Deere and Black Angus. Getting to know the farm business from a different perspective was good. 10 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

I decided in 1995 to go take the course at Yorkton and get my Class 1 license after a few friends had gone there. Back then, it was only a week long. But it was 1996 when I got my first trucking job. The first truck I drove was a 1991 Freightliner with a 425 Cat and 13-speed transmission. I worked there until that company shut down in the early 2000s.

Over the next few years, I drove a newer Freightliner with a 475 Detroit and a Western Star with a 500 Detroit. The owner of these trucks had a knack for bodywork, and he liked to buy and fix trucks for his guys to use. During slow times in the grain business with that job, we would hook on to van trailers and haul Raider truck caps from Moose Jaw, SK, to either Seattle or Spokane in Washington state. Those lanes of traffic were something else for us small-town Saskatchewan boys! One time we got so turned around that we had to pull over and call the store to have them come to find us!

We also hauled a lot of potatoes down into Oregon and Idaho when the potato industry started up near Riverhurst, SK. Those live bottom trailers had a conveyor for unloading. They were usually sealed and temperature controlled as it was late winter and still cold. One time at an inspection, the officer wanted to see what the potatoes looked like, so we had to run the conveyor back to get a few to fall out. If we had opened the top of the trailer, the potatoes would have frozen.

I had a couple of short-term jobs after that one. First, driving with another local company while one of their drivers was on leave and then I wound up driving a nearly new black Kenworth for a guy who had his truck leased to Bickner Trucking Ltd in Vanguard, SK. I drove that for

a few months until he sold the truck, but I didn’t forget about Bickners.

My next gig was as a technician at Golden West Trailer in Moose Jaw, SK. I didn’t mind the work and liked the people I worked with, but the seeds of trucking grew, and I wanted to get back on the road. Plus, I wasn’t fond of being on my feet all day - I’d never done that before.

As I mentioned, I never forgot about Bickner Trucking, so I leased on with them when I finally decided to buy my own equipment in 2004. Bickner Trucking is a family-run company that has been supportive since day one. Operating since 1988, they understand the business and the family side, and I am proud to have been there as they’ve built their company into what they are today.

Doepker grain superB trailers and have been going strong since then. I bought my first brand-new truck in 2006, switching to Peterbilt. It was an orange 379 with an ISX Cummins 565. I’ve had two 389’s since. The first was a flat top 2014, also orange, with the ISX Cummins 500. I started getting trailers to match, making for an eye-catching set up.

I usually upgrade every few years, but in January 2020, I was forced to upgrade a little earlier than planned. Driving on icy roads in freezing rain, I was involved in a crash that made me question whether to continue driving. I slid out of control and collided with a pickup truck. My truck was a total loss. As hard as it was to believe it happened, a friend gave me some good advice. He said, “This can happen to any one of us at

My first truck was a teal-green 2000 Kenworth W900L. It had Signature 500 Cummins and 18 speeds. I paired it with a set of

any time. It doesn’t matter if you are a good or the best driver; sometimes accidents happen, and we need to deal with them and the aftermath. Talk to 11 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

your friends and keep yourself from spiralling into blaming yourself.”

To show how great Bickners are, they went to the scene while I was still at the hospital. They cleaned up my things and dealt with everything for me until I was able to get home later that day. That gesture has always stuck with me. Although my injuries were not too serious, it took a few weeks to return to my A-game.

My trailers were fairly new when the crash happened, so they were repaired, and I purchased my current truck, a 2020 Peterbilt 389 in North Sea grey with black stripes. It was built as a project truck by Peterbilt Manitoba in Winnipeg. I have slowly customized it with a few changes. I put on custom fenders, exhaust pipes, bumper, grill, and headlights. This truck has an X15 Cummins 565 and 18-speed transmission. The strong support of my family and Bickners made it happen!

There is a story to how I ended up with unit number 626 for this truck. When our kids were young, the movie Lilo and Stitch came out. Our kids absolutely fell in love with that show and watched it and the sequels repeatedly, including when they rode with me in the semi. I’m sure they completely wore the old VHS tapes out. In those movies, Stitch is an alien, also known as science experiment 626, that gets away from the government and is hit by a semi! He is adopted by a little girl who thinks he is just a weird little dog. He raises havoc but entertains his little family. The theme of those movies is Ohana, which means family, and that means nobody gets left behind or forgotten. We took this on as a motto for our family as well. When I had the accident, Alison and the kids were there for me just like they

always are, and when I got a new truck, the kids suggested 626 as a unit number to signify our “Ohana.” I even added a little Stitch decal beside the unit number on the truck and have been surprised over the years by how many people understand the connection!

Over the years, I have hauled whatever goes in my trailers, from grains and fertilizers to feed and seed. I’ve travelled to the western provinces and a few states. As much as I love the occasional long and winding mountain trip, I always love coming home to my family on the weekends.

I married Alison in 2000, and we were blessed with a son and a daughter. Both kids have helped with the business over the years, starting with keeping Dad company while driving to today. I used to put a car seat on the passenger side, and it was sure fun having a toddler as a co-pilot back then. Our son, Devin, has had his Class 1 since shortly after he turned eighteen and drives a truck as well. He’s been a spare driver for me a few times and helps with repairs when he can. Our daughter, Danae, has helped with repairs and washes and done parts runs while working full-time in Agricultural manufacturing. Alison helps with bookkeeping, repairs, and parts. Many a weekend has been spent polishing chrome together!

