PHOTOS: Bradley McPherson still makes his mark, eight years later

Memorial car show spins its tires for murdered man in support of local scholarship

An annual memorial for murder victim Bradley McPherson – in the form of a revved up car show – returned on Saturday for the seventh year at its new location, the Twilight Drive-In.

Sue Simning, mother of McPherson, along with one of her closest friends Kim Loof, organized the show ’n’ shine – which incorporated family activities, a silent auction, and live music to fundraise for a scholarship given to a high school student who struggles with attention-deficit disorder, like McPherson did.

This year the car show raised $11,369 for the cause.

“We do this so we can keep the memory of Bradley alive, and his (truck) Emma,” Simning said, tearful over the microphone.

Emma, a black 1980 GMC Short Box that belonged to McPherson, was parked front and centre at the event.

The mother revved the truck, whirling dust and debris as the tires spun. A procession of others followed in suit in honour of McPherson – in their hotrods, muscle cars, customs, vintage classics, and motorcycles.

Many in attendance were brought to tears by the roaring tribute.

Some sported limited edition shirts, detailing the name of the Burnouts In The Sky event on the front, and the words “Like rubber to asphalt, you left your mark” on the back.

McPherson was murdered on Christmas Eve in 2011, at age 28, after standing up for a woman being harassed by a male guest in at a house party in Newton.

He left behind his mother and two sisters – Mariah and Jenny. It took six years for the family to see his killer, Russell Bidesi, behind bars.

His now 23-year-old sister Mariah, who was 15 at the time of McPherson’s murder, wished that her brother – who “wore his heart on his sleeve” – could have been there for her wedding this year.

“But all of his friends were there” and rallied around her on the big day.

The McPherson-Simning family was surprised when half-way through the event a man from Cloverdale, named Rick Spigulis, handed the deed of McPherson’s long-lost Camaro back to the family.

“Twenty-six years ago Brad McPherson bought his first car. It was a 1978 Camaro that he never did anything with. Always had the plans to restore it,” Simning explained.

After selling it years ago, “this man right here has that car and he’s donating it back to the family today,” Siminig said, interrupted by cheering that was followed by tears and embraces.

The mother walked hand-in-hand with Spigulis to introduce the Good Samaritan and tell his good news to other family members in the drive-in lot.

McPherson’s uncle, Ren Lafleur, knew Bradley since he was a newborn.

“If you knew him, you couldn’t help but love him,” Lafleur said.

Nine of McPherson’s buddies came from all around the Lower Mainland to the seventh memorial car show, one admitting he “wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Jason Binder, one of McPherson’s close friends roared into the show on a motorcycle.

“His laugh was infectious,” Binder described.

“When we were kids it was him doing up his BMX, polishing the chrome. It started from that,” and led to restoring cool vehicles like Emma.

Another friend who came out said McPherson was the life of the party.

“Even if he didn’t know you he’d come up and introduce himself,” he said, noting that McPherson was known to help anyone – friend or stranger.

Twenty-four-year-old Calvin Bowie, a cousin of McPherson, tagged his uncle’s name as part of a live art installation he completes every year on four pieces of 4×8 plywood.

It took the young artist a little more than three hours to complete the work, which once finished spelled out “Brad.”

Interested in new or used vehicles? Visit TodaysDrive.com today!

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

McPherson’s cousin Calvin Bowie, tagged a live art installation in the back corner of the lot on four pieces of 4x8 plywood. (Kim Loof photo)

McPherson’s cousin Calvin Bowie, tagged a live art installation in the back corner of the lot on four pieces of 4x8 plywood. (Kim Loof photo)

When Bradley was young he revamped up his BMX, polishing the chrome. It started from that, and led to restoring cool vehicles like Emma. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

His now 23-year-old sister Maria (left), who was 15 at the time of McPherson’s murder, wished that her brother could have been there for her wedding this year. (Kim Loof photo)

McPherson’s buddies came from across the Lower Mainland to the memorial car show, and hung out near his 1980 GMC Short Box named Emma. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Just Posted

How to solve a problem like what play to put on at D.W. Poppy

Langley School performs The Sound of Music, Feb. 26 to 29

Fort Gallery features three budding Langley Fine Arts musicians at fourth Friday event

Trio made up of youths Sam Meyer, Tiffany Pai, and Cindy Zhang will perform on Feb. 28

“Better nudes” artist asks for better gallery space in Langley

Susan Falk is presenting her art work at Landmark Pop-Uptown Gallery in White Rock, March 4 to 28

Langley theatre director aims to show ‘people are all closer than what we perceive’

Canadian premiere of Trans Scripts, Part I: The Women runs March 12 to 21 at Firehall Arts Centre

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

High-risk sex offender cuts off ankle bracelet, on the loose in Vancouver: police

Vancouver police said Kirstjon Olson, 38, is a provincial sex offender with 27 court-ordered conditions

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Most Read