The Spirit Ride is coming through West Bend | By Ron Naab

June 27, 2017 – The professionals who earn a living from highway accidents are now taking to the streets to promote highway safety and help safeguard the lives of fellow first responders.


The Spirit Ride will relay a ceremonial casket by car carrier across the nation and back. About 300 towing companies across the U.S. are contributing their services to the Spirit Ride to promote safe driving and the Slow Down, Move Over law.

The Ride will pass through West Bend with the Spirit casket being relayed to Bob’s Main Street Auto & Towing. A ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on July 6 at West Bend Elevator north of County Highway D, followed by a procession of tow trucks and emergency service vehicles through West Bend onto Hwy D thru Kohlsville onto northbound I-41 on its way to Nolte Towing in Oshkosh.

According to the towing industry the Move Over law is often ignored and seemingly unknown to many motorists. The law exists in all states of the union and requires passing vehicles to move over one lane when approaching an incident where tow operators, police, fire fighters and EMS people are working.

The ceremonial casket, named Spirit was custom built by a carpenter who is also a lifelong singer-songwriter (Mike Corbin) who composed the Spirit Ride’s anthem. The casket was custom painted by an artist (Cecil Burrowes) who specializes in painting trucks and wreckers.

The colorful ceremonial casket measures eight feet, a stretch farther than a standard casket. Painted on it are a dozen scenarios depicting first-responders at the scenes of highways incidents

While promoting public awareness of the Move Over laws the ride honors first responders who’ve been killed by passing vehicles. Hundreds of roadside professionals are casualties each year of roadside incidents; about 100 of them are killed. Among police, fire, ems and towing professionals, 60% of those killed are tow operators.

Some 300 tow companies are relaying the ceremonial casket by car carrier from town to town across the nation and back. According to American Towman Magazine President Steve Calitri, “the Ride is the greatest project in the history of the towing industry, which celebrated its centennial in 2016.”

The Spirit Ride was founded by American Towman Magazine and B/A Products and is a project of American Towman Spirit, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, born to promote highway safety.

Tow-industry sponsors have pitched in with funds to support the coordination of the Ride and its media outreach campaign. All the towing companies participating by relaying the casket are contributing their services.

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