Outside of trucking, I love old Chevy and GM vehicles and have several that I can be found working on at any time. In fact, I just recently picked up another old square-body truck, a Chevy this time. Nothing like big block Chev motors to keep me feeling young. I still have one of my first cars, a 1971 Chevelle, and I am slowly getting it back in shape after it sat for decades.

I also have a collection of scale-model trucks, cars and farm equipment. Probably hundreds altogether, some put away as the display cases keep filling up. I’d say some of my favourites are a 1/16 scale 1150 Versatile tractor that was my brother’s, a 1/32 Big Bud and a Steiger tractor and a couple of 1/64 Peterbilt trucks. The collection didn’t stop with toys. I rescued two old cabover trucks from a farmer for who I’d hauled grain. They are a 1976 Kenworth and a 1976 Freightliner; he just wanted them gone from his yard. My goal is to get them running again one of these days.

I also was able to buy a couple of older White tractors when my brother wasn’t needing them anymore. One is working, and the other needs a little work. As you can tell by now, I love all things mechanical. Working on these old things is one of my favourite past times.

We also enjoy snowmobiling in the winter, with trips to northern Saskatchewan this past winter.

We just got a new skidoo this year to add to our others after twenty years. We used to ride a lot, but raising kids and dealing with life put it on the back burner for a few years. It felt good to get back to it after so long.

I have also had some health challenges. After doctoring through 2017, a diagnosis helped me get things straightened out, and things look good for many more years of driving! This life has given me everything I have. I love my career and can’t believe I can make a living driving cool trucks and seeing the world. It may not be for everyone, but it’s what I love. 12 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine
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Letters to the Editor

Dear John

I don’t normally respond to magazine editorials, but I have to say your editorial on being Canadian and proud of it really disappointed me. I’m truly glad you feel that way but I think every Canadian has the right to call the government any words that they chose to whether you get your back up or not. When I see Mr. Trudeau proclaiming on national television his admiration for the Chinese communist party which gave us the gift of Covid disrupting our lives and our economy the words communist and tyranny does enter my mind. When I hear Mr. Trudeau stating how French people are so much better than the rest of Canadians, tyranny and communism does come to mind. When I see the changing of our beloved National Anthem, the internet censorship, our freedom of speech in jeopardy, our means of defending ourselves via confiscation of firearms from law - abiding citizens the words communism and tyranny come to mind. When I see bank accounts being frozen, use of the emergency act on law- abiding peaceful protestors (I didn’t know that playing street hockey and giving out hotdogs in front of the parliament buildings was an act of war). When I hear Mr. Trudeau calling the so called “fringe minority” Nazis, misogynists, terrorists, tax cheats, white supremacists, wife beaters, because they don’t agree with his personal views I think of the words communism and tyranny.

Tell me John, are we better off now after seven years of this government? I think not!! When I hear a murderous, dictator thug like the president of Venezuela criticizing our country’s democracy and freedoms something is very wrong here. Again the words tyranny and Communism enters my thoughts. When I see more and more homeless people wandering the streets every day, senior citizens that should be enjoying the last years of life cleaning toilets at Mcdonalds because they don’t have enough of a pension to survive on, I think communism and tyranny. Tell me John, if you lost your job , your home , your bank account , had to live in a makeshift cardboard dwelling on the side of the freeway with your only belongings in a Safeway food cart because your government looks after other countries instead of its own what words would you use to describe your government? Not praise I’m sure!

Of course I know that our country hasn’t reached the stages of communist dictatorship but I have the feeling that it’s leaning towards that outcome every day. Starve the people, take away the means to defend yourself, take away our freedom of speech, take away our jobs, make us wholly dependent on the government to survive, (Stalin would be proud) and you have communism and tyranny at its finest.

The bottom line John is keep your magazine devoted to the trucking industry and not your personal views on what words people should use to describe our country and government. So far we still have that right, for how long? Who knows?

And by the way I am 66 yrs old and have been a trucker o/o for 48 yrs.

Cheers, Mike King

Editor’s note:

Thank you, Mike, for your email about my May/June editorial. I am sorry/not sorry that my personal opinion disappoints you. The fact that you have the personal freedom to express how you feel about the government, and the fact that through freedom of the press, I can print it, only goes to prove my point. I’m sure you know that you could not do that in a Communist country or under a Dictator or Tyrant. I, too, believe that every Canadian has the right to call the government any words they choose. That is called freedom of speech, and we have that. My saying that I find people who use overly sensationalistic words and exaggerated talking points offensive is also called freedom of speech. I suggest you re-read the editorial focussing on some of the things our government does that I do not agree with, like how our veterans and seniors are treated, our surgery wait times, and politicians’ pensions, to name a few. Also take note of the fact that I said (and you should look this up) Canada is consistently in the top 10 of countries in the world for personal freedom. That does not leave a person much of a choice if they were to decide they would be better off in another country with more “freedom.” 14 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine
Pro-Trucker Driver’sChoiceMagazine

Your comment that I should, “keep your magazine devoted to the trucking industry and not your personal views on what words people should use to describe our country” is nothing more than an attempt at censoring someone you do not agree with, and this brings to my mind communism and tyranny.

