DJ Harrington - Fuel for Thought
DJ Harrington – Fuel for Thought

Wow! Amazing! What a wonderful show! It was a “show of shows.” Pictures are included so you can see for yourself what you experienced or missed. Towers came from countries as far away as South Africa and New Zealand and from four other states besides those from Wisconsin to attend the annual convention in Wisconsin Dells for the Wisconsin Towing Convention.
Every tower competes for their share of the business out-on-the road during the year. During convention time, held once a year, it’s a truly different story because they migrate to their Wisconsin event with their families. It’s not just business. This year, the event was held at Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells. All towers and their families gather together for true brotherhood and camaraderie. They show off their new equipment, new babies, new wives and new husbands and brag about family. One tower, Junior Merten of Merten Service Center does all the towing for the local Nestle Chocolate Plant.

Every year, Junior brings with him 20 to 25 cases of chocolate just to share. One tower, Dave Schultz from Homer’s Towing, located in Milwaukee, brings family a day ahead and starts cooking two gigantic pigs for the Friday Night Pig Roast Picnic. Fellow towers, assisted by older children, help serve the well-attended event. It’s Family Time! And what a time it is!

The hit of the show this year was the 60 ton Rotator, equipped with the JFB Incident Management Body, the Gold Series. Jerr-Dan put on classes with Mathew Sellner, the sharpest 16-year-old son that I have met. Mathew’s mom, Kathy, headed up the children’s program for the convention and provided classes for children of all ages. Sava took part in the demonstration with Jerr-Dan, using their very best rescue-recovery lifting bags.

The light show was held in the parking lot behind this beautiful water park. There were trucks of all kinds, from antiques to trucks in memory of lost loved ones. At midnight, the yearly tradition lead by “mom” Dave Whealon’s mother from Whealon Towing & Service from Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, served every kind of cheese you could think of. And she did so until early morning. The beer was free all weekend.

Saturday morning featured a great breakfast under the tent, and then back to the hotel for what they call “talk-n-towing” and “telling tales.” Bill Tomlinson, who had just retired after almost 60 years of towing, along with Craig Goldbeck of Goldbeck Towing, presented the class in the Sierra Vista room, where they delivered the TRAA Level I & II Driver Testing on Friday. Something that Bill Tomlinson had assisted in writing the TRAA classes many years ago, Bill was one of the trainers for TRAA. It would have been great to have all of this on film because Bill and Craig did a fantastic class. Very informative! It was followed up with Bob Truitt from All Grip. That class was also a good one.

There’s another family tower that deserves mentioning. His name is Jeff Roskopf. Jeff and Geri Roskopf own Roskopf’s Service & Towing located in Menomonee Falls. Their son, Greg, took all the pictures you are seeing in this article. Every year, Greg takes pictures and then during Saturday night’s banquet and award presentation, people can see themselves on the big screen for a warm recap of the weekend’s events. At dinner, Geri
presented narration that was synced to Rock n’ Roll songs. Well done!

Prairieland Towing was very kind to chip in and bring me to the event as your speaker. I sure do hope I’m invited next year because the friendly and loving atmosphere was one I don’t always feel at every event I attend. And I attend lots of them each year. This show had it all: company flags, antique trucks, great families and mounds of great food and a lot of just being kind to each other. It was a reunion that this industry needs. But that’s not all.

What I discovered most of all about this event was lots of “real brotherhood.” Keep it up!

DJ Harrington is an author, journalist, seminar leader, international trainer, and marketing consultant. He works primarily with customer service personnel, and his clients include such world-class companies as General Motors, DuPont, Caterpillar, and Damon Corporation. He can be reached at 800-352-5252 or by e-mail at