Hug a Rig turnout pleases organisers

Best seat . . . Fonterra tanker driver Richard Parish is set to take Kaleb Elstob of Gore for a drive. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Organisers are pleased with the turnout for the 14th Southland Hug a Rig event.
Hug a Rig is a day for people of all ages with special needs or lifelong medical conditions — physical or intellectual — to take a ride in a big rig, classic car or hot rod.
It was held at the Southern Field Days site at Waimumu on Saturday.
Organised by Ian and Dianne Elstob of Gore, the event was well-supported with about 50 more people taking part than last year, Mrs Elstob said.
‘‘[It was a] much grander scale this year.
‘‘Normally we’d get about 80.’’
There were 30 trucks and 15 classic cars which were busy giving people rides for the three hours the event was on.
A bus with wheelchair access was also popular, Mrs Elstob said.
Many volunteers made the free event possible, including drivers from Southland trucking companies, classic car owners, the River Valley Lions Club and the committee.
Mehrtens Bulk Transport owner Bob Mehrtens of Timaru brought his Kenworth miniature truck for people to have a ride in. He enjoyed giving children rides in the truck. ‘‘I like seeing the smile on their face.’’

Ticket to ride . . . Bob Mehrtens in the driver seat of his miniature Kenworth truck is ready to take (from left) Draven Lang, 7 , and brothers Daniel, 10, and Jeremiah, 7, Willoughby all of Invercargill for a drive. Daniel and Jeremiah’s mother Joy looks on. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON