August 10, 2009
Brockway enthusiasts fill Main Street
More than 100 trucks on display at 10th annual Brockway Truck Show
More than 100 shiny Brockway Trucks lined Main Street Saturday as Cortland’s 10th annual Brockway Truck Show rolled into town.
The event featured rebuilt models on display, as truck enthusiasts came from all over to enjoy the show. Organizers said the crowd was the event’s largest, with approximately 6,000 to 7,000 people attending.
Homer resident Tom Kile had two trucks he had rebuilt on display. A 1949 deep blue truck with a wooden utility rack on the body and a 1964 shiny red tractor drew many admirers.
In rebuilding trucks, Kile said he completely takes apart the body and sands and re-paints the metal and puts in new wood and rubber and replaces broken parts. Kile, a building contractor, said he became fascinated with Brockway trucks because they were built by friends and neighbors and he used to drive them himself.
“Brockway is one of Cortland’s gifts to the world,” Kile said.
Kile said he has displayed his trucks in the show for seven years.
He said the local appeal of the Brockway factory, which operated in Cortland from 1912 to 1977, contributes to the show’s popularity.
“What other event fills Main Street all day long? Everybody knew somebody who worked at Brockway,” Kile said.
Bill Reome and David Bills came from Livonia because they like looking at the older trucks.
Reome was admiring Kile’s 1949 truck.
“I like the color and the workmanship on the bed,” Reome said as he walked around the massive vehicle and peered through the passenger-side window.
Bills said he liked looking at the different design styles and said the newer trucks look very different.
“I think they were more durable back then, there was no plastic and no fiberglass,” Bills said.
“Everything has changed, from the suspension to the cab features,” Reome added.
Several trucks on display were from Massachusetts.
Jack and Sandy Loverde came to the show for their first time, bringing their pet Akita, Meka.
Jack, a diesel mechanic, used to work at Brockway from 1973 to 1977, so he said Saturday’s display was particularly meaningful to him.
“This is great. Seeing how they were built here is the coolest thing ever,” Jack said, describing the feeling as “nostalgic.”
Even Sandy was drawn to the hands-on aspect of the show, saying she was amazed she could open doors and look in the cabs of the trucks.
“This is really cool knowing he worked on them. It is nice they don’t care if you look inside. This will have to be a yearly thing,” Sandy said of her plans to attend future shows.
Tom Millard Jr., was displaying his shiny red and white refurbished 1955 Brockway tractor. The truck was originally a deep orange colored dump truck but Millard removed the dumping mechanism and put a fifth wheel on the back, which is what a trailer would be attached to.
Millard bought the truck from a private owner in Ithaca in 2000. Two years later he disassembled it, sand blasted, primed and painted it and six years later he had the results ready to be displayed in the Cortland Brockway Show a day before the event.
Millard, an electrical engineer, said he is working on a 1970 Brockway truck, which he is doing the sheet metal work on now.
Millard, a Danville, Pa., resident, was displaying his truck for the second year Saturday but said he has been coming to the show for 10 years and each year the visit inspires him to continue his work on rebuilding the trucks.
“If you are a Brockway fan this is the show to go to,” Millard said.
Millard, whose father, Tom Millard Sr., used to drive Brockway trucks, said the local appeal of the truck is what makes the event so popular.
Millard Sr. added that the truck was a “premium product.”
“It was rugged but they used the best components to build each truck,” Millard Sr. said.
Millard Jr. pointed to the shiny refurbished dashboard of his tractor, with the new gauges that measure water levels and fuel readings. He said he put all the gauges in the original spots but added a glove compartment and cigarette lighter to the dashboard and new switches to control all the lights.
Although the truck only reaches a top speed of about 55 mph, Millard Jr. said it rides beautifully and is fun to drive.
“The trucks were built for a slower time. You have to pay attention when you’re on the highway and people are going 65 or 70,” Millard Jr. said.
But he said he does not drive it very often since it is mainly used for shows.
Homer residents Jim and Valerie Holcomb came to Saturday’s show with their 12-year-old son Tyler and 13-year-old son Nick.
“We come every year. I really like the history of them (the trucks). Growing up, all my friends’ fathers worked for Brockway,” Jim said.
Nick said he enjoys seeing all the trucks while his younger brothers liked the Husky dogs that were on display, since Huskies are the symbol Brockway used.
Lee Whipple of Elmira was admiring a 1949 orange farm tractor. Whipple, who came to the show with a friend, said he used to drive Brockway trucks when he was a trucker years ago.
“It was a tough, rugged truck. It was the truck to drive,” Whipple said.
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