Trucks Tow Away a World Record?

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Group Awaits Guinness Ruling

By Matthew Tetrault

Hampton Union, Tuesday, May 20, 2008

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online]

The New Hampshire Towing Association parade at Hampton Beach on Sunday attempted to break the Guinness Book's record for the parade with the most tow trucks.

HAMPTON -- Many motorists on Ocean Boulevard Sunday thought twice before double parking, leaving the meter empty or blocking any fire lanes.

That's because there were more than 250 tow trucks on the road during the New Hampshire Towing Association's world record attempt for the largest tow truck parade.

The NHTA was also in town this weekend for its annual trade show at Hampton Beach State Park.

Flatbeds, wheel-hook tow trucks, massive, 72-ton big-rig wreckers: Every type of tow truck imaginable rolled single file down the streets of Hampton. The parade could be heard long before it was seen and children, along with a few parents, pumped their fists, encouraging drivers to sound off with air horns and sirens.

"Getting them to honk is my favorite part," said Arron Bergeron, 10, of Seabrook.

Anne Hassett was another spectator who didn't mind the noise.

"It's a great wake-up call for Hampton and it's great for the kids," said Hassett, who made the trip from Westford, Mass., for the parade.

Skip Stearns of Skip and Son Towing said he and his drivers look forward to putting on a good show each year.

"I love what I do and I'm proud of it," Stearns said.

After the parade, the NHTA hosted a skills competition and a "beauty" contest.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest tow truck parade was in Wenatchee, Wash., in 2004, with a total of 83 trucks.

NHTA President Rene Fortin said his group unofficially broke the record in 2005 with 235 trucks, but because that parade didn't fit the Guinness Book's requirements for a tow truck parade, the record wasn't accepted.

Fortin said this year he's paying close attention to the rules and hopes to hear from Guinness within the next couple of months.

Fortin hopes this time, the NHTA can break the record, but his biggest goal is to shed new light on the tow truck industry.

"People don't often like towers, so this is our chance to show our good side," said Fortin.

Beach homes are reflected in the polished chrome bumper of Merle Branconnier's tow truck before the Hampton Beach, NH Towing Association parade at Hampton Beach, N.H., Sunday, May 18, 2008  (Portsmouth Herald Photo/Cheryl Senter)
Randy Timmons, front center, of Salisbury, polishes his truck before Sunday's parade.
Billy Blasi of Quincy, Mass., teaches his son Nicholas, 4, how to get the trucks to blow their horns at the NH Towing Association parade at Hampton Beach on Sunday, May 18, 2008.
Robbie Hall, 7, of Seabrook, in his dad's tow truck from Dave's Garage in Hampton, watches as other trucks arrive for Sunday's New Hampshire Towing Association parade at Hampton Beach.
Truckers, above from left, Dan Kimball of Portsmouth, Tom Whiting of Portsmouth and Lou Sloban of Somersworth chat before the start of the parade.