Susan Simning stands with Emma, a GMC short-box truck. The vehicle used to belong to her son, but was later sold. Simning got to meet the seller, for the first time, Saturday morning. (Aaron Hinks photo)

‘Whirlwind of emotions’ at Burnouts in the Sky event

Langley family meets seller of ‘Emma,’ a 1980 GMC short-box truck

Burnouts in the Sky memorial car show ended up being an emotional one for Susan Simning.

The fifth annual event serves as a tribute to her son, Bradley McPherson, who had a passion for classic cars and trucks.

McPherson’s prize possession was a charcoal-coloured 1980 GMC short-box truck, named Emma.

Following McPherson’s death, his family and friends lost track of the truck, which had been sold along the way.

Eventually, a family friend saw the truck on a Craigslist, and within a 24-hour period, the family friend bought the truck back.

The family lost track of the person who sold them the vehicle, and never told the man the significance of the truck to the family.

They were able to share that story with the seller, for the first time, on Saturday morning.

Simning told Peace Arch News Saturday that the man who they purchased the truck from showed up at the Burnouts in the Sky event, held Aug. 19 at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.

He told her he read Simning’s story and saw a photograph of the truck in the newspaper.

The family double checked the VIN, and it was, as the man suspected, the same truck.

“This morning has been an emotional whirlwind,” Simnings told PAN. “This truck is a part of him,” she said, while standing beside the vehicle.

Dozens of enthusiasts gathered at the event Saturday, though attendance was lower than usual. Simning’s suspected that most of the hot-rods were participating in the Historic Downtown Abbotsford Car Show, held the same day.

Russell Bidesi, charged with second-degree murder, is scheduled to be in BC Supreme Court on Sept. 11, nearly six years after McPherson, age 28, was shot dead at a house party in Newton.

Christmas Eve, 2011, McPherson was at a house party when a male guest harassed a female party-goer.

“Brad, being who he was, a guy who didn’t condone such treatment of women, stood up and said something to the guy, for him to show some respect,” Simning’s told Black Press earlier this month.

The guy left the party, she said, but later returned.

Not long after, McPherson was shot dead.


Bradley McPherson’s younger sister, Mariah Simning sings to the crowd gathered at the Burnouts in the Sky event. (Aaron Hinks photo)