Wreckers Roll Onto Hampton Beach

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Tow Show, Parade Goes on Today

By Amy Kane

Seacoast Sunday, Sunday, May 16, 2010

[The following article is courtesy of the Seacoast Sunday and Seacoast Online]
Tara DelNolfe, of Northborough. Mass., polishes "Miss Shannon," for the tow truck beauty contest Saturday at Hampton Beach State Park during the Tow Truck Rodeo, which continues today.
[Amy Kane Photo]

Wreckers, carriers and recovery trucks rolled into town from across New England Saturday morning for the 38th annual Tow Show at Hampton Beach.

Tara DeWolfe was at the wheel with the window down when she heard someone say: "Hey, a chick is driving that truck."

A woman in the left seat of a wrecker may be a novelty for the average man on the street, but driving tow trucks isn't just a man's job in a family-owned business. DeWolfe puts in time in the office, but she has been building hours on the road and has done a few calls by herself recently.

"There is some strength involved, but I know I've got my husband as backup," she said.

According to Andy DeWolfe, it seems like most tow companies are family-owned and he likes it like that. "It's nicer to work with them. We meet them when we come to shows like this."

Owning a towing business can be a satisfying life, said Peter Buskey of Ashland. "It's true there's no such thing as a schedule, but it's rewarding to be able to help in a crisis."

He and his wife, Rebecca, have been coming to the Tow Show since 2003 — first with kids in tow, and now with grandkids. Rebecca coordinates the children's activities, which included making kites, yesterday.

Peter is a member of the board of directors of the New Hampshire Towing Association, coordinating education and certification for tow operators.

The NHTA hosts the Tow Show, bringing operators together at the beach to get acquainted.

"We depend on each other throughout the year," Peter Buskey said. "If I have a customer who breaks down in Concord, I want a list of people I know I can trust."

Drivers have the opportunity to build skills as well as relationships at the show. The truck rodeo tests drivers' ability to maneuver a truck towing a car through a timed course with precision. First to accept the challenge Saturday was Jim Bray, last year's trophy winner from Dave's Garage in Hampton Beach. The winner will be announced today, but Bray was feeling pretty confident he had done well again this year.

Jake "Spike" Kalinowski, towing manager for the DeWolfes, was helping polish the company's trucks for the beauty contest. The medium-duty carrier was named "Miss Shannon" in honor of his girlfriend and the medium-duty wrecker was called "Herbie the Love Tug."

The 38th annual Tow Show runs until 4 p.m. today, Sunday, May 16, 2010, at Hampton Beach State Park, with demonstrations, kids' activities, antique trucks, raffles, police K-9 demonstrations, beauty contest judging and awards, and truck rodeo awards. Admission is free.
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