Growing up in Langton, Ontario, Canada as a little girl, Eva Knelson was a self-proclaimed tomboy, but today, she and her Kenworth both look pretty in pink! After her family moved to a farm when she was 12, her chores included moving the irrigation system, cultivating in the spring and plowing in the fall. But she enjoyed her chores because she got to drive the tractor. Things all changed for this tomboy when she was 16 after she chose the pink toe socks. For those of you who don’t know what toe socks are, they are like a pair of gloves for your feet. It was then that her love for the color pink began.
With four brothers and ten sisters (yes, you heard right), Eva is the sixth oldest, and like most kids, she would stand by the road and do the hand pump for the truckers going by to blow their air horn. She fell in love with trucks and her dream was to one day be a driver. When she was 21, against her parent’s wishes, she enrolled in a truck driving school. After graduating and getting her license, she would occasionally ride with her oldest brother Jake, while she was still trying to find a trucking job of her own. Her brother never let her drive, but she was learning a lot as she rode along.
After eight months of applying and hearing “you don’t have any experience,” she saw an ad for a driving position that said no experience necessary. All she needed was that chance to get in a truck and prove what she could do. Trailwood Transport of Alliston, Ontario, was the company that gave her that chance, and she has never looked back. Back then there were lots of people who told Eva that she would never make it, but there was one person, who was her biggest supporter, that told her that she indeed could do it – her Uncle Martin Dyck. She treasures the picture of her and her uncle in front of the Freightliner Columbