Tuesday, 06 March 2012 10:19

Bennett Bayes wins big at Ag Expo; drives away in new truck

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By Jamie Woodford
Southern Alberta
All he had to do was turn the key, and Bennett Bayes walked, or rather drove away from Ag Expo March 1 with a brand new 2012 International 7500 tandem truck and box from Southland International worth more than $130,000.

“It’s incredible. Unbelievable. You don’t expect this to happen to yourself,” he said moments after his key turned the ignition.

The Win a Tandem Truck contest sponsored by Dow AgroSciences and the Western Producer saw more than 4,200 entries where farmers sent in photos of their trucks accompanied by story about their connection with the vehicle.

When the contest closed in January, six names were randomly drawn and the finalists got to randomly choose one of six keys at Ag Expo, but only one would start the truck.

Bayes was the fifth to try and as soon as the engine roared to life, he raised his fists in the air and then joyfully pounded the steering wheel.

“I was shaking. I’never wanted something to start so bad in my life,” he said. “It was surreal. It’s crazy. It’s an incredible feeling.”

The 20-year-old University of Saskatchewan student farms with his parents Harold and Glenda, and three siblings near Trochu, Alberta about 150 kilometres northeast of Calgary. When he’s not in school, Bayes heads home to help on the farm and feedlot operation, where they grow wheat, canola, peas, barley, alfalfa and oats on about 4,000 cultivated acres and 13,000 grass acres.

The truck is Bayes’ first major piece of equipment.

“I own a half-ton, now I guess I own a grain truck,” he said through an ear-to-ear smile.

A fourth generation farmer, he plans to return to the family farm after he graduates with his agri-business degree.

“I’ve got another two and a bit years left of school,” he said, adding he’s thought about showing off his new truck at school.

“I thought I’d park in front of the ag building at U of S, maybe. I don’t know. We’ll see.”

First he plans to take his girlfriend for a ride.

“We’ll have a date in this tandem.”

The finalists included Terry Bentley of Delisle, Sask., Don Furkalo of Grandview, Man., Jacob Mann of Medora, Man., Robert Olson of Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask. and Albert Schmirler of Medstead, Sask.

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