Good Morning John,

This is Bob Demers from Edmonton. You featured me

in Pro Trucker a few years back as “Santa”. I want to compliment you on such an excellent Editorial letter in the May/June Pro Trucker. Thank you. You can tell it’s not your first day at the rodeo!!!! You’re a good man!

Editor’s note: Good to hear from another Proud Canadian Bob. Keep up all the good work you do in the community.



Marty wakes up at home with a huge hangover. He forces himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins and a glass of water on the side table. He sits down and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed. Marty looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotless, clean. So is the rest of the house. He takes the aspirins and notices a note on the table “Honey, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to go shopping. Love You!”

So he goes to the kitchen and sure enough there is a hot breakfast and the morning newspaper. His son is also at the table, eating. Marty asks, “Son, what happened last night?”

His son says, “Well, you came home after 3 AM, drunk and delirious. Broke some furniture, puked in the hallway, and gave yourself a black eye when you stumbled into the door.”

Confused, Marty asks, “So, why is everything in order and so clean, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?”

His son replies, “Oh, that! Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your pants off, you said, “Lady, leave me alone, I’m married!” 15 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine
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Many say the industry’s most highly discussed hot topics are safety, e-logs and driver shortages. I disagree. There is one subject that will always trump the rest, and that is pay. Let’s face it while we may enjoy trucking, we don’t do this for our well-being and definitely don’t want to do it for free!

Our industry has no shortage of controversial topics regarding the almighty dollar. There’s the issue of how drivers are compensated; mileage pay, percentage, hourly or possibly even salary. The amounts paid, the benefits or lack thereof, not to mention the Driver Inc. fiasco. If you’re an owner-operator like me or a small fleet owner, it’s rates, brokerage fees, and pay schedule. To me, this last one doesn’t get enough attention.

In most industries, you get paid at the point of sale or at least net 30. I only know this from a brief stint in the towing industry and talking with incredulous friends from other walks of life. I admit it seemed like common practice to me to have invoices paid in the 60-90 day range, and it never hit home how wrong this is until helping my son get his hot shot business running. I told him to be prepared for not getting paid in a timely fashion, but then his first few jobs were paid by Visa or e-transfer.

Thirty days later, it was a different

story, and he was starting to be starved for cash flow. It made me go back and look at my own situation. As an owner-operator, I’ve worked for a few companies as a lease op and done work for myself directly for customers as well as working for brokers. Where I am currently is about the best I’ve had. I’m paid on the 15th of every month for ALL the work I did the previous month. I’ve also been on the other end of the spectrum, where I wasn’t paid until the company I was leased to was paid for the invoice. It’s understandable why this is their practice. They lack cash flow because they are not paid on time. As the old saying goes, sh*t runs downhill!

I’m guilty of it as well. There were times I couldn’t pay my drivers on time because I wasn’t receiving my money on time. In reflection, this is on me. The payment terms should be clearly laid out when we accept a job or contract. If the terms aren’t met, we should cease to do work for the customer until they fulfill their end of the bargain.

If you’re a company owner and you need monthly cash flow to operate, negotiate this with your customer. If the customer says they’re net 90 and you can’t afford to get to 90 days, you best have a big overdraft or don’t do the job. In the oil patch, I would always hear things like, it’s commonplace or accepted practice

to be 60, 90 or even 120 days before being paid. Herein lies the problem, we keep “accepting” this. I did a few times and never pressed the issue until I was in dire straits, or they had become both my biggest customer and biggest liability!

For me, these conversations about money are not easy and only become harder when you have completed the work months before and need the money yesterday. So get it out of the way up front. If the person on the other side of the conversation is set on a longer term, discuss a small discount for paying early. I once got a service company from 90 to 30 days net for 2 percent. Most often, what they’re after anyway is the tiny bit of interest on the money, and discounting it gives the appearance of making the same.

I suggest these strategies to you for the same reason I did to my son, to alleviate stress. Nothing is more stressful than not being able to pay your bills. It’s even worse when you know you should be able to because you have billed out 10s of thousands.


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Monkeys and Peanuts

An old saying says, “When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”

This article concerns a professional truck driver’s per-mile wage rate from 1964 to 2023 compared to the wage rate of a licensed truck mechanic. Drivers are paid by the mile, so to convert it to a perhour rate, I will assume the truck’s average speed will be 35 miles per hour, times the per-mile rate, which will result in a per-hour rate.

In 1964 when I was driving, the rate was 8.4 cents per mile. This would be the above-average rate, and some were around 9 cents. This was for driving a tandem truck with a 40or 45-foot trailer with a gross weight of 74,000 lbs. The trailers were limited to 8 feet wide. So 8.4 cents times 35 gives me an hourly rate of $2.94. A mechanic at that time was getting $2.00 to $2.15 per hour. The truck driver was getting about 30 % more than the mechanic. We were both professionals, and our wages reflected it.

In 1978, 4 years later, my mileage rate was 32 cents per mile (if I pulled a “B” train, I got an additional 4 cents). This was for driving a tandem truck with a 45 or 48-foot tandem trailer, 8.5 feet wide with a G.V.W. of 84,000 lbs. So 32 cents times 35 gives me an hourly rate of $12.20 per hour. A mechanic at the time would be earning $9.00 to $11.00 per hour. He’s getting a little closer to the truck driver wage.

Then in the late 1980s, the government deregulated the transport industry (this includes air transport

and taxis). As a result, a lot of people got into the act of getting customers and running their own trucking company. The easiest and quickest way to get operating and obtaining customers is to “cut the rates.” When I say “cut rates,” I include cutting their expenses by cutting back on maintenance to vehicles and wages to drivers.

Now let’s jump ahead to 2023. In talking to people, it seems the top wage rate is now 70 cents per mile. Some say “up to” 70 cents per mile. What does “up to” imply? Do I have to pull nine axles down the road to get the “up to” rate? Let’s assume it is for a tandem truck with a tandem trailer 48 or 53 feet and 8.5 feet wide with a G.V.W. of 39,500 KGS or (86,900 lbs.) so 70 cents times 35 gives me an hourly rate of $24.50 per hour. The hourly rate for the mechanic repairing trucks ranges from $35.00 to $45.00 per hour based on his qualifications. Let us take an average of $40.00 per hour. Now the mechanic is paid $15.00 more per hour than the truck driver!! Now the truck driver is earning $8.00 an hour over the minimum wage in B.C., which is $16.50 per hour.

Some companies pay 55 cents per mile, which comes to $19.25 per hour. That is a whopping $2.75 over the minimum wage. Maybe in the next five years, we can decrease the driver’s wage to the minimum wage. Flipping burgers is starting to look like a good job. The truck driver is responsible for $200,000 to $300,000 of equipment under his command plus the value of the freight – a big difference for $2.75!!

No wonder there is a shortage of drivers, and the calibre of drivers has gone down. It used to be that you would start working for a trucking company and work towards being a “line driver” and get paid by the miles because that is where the big bucks were. You were proud to be a “line driver,” and the other motorists on the road respected you – not anymore. You put effort into your job and had pride in being a truck driver.

How do we rectify the shortage and calibre of truck drivers? It’s so easy and simple – pay them $100.00 per hour, and you will have a lineup at your door, and you can pick the best of the best. In other words, paying a half-decent wage is the answer.

Read the first sentence of this article again.

P.S. We are now in the metric system – why are we paying drivers by the mile? Instead of 70 cents per mile, pay 43 cents per K.M. Grocery stores advertise products by the pound - $6.00, why not $13.00 per K.G. The old system looks better, but it doesn’t fool me.

P.P.S. The mechanic gets paid for 2 - 15 min. coffee breaks every 8 hours. Does the truck driver who gets paid by the mile get a paid coffee break? I never have. 22 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine
company owner 23 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine LETTERING & CO. SIGNS NORRIS 888 9209 604 #1•19272•94 Ave. Surrey, BC



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Six Cans for Buffalo Joe

So there I was unloaded in Trenton, Ontario, and there is almost nothing coming out of Trenton that hauls on a step-deck, but the office only said they would keep looking. I told them I would see what I could find, and they said, “Great, find a load that will take you somewhere that we can get you a load out of.”

Trenton has an Airbase, and I am ex-RCAF, so I did have a couple of people there that I knew, so I dug out my little black book and started checking. Sgt White and I had served together, so I gave him a call. Whitey was in charge of the engine bay there, and after getting caught up on things, I asked him if he knew of anything being shipped by freight. He thought there might be some engines and gave me the numbers to call. I found out six engines were sitting there that were supposed to go to Yellowknife to a Company called Buffalo Airways.

After several calls, I managed to get hold of the right man at Buffalo, and we made a deal. I quoted a

Got What It Takes…

reasonable price, and since it was much less than it would cost them to ship by air, I got the contract and headed down to the base. The engines were all at the Engine bay, so Whitey and I had a good chat, and he arranged a lift truck to lift the “canned” engines on my deck. There were 2 –R985s which I figured going up north were for Beaver aircraft, and 4 – R1830s which are DC3 engines.

Loading and tying down was easy, and I was soon off and rolling. It was the end of May, so the roads were great, the weather was perfect, and I had a light load. My old Bulldog was doing her thing until I lost an alternator just out of Edmonton. That was an easy roadside fix, and we pulled into Yellowknife about a day ahead of schedule and parked beside Buffalo’s hanger for the night.

You must realize this was years before the show Ice Pilots, and I had never heard of Buffalo Joe, but the next morning he was banging on my door and getting me to move to where

they wanted to unload. He sent several guys over to unload me but stayed to supervise and help. After unloading, I was invited for coffee and quizzed on my engine knowledge. When I told him I had served under the man that had signed out the engines as an Engine Mechanic and answered all his questions, he told me that if I got tired of trucking, he was always looking for a good mechanic.

It took me a couple of days, but I found a load out of there going to Vancouver and was away and running again. Looking back, I am almost sorry I hadn’t taken Joe up on his job. After all, I could have been the poor hapless mechanic that Joe rags on every other show, but then again, I did get to truck.

A trucker and his wife go on vacation to a fishing resort in northern Manitoba. The trucker likes to get up and go fishing at the crack of dawn while the wife likes to relax by reading.

One morning the husband returned after several hours of fishing and decided to take a nap.It’s a beautiful day and although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and continues to read her book.

Along came a game warden in his boat. He pulled up alongside the woman and said, “Good morning Ma’am. What are you doing?”

“Reading a book,” she replied, (thinking, “isn’t that obvious?”)

“You’re in a restricted fishing area,” he informs her.

“I’m sorry officer, but I’m not fishing, I’m reading my book.”

“Yes, but you have all the equipment. I’ll have to take you in and write you up.”

“If you do that, I’ll have to charge you with sexual assault,” says the woman.

“But I haven’t even touched you,” says the startled game warden.

“That’s true, but you have all the equipment.” 28 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine
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Trucks had little to no technology in the late ’60s and early ‘70s. Most companies were small (10 or 20 trucks). That was before most of them got bought up by companies that are now fleets of 5000 to 8000 trucks with terminals all over North America.

In the ‘60s, many small companies would recycle and build their trucks or rebuild what they had. One afternoon, I had lunch at the Husky House Restaurant in Lloydminster. I was walking around my truck when I heard the sound of gravel being walked on or driven on. The truck engine sounded like a modern-day built-in vacuum cleaner. I walked around my truck to see what was making this sound. The sign across the side of the trailer said, “Kenworth Truck Parts.” The driver stopped, and I, being timid and shy (that part might not be accurate), walked over to talk to the two drivers. They were both dressed in suits and ties. Back then, that was unusual. I asked what they were driving, and they said they would show me around.

The tractor was a strange-looking red Kenworth Cab Over, hauling about a 40-foot dry van. It turned out that

it was a test unit for Ford. (I later found out it was called “Big Red.”) The trailer was not unusual, but the tractor was out of this world at the time (about 1975 –1976). The engine was a turbine Jet engine made by Ford. There was no radiator, just a grille and a tubular-looking engine with three air cleaners on the back of the cab and two exhaust stacks large enough for Santa to climb down. They were delivering Kenworth parts to their stores while they ran a test on the power train for Ford. I was amazed, but anyone I talked to later about the truck did not believe me anyway. There are some of my friends in Edmonton who still, to this day, wonder if I have been eating bad yams.

Later in the fall of that year, I was down in Lethbridge and heading back to Saskatoon. I decided to take Highway 3 to Taber, #36 north to Hanna, and east on #7 to Saskatoon. That would save me from going back to Calgary. As I drove empty into no man’s land where the cattle could lose weight while grazing as the grass is so sparse, I saw a truck stopped on the shoulder. I slowed and stopped behind it. (We did that in those days) As I got out and walked toward the cab, I noticed the trailer and the Kenworth with the jet engine. It was even quieter

Glen “The Duck” was born in Saskatchewan. He has driven trucks for 50 years, mostly long hauling. He’s now retired, that is until another adventure comes along.

than it was in Lloyd. I asked the two guys in suits if they needed help. There were no cell phones, truck stops, or mobile repair trucks where we were. The driver said he was sure glad to see me. He said that the jet had just quit. I told him I hadn’t gone far in school and wasn’t familiar with jet engines but could turn around and take them back to Lethbridge. Their faces lit up right away. They locked the truck after putting their bags into my truck. We all climbed in and headed out. It was a good thing that there was no seat belt law yet.

The guys told me that the test was not going well. So far, they have had a problem with the Dodge Box, and the bearings kept flying apart because the jet engine ran too fast for the transmission. The Dodge Box was used to gear the engine RPM down. They said the engine sucked too much dirt into the air cleaners and generated too much heat. On the good side, they said it had good power, less vibration, and was quieter than a regular engine. I dropped them off in Lethbridge and I have never seen them or the truck since.

Editor’s note: Thank you Glen, I had never heard about Big Red before your article. For anyone who would like more information on Big Red, there are some very interesting articles on the internet, and even a video announcing the unit. 32 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine
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Daddy was a Trucker

Daddy was a trucker; he loved the gypsy life, Momma was a lady, but she was a trucker’s wife. Daddy, he would phone each night and we waited for his call, Then Momma would tuck us into bed and go back up the hall. No, Momma never cheated, she never even tried. But I often heard her cuss that truck, and many times she cried. She would sit there in her easy chair, and maybe watch a show, Worried about my daddy; then off to bed she’d go.

She’d sit there on her lonely bed with our old dog and cat,

Then Momma and the good Lord would have a little chat.

She’d tell him about Daddy on the road there, all alone, Like she was talking to an old friend, long distance on the phone. She’d ask him to protect him out there on the road, As he went along the highways, delivering his load.

When Daddy would come home, at night he’d tell us where he’d been, All the people he had met and the places he had seen.

He’d tell about the troubles that he’d had out on the road, He’d swear sometimes that the hand of God had helped him with his load.

Momma would just sit and nod, but I sometimes saw her smile, And she knew our Saviour Jesus Christ was with him every mile.

Yeah, Daddy was a trucker and Momma was a trucker’s wife, And she and Daddy built their life around their faith in Jesus Christ. 36 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine
Dave Madill
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Thank You!

My name is David Benjatschek, and unlike so many of the stories I tell, my personal story in transportation didn’t start until I was older. I was born in Port Colborne, Ontario, and my father, Wilhelm Benjatschek, worked 33 years in the steel industry for Algoma Steel. He registered three sick days in 33 years. His motto was: if you feel sick, then take an aspirin and go to work! When Algoma shut down in Port Colborne, we were transferred to Sault Ste Marie, where I completed high school. Growing up I probably couldn’t name a heavy truck OEM by name. That would change after university in a big way.

My transport story involves a company, a couple, a woman and the love of telling a story.

The Company I worked for 15 years for Shell Canada in customer service, sales and marketing roles. My last role was as Product Marketing Manager for Shell Rotella T in Canada. Almost all of my career there was spent serving you, Canada’s transportation sector. I made friendships that will last a lifetime and found out that for professional truck drivers: it is not just about what you do. It is who you are. I grew to really admire the commitment and bond to

life on the road that most transport professionals have. It is strong and unique, not common in many other industries.

The Couple

I still remember the day John and Donna White came off the 17thfloor elevator at Shell Centre. We were meeting to discuss Shell’s possible sponsorship of the ProTrucker Magazine Big Rig Weekends they hosted in Alberta & BC. What I remember about that meeting is the fact that while most sponsorship discussions focused on numbers, we spent a solid hour talking about 38 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

PEOPLE. They had a clear passion and heart to help provide community to the professional drivers and industry their magazine highlighted. Our subsequent sponsorship was a pivot point towards what I do today because it took me out of my office and had me meet the awesome people in the industry. I began to develop friendships I will have for the rest of my life.

The Woman

Two years after my first wife passed away, I met Donna. She was a beautiful woman who happened also to be a wedding photographer. Like any red-blooded Canadian male would do: when you meet a beautiful woman with a camera, you buy one yourself! My unofficial proposal to Donna was the purchase of a Nikon F-65 SLR camera at London Drugs. Having met a couple of years before I left Shell, it began to launch a now 20-year career in photography that started with helping Donna with weddings & family shoots and grew to include commercial photography and, for the past 17 years, The Wowtrucks Calendar: Canada’s Big Rig Calendar.

The Love of a Story

A couple of years after leaving Shell, I had a coffee meeting with Mike Motor Rosenau at a Tim’s in Calgary’s industrial area. While catching up, Motor rekindled a request I had received many times while in my Marketing role at Shell. The question then was frequently: Can you start a Rotella SuperRigs North Calendar? The answer back then was always no. The answer I gave at Tims on that fateful day with Motor was “Maybe.” The irony of how times/ situations change: Back at Shell, I didn’t have the freedom to launch a Canadian trucking calendar but had a nice budget. When talking to Motor, I had way more freedom to do it but WAY less budget... Lol. In the end, footsteps walked through fear, and the Wowtrucks Calendar was born, with

the first calendar appearing in 2008.

Mike Motor Rosenau and his famous 1997 Freightliner FL120 were the January Truck & Driver in the first-ever edition of Canada’s Big Rig Calendar. Over the years (the 2024 calendar will be the 17th annual calendar), I’ve come to appreciate fine iron, having featured some pretty sweet rigs. Still, truth be told, the calendar has always been, and will always mainly be, about the people.

What you do as a professional driver isn’t easy, and yet you commit to it. It isn’t always recognized, but it deserves to be. Many of you have the world’s best office window, but that privilege also comes with considerable isolation and sacrificing time with family and friends. THANK YOU for what you do.

When I started photography with Donna, I called myself a photographer. I don’t anymore. I have come to realize that I am addicted to telling your story and that my prime occupation in transportation is that of a Story Teller.

Like Lane Wilson out of Strathmore, Alberta and Brady Doyle in Southwestern Ontario, it has been the opportunity to celebrate young drivers in the industry who are doing it right and will be important veterans of tomorrow.

Like Kim Wylie, Joe Hogg and Ron Ruddick, it is the chance to shine a spotlight on humble veterans who still have so much to offer and seldom get the credit they deserve.

Like Andy Zary, Dean Nagy and Shelly Walker. Tributes to drivers who would lose their beloved spouses shortly after the story of how much they meant to them was told in the calendar.

Like Phil Langevin, Bob Leslie and Craig Oliver, the chance to high-five

some of the world’s most innovative truck builders/rebuilders that call right here in Canada home.

Like Gord Cooper and his Smokin Gun: Telling the story of the World Record Holder in quarter mile racing and a professional engineer who has engineered some of the most difficult “moves” of sensitive equipment etc.

Like Driverette Knelsen, Carole Ann Webster and Brittany Linde. It is an honour to shine the light on some of the incredible women behind the wheel in our country.

Like Brent and Rose MacLennan, Larry & Kim Dyck and John & Susan Welburn. The awesome chance to showcase amazing couples who shine (pun intended) as they work together in this industry to make things work in their lives.

Like Mark Brandt, Larry Dyck and Ryan Danylchuk. Owners of fleets that walk the talk of showing pride in the ride every day with some of North America’s finest fleets.

