Perhaps never before, at least not in the last decade, has Rossi’s Tree Farm been as busy as it was Sunday.
However, the picturesque site on Phenix Avenue in Cranston wasn’t overflowing with people shopping for the perfect Christmas tree.
Instead, more than 170 people – who own and operate a variety of heavy hauling vehicles – enjoyed the fun, fine food and family friendships that have for years been the trademarks of the Ocean State Vintage Haulers Association.
For Ron Rossi, owner of the tree farm and vice president of OSVH, and Joe Pingitore, the unique nonprofit’s president, Sunday was extra special because their children – now adults – helped make the annual Truck Show and Round-up an overwhelming success.
“My three sons have grown up with this event,” said Pingitore, who owns and operates J. Pingitore & Sons Construction-Paving Company in Johnston. “They used to come here for the dinner, now they’re helping to cook it.”
On Sunday, Jonathan, Joseph IV and Dylan Pingitore – along with their father – made up half of what Pingitore called “today’s grill gang,” grilling hot dogs, hamburgers and steaks for what Rossi called “one of the largest round-ups we’ve had in years.”
Likewise, Rossi – with the help of his visiting daughter Rebecca – served as the perfect host Sunday. He offered tours of the spacious and special woods of the Christmas tree farm aboard his mini sports utility run-about.
As was the case with Pingitore’s sons, Rossi’s daughter also “grew up” with the OSVH Round-up and BBQ during her days as a highly decorated horse-riding champion.
On Sunday, she served as her father’s valuable “assistant grand greeter.” Meanwhile, her brother Andrew Rossi joined in to help with the grilling.
The OSVH is the Rhode Island chapter of the American Truck Historical Society. Sunday’s event showcased dozens of vehicles, farm equipment and former military vehicles that filled much of the grass-covered area in the woods of the beautiful western Cranston farm.
“Our members love coming here,” Pingitore said. “It’s the perfect location, and we’ve been holding our annual fundraiser here for at least 10 years. We used to hold this Round-up at Governor Francis Farms in Rehoboth and Wright’s Farm in Burrillville, but this place is absolutely perfect and our members love coming here.”