The Spirit Ride

The Spirit Ride is a memorial to fallen emergency responders that we unveiled this summer.  The Spirit Ride originated in the United States and has made many miles crossing the States. With their blessing we had one made by one of our members towing companies.  The memorial made it’s way around Saskatchewan, on the decks of our members tow trucks,  doing 2,639 kms this summer.  It was hosted by various tow companies across Saskatchewan at our Blue Lights and Burgers events.  We lost one of own on March 7, 2017 in a snowstorm.  Courtney Schaefer of Esterhazy was working on the side of the road when a semi did not Slow Down and Move Over and Courtney lost his life.  There is a memorial plaque for Courtney on the Spirit Ride. The public needs to become aware of the dangers of not Slowing to 60 or Moving over. The Spirit Ride is designed to draw media attention to Move-Over Laws and the needless sacrifices towers and other first responders make in serving the motoring public and transportation industry.

Article from the Clark’s Crossing Gazette:

“Klotz said this year the RRAS will be unveiling a new memorial to fallen operators and emergency responders. Modelled on an initiative that tours across the United States to draw attention to that country’s ‘Move Over’ laws,  the ‘Spirit Ride’ memorial was built in Saskatchewan and is transported on the rear deck of a tow truck.

“We obtained permission from the folks in the States who originated the ‘Spirit Ride’ to use the name,” said Klotz. “We borrowed the idea from them. They were more than happy to see the concept cross the border. Safety is a huge concern in the US for emergency responders as well.”

Brad Stratychuk, RRAS President and owner of Brad’s Towing in Saskatoon, said prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a tow truck driver was killed every six days, on average, in North America.

Over the past year, that average has fallen to one every eight or nine days, but only because there’s been less traffic. The risks to tow truck operators and emergency responders is still very real, said Stratychuk.

“I’ve been hit twice in the 38 years I’ve been in this business,” he said. “When you’re working on the side of the road, you have to be very aware of what’s going on around you, and be prepared.”

Stratychuk said with the summer holiday traffic, there will be an increase in the number of vehicles of all types, including RVs, stopped on the roadside.

“Slow down and pull into the other lane if you see a vehicle on the shoulder,” said Stratychuk. “If someone is changing a tire, they’re vulnerable. Play it safe.”

Stratychuk said the public is gradually becoming more aware of the need to slow down, but it could take a generation or more to change people’s habits.

“It took about that long for seat belt use to become widely accepted,” he said. “Even after they were made mandatory.”

Watch for the Spirit Ride to make it’s way across Saskatchewan next summer and be featured at our RRAS Saskatoon Tow Show September 9 – 11th, 2022.