Like Jeff Hildebrand and Rick Dhaliwal. The opportunity to honour awesome drivers and people in the industry whose lives were cut way too short.

These are just a few. I could write another 20 pages about the amazing people I’ve had the honour to get to know and feature, and I can’t wait to meet the stories I’ll have the honour of telling in the future. My life didn’t start in transport, but it is a big part of who I am today, and my life is better for it. Thank You!

If you’d like to nominate a driver and truck to be part of a future Wowtrucks Calendar, send me an email to with a way to connect with you. 39 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

Nothing New

The tagline beside my ruggedly handsome face above my stories reads, His story shows us once again that drivers’ problems are universal.

A couple of the stories I read in the May-June magazine issue reminded me that companies using and abusing inexperienced drivers are nothing new, even across the pond. Over here, it goes way back, even to the early days of my driving career. So, in transport, nothing is new.

One night I was doing my pre-trip checks when a young delivery driver came in. He had been told to deliver to our warehouse, and he asked if I could back his truck in for him as he wasn’t very good at reversing. I didn’t have the time to wait until that door was clear as I was due to leave, but I told him how to place his truck for the best angle. He also had no idea how many hours a day he could legally work or how many days he could work before taking rest days. He had already worked six days and was leaving our yard to go south that night. I would imagine his licence was brand new, but working like that, I knew he wouldn’t keep it very long.

But, that’s how it was back in the good old/bad old days. Some firms turned a blind eye to drivers running over their hours as long as the


loads were delivered. The old paper log books were easily circumvented before paper tachograph cards and digital tachographs came in. Some drivers had two books, one with a fictitious name on it and one with their name on it.

It might only be hearsay or drivers joking among themselves, but when I was regularly running into the IBM plant in Greenock, a local transport company had the name of wanting their money’s worth from their drivers. The rumour was if a young driver applied for a job, the boss asked them how long they thought they could go without sleep. If the young driver said, oh, I don’t know, a day, maybe two, the boss would reply, we don’t need a yard shunter right now.

Then, just like in Canada, foreign drivers came to work in the UK. The driver agencies took them on because they had a quota to fill with the big supermarket delivery hubs. My buddy told me he was working the night shift with a big multi-national supermarket called Tesco when a guy with a foreign accent approached him and asked him to hook up his trailer for him.

Colin Black lives in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland and has been driving truck for over 40 years. His story shows us once again that the problems drivers face are universal.

Did he even have a licence if he couldn’t hook a truck to a trailer? What did he show the agency when they put him on their books? Was it somebody else’s licence? Did the agency and the supermarket transport department even check his licence?

I used to change trailers with a Polish driver called Yan. He was a great guy and even taught me some Polish words. He said the English weren’t as good as the Scots at pronouncing Polish words. Not surprising when you hear reporters on TV saying Lock Lomond when it should be Loch Lomond. His son worked in the same depot, and if Yan was called into the office, he had to take his son in with him to translate and make sure he understood what was being said to him. Unfortunately, Yan was sacked when he tried to take a 16-foot-tall double-deck trailer under a 15-foot 9-inch bridge, so maybe it wasn’t just the spoken language he had a problem with.

An older gentleman was on the operating table awaiting surgery and insisted that his son-in-law, a renowned surgeon, perform the operation. As he was about to get the anesthesia, he asked to speak to his son-in-law. “Don’t be nervous, son; do your best and remember, if it doesn’t go well, your mother-in-law is going to come and live with you and your wife....” 40 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

Safety First

By now, many of you have already heard about the tragic accident in Carberry, Manitoba, on June 15, 2023. It really hit hard for me because I had just crossed through that very same intersection headed east just a few hours before the event occurred.

I always try to be on such high alert when I drive, and I also try to sort of predict what moves other drivers are going to make. As anyone who drives regularly knows, you can often spot when someone is going to cut you off, make an abrupt lane change or maybe brake suddenly in front of you.

As a driver of a vehicle that sits so high off of the ground, sometimes I can see into the windows of vehicles, and you can see them on their phones or distracted in other ways, which puts me on higher alert. There are times when you can see a driver in a passenger vehicle making repeated shoulder checks, and you wonder if they are talking to someone in the back seat or if maybe they are a nervous or cautious driver, hence the multiple shoulder checks. A vehicle whizzing back and forth between lanes is also a cause for concern. So many situations get presented in a day, and you always have to anticipate everyone’s next move. I know, that is easier said than done!!

These last couple weeks of driving after that tragic accident have made me extra cautious and probably even more judgemental of others driving. I was travelling down Highway 3/13 from Oakville, MB, towards Winkler, MB, and three separate vehicles made extremely unsafe passing maneuvers. It was to the point that I had to slow down to let them get back into the lane to prevent a collision. I was going the speed limit, so it wasn’t like I was poking along, creating a mile-long backup. One of the three vehicles went to pass and quickly pulled back in behind me when they realized they

were approaching an oncoming vehicle near an intersection. I looked in my mirrors once I was past the intersection, and they turned left there anyway. I shook my head, thinking, you wanted to cut me off so that you could turn in front of me??

Today, on my way home from Grand Forks, ND, a semi-truck passed another semi-truck on a curve and didn’t have enough room to complete the pass safely. Once again, I had to brake and come to a slow roll to allow that driver to get back in their lane without hitting me head-on. Again, I shake my head at all of this!

Even after another tragic event involving drivers, people do not feel the need to drive cautiously, patiently or courteously. It really puts me on edge.

Green Day’s song “Basket Case” has words I can relate to these days.

“It all keeps adding up I think I’m cracking up Am I just paranoid?”

This is just in Canada within a week that these things happened. Now let’s skip to the US, where there’s far more traffic, congestion, road rage, on/off ramps, multi-lane interstates etc. It’s a little harder to anticipate others’ moves when you’re surrounded by multiple vehicles, but I still try to do my best.

On more than one occasion, I’ve had drivers going the wrong way down the interstate headed toward me, but thankfully I was able to pull to the shoulder to avoid any collision. I’ve had vehicles pass on the shoulder, and I’ve had motorcycles speed between lanes going at least ten mph over the speed limit and only realize they were there when I hear them zip past me, continuing to weave through the lanes. I can go on and on about all the unsafe or careless drivers out there, but I’m sure

was born and raised in Oak Point, Manitoba and was our April 2019 Rig of the Month driver.

many or most of you also encounter this daily.

I had a lady ask me the other day how I liked trucking as she felt maybe it was a career she would like to explore. I told her it’s definitely something you have to be passionate about because, from what I see every day, so many drivers think of trucking solely as a paycheque and really could care less about the professionalism and pride that goes along with it. I wish every motorist had the opportunity to ride along in a truck to see what we face every day and the safety and struggles that go along with it.

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to ride along with my brother before I got my license to get a feel for the industry. I haven’t looked back even once since I changed careers over 14 years ago. I wish that as drivers, professional or not, everyone could take a minute to focus and drive safely. It doesn’t hurt to take that extra second to double-check that the roadway is safe. I know I get honked at by impatient drivers all the time, but I feel that I, and others, will be able to sleep soundly in bed at night knowing I took the extra step to be cautious. Accidents are always going to happen, and that’s why they are called “accidents,” but my hope for everyone is to do their best to get home in one piece every night.

My heart shatters whenever I hear of tragic roadway accidents, and my thoughts are always with those involved. Many are taken too soon! 42 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine 43 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine 44 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine 40 I WRITE Colin Black 22 WAIT OVER WEIGHT Frank Milne 42 ON THE ROAD AGAIN Myrna Chartrand INDEX RIG OF THE MONTH 10 28 ELLIOT LAKE Dave Madill 32 THE GOOD (?) OLD TRUCKS Glen Millard 18 DRIVING THROUGH MY MEMORIES Ed Murdoch Berry & Smith ..................................................................................................... 21 Centurion Trucking Inc. .................................................................................. 46 Challenger Motor Freight ............................................................................ 25 Coastal Pacific Xpress ..................................................................................... 47 Dhillon & Dhillon Transport .................................................................... 17 Golden Express Trucking Inc. ..................................................................... 24 Grant Transport Inc. ......................................................................................... 28 Keywest Express .............................................................................................. 45 Moh Trucking .................................................................................................. 04 Motion Logistics ................................................................................................ 16 North Coast Trucking Ltd. ............................................................................ 09 Reliance Logistics ........................................................................................... 05 Siemens Transport ..................................................................................... 13 Transam Carriers Inc. .................................................................................... 48 TransX ................................................................................................................... 03 Trican .................................................................................................................... 41 B & W Insurance ............................................................................. 02 & 06 Behind the 8 Diesel Engine Parts .................................................. 19 Cool Heat Truck Parts .......................................................................... 27 Cool-it ........................................................................................................ 43 EZ Repair Loan ....................................................................................... 34 Howes Lubricator ......................................................................... 30 & 31 Mobalign .................................................................................................. 16 Norris & Co. .............................................................................................. 23 Ocean Trailer .......................................................................................... 15 Safety Driven .......................................................................................... 39 The Gear Centre .................................................................................. 37 Truck West Collision .............................................................................. 21 Trucker’s Pages ...................................................................................... 36 Trucker’s Together ................................................................................... 20 Trucking App ........................................................................................... 29 ZZ Chrome ........................................................................................... 08 TRUCKING SERVICES 45 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

Why us?

At Transam Carriers, we believe that success is not achieved without professional human attitudes. We are proud of providing some of the most flexible work options in the industry for an optimum work-life balance. All of these, in conjunction with new equipment, modern technologies, in-house truck shop, and cross-dock facility, make Transam an exceptional workplace that we call here our second home.


Our Drivers are First Class 48 JULY / AUGUST 2023 Choose Challenger Today! At Challenger, we have a People First Culture. At Challenger, we recognize that professional Drivers are pivotal to our success!
From our customers to our drivers, we know that in the transportation industry, people are our driving force. We ensure that people are our first priority. Driven by service and powered by people: At Challenger, we deliver, we go the distance. Join our team and help us celebrate being named a Truckload Carriers Association 2023 Best Fleet to Drive For. For more information, visit our website at 604.625.1212 Challenger is growing and we have multiple Class 1 Company Driver/Owner Operator Career Opportunities available.
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