On May 19-20, the American Towing and Recovery Institute (ATRI) hosted the 2nd annual tow show at the Crown Reef Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This tow show is designed to bring in towers and their families from the Mid-Atlantic region. As the show drew closer, so did our curiosity. Therefore, we decided to head down the show to check out what all the hype was about. The results were more than we expected and we had an amazing time taking apart of all the action.
So, we put in a full day of work at the office the Thursday prior to the show and then headed down that night in our Safety Training Tow Truck. The journey started out with a bang as we were fortunate to serve the role as first responders to a critical rear end accident on I-95 in Lumberton, NC. A 21-year-old male driver was traveling at a high rate of speed and crashed into a tractor trailer as we were moving through a construction zone. The incident happened directly behind us and once the crash occurred, we lit up our wheel-lift and immediately hit reverse. Blaine was driving at the time, and he performed a cross-block in the incident lane to eliminate any secondary crashes. From there, Dave grabbed the flares and directed traffic in the other lane. Meanwhile, Blaine tended to the driver to make sure he was not seriously injured. The driver was pinned in his SUV and sustained lacerations on his face and hand. After 10 minutes, local police and EMS arrived to take over the situation. Feeling that duties were done, we continued our trek down to Myrtle Beach.
Shortly after midnight, we arrive to the Crown Reef Resort. A funny side note: apparently, it was Harley Davidson Bike Week and parking was scarce. We were advised to park across the street from the hotel where all the “tow trucks” were set up. Come to find out, in the morning we were asked to move our tow truck because all the trucks in the area were participants in the beauty pageant for the show. All the towers got a chuckle, but were very impressed that we had our own safety training tow truck. In the end, this was positive because our name was already out there just based off our truck’s presence.
Day One (Friday): We checked into the show and started covering the lay of the land. Keep in mind, this show was promoted by an educational institute for towers, ATRI, so the show not only offered a vendor area, but a variety of classes and training to educate towers. Like every tow show, we love to participate in the classes in efforts enhance our knowledge of the towing industry. After taking some morning classes, we stopped by the vendor area and then headed outside. It was nice to network with all the on-site towers and watch some of the outside training demonstrations.
Tow our surprise, some of our clients were participants in the tow show; so it was great catching up with them as well.
Day two (Saturday): Saturday was action packed as it attracted more “daytrippers,” and allowed us to talk with more towers we hadn’t had the chance to meet. We participated in more classes in the morning and hit some more outside demonstrations. One participant of the show that we had the pleasure of meeting was D.J. Harrington aka “The Doctor.” He was kind enough to share a couple pointers to improve our in-house safety training program that we offer to our clients. He is an encyclopedia of business knowledge and this was one of our high points of the show. If you get the opportunity to meet Mr. Harrington, we encourage you to pick his brain and we are confident he will give you some things to think about.
The conclusion: The Myrtle Beach Tow Show was above and beyond worth the trip. We gained some valuable knowledge, saw some familiar faces and met some new faces. Wes Wilburn, the man behind the tow show, has put together a family-friendly and relaxed tow show that will appeal to all types of towing outfits. The people were nice, the weather was beautiful, and all participants left the show with a sense of accomplishment. We are confident the Myrtle Beach Tow Show will continue to grow and can’t wait to come back next year to get in the action.