RACINE — Racine Service Center will be leading the American Towman Spirit Ride through Racine on Sept. 9, carrying a colorful, ceremonial casket at the head of a tow truck procession, then relaying the casket to another tower down the line.
The casket, which pays tribute to tow operators and other first responders killed by passing vehicles while working on the roadside, will relay all across the nation followed by processions of tow trucks and other emergency service vehicles. The casket carries the message: Slow Down, Move Over.
The Ride’s co-founder, American Towman Magazine, sees the Spirit Ride drawing a parallel to the legendary Pony Express, created to expedite mail delivery in 1860. There were nearly 200 relief stations from Missouri through to California where those Riders either swapped horses or fell back in relaying the Mail. Similarly, there are over 200 relay points around the country for the Spirit Ride as it endeavors to expedite public awareness of every state’s Move Over law. But unlike the lone Rides of the Pony Express, there will be thousands of tow trucks and other emergency service vehicles accompanying the car carriers that bear the casket around the nation.
The Pony Express was short lived, lasting less than two years. The Ride is scheduled through 2018. The Pony Express was a private enterprise that lost money. The Spirit Ride is a non-profit venture relying on donations from sponsors and transport service contributed by towing companies.
The ceremonial casket carrying the messaging for Slow Down, Move Over is named Spirit and was custom painted by an artist, Cecil Burrowes, who specializes in painting intricate designs on trucks and wreckers. Depicted on Spirit are a dozen scenarios of first-responders at the scenes of highway incidents. One scene portrays a towman carrying the world on his back while cars whiz by.
The casket was built by a lifelong singer-songwriter, Mike Corbin, who composed the Spirit Ride’s anthem, Booms in the Sky. Corbin performs this song and Bless the Spirit Riders honoring first responders at a ceremony that precedes the Ride and its procession of emergency service vehicles. All interested are invited to attend.
For more information on the Spirit Ride, please visit ATSpiritRide.com.