The “Johnston Jewel” –War Memorial Park – featured yet another free offering for families in a unique way Sunday for some six hours during the Ocean State Vintage Haulers 24th Annual Spring Show.
The old theory that “kids like trucks” surfaced like never before as moms and pops and their children walked around the pristine park viewing everything from military trucks to old-time pick-ups and even trucks like President Joe Pingitore’s 1978 Ford 9000 Louisville that was recently restored and has been in his family business since 1990.
“We had a good day,” Pingitore, who along with Ron Rossi of Rossi’s Christmas Tree Farm fame has the OSVH ranked as one of the top clubs in New England. “Lots of people love our show; today upwards of 60 trucks were on display in the park.”
One of the show’s most popular vehicles was Richard Quetta’s 1957 Ward La France fire truck that serves as a special memorial to his late brother – the late Frank J. Quetta Jr. – a one-time Providence Fire Department Battalion Chief who died in the line of duty back in 2009.
“I don’t know any kids who don’t like fire trucks,” Richard Quetta, who owns and maintains his vintage vehicle, said. “Some of those once so-called kids have grown up to be owner of old-time fire engines, pumper and other apparatus.”
Take Don Roberts, who served with the Cranston Fire Department for three decades and owns an old-time engine, a 1975 maxim, that was once in operation by the Kittery Fire Department in Maine.
“Kids certainly love trucks,” Roberts said while watching Harrison Thomas, 6, Marina Thomas, 4 and Elliot Thomas, 2, ride their scooters in and around the four fire trucks that took part in Sunday’s show then enjoyed having their pictures taken in front of his shiny red fire truck. “They’re all having fun.”
Each truck owner that showed up Sunday enjoyed the day’s camaraderie and talked some “shop” as the old saying goes while enjoying refreshments and even walking around the park with a number of spectators viewing each and every truck.
Trucks like Cranston resident Craig Place’s 1936 Ford Pick-up and a 1937 Chevrolet Suburban that “Debby” of Foster showed off Sunday.
There was also Paul Paradis’ 1961 multi-use International Van and heavy hauling machines by the dozens that made an impressive viewing line on the east side of the walking track inside Johnston War Memorial Park.
“We’ve got just about every make of trucks here today,” Pingitore said. “Many of these trucks are used every day in some sort of business that requires heaving hauling vehicles.”
The Ocean State Vintage Haulers, which is the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society, is closing in on its 25th Anniversary Show that by the time 2019 rolls around could produce perhaps the largest crowd to ever view a vintage truck show in Johnston.
“Our club celebrates the tremendous impact the trucking/hauling industry has had on this country as well as the beauty of vintage trucks that our members collect and own,” Pingitore noted. “We are always looks for new members and welcome people to sign up any time, any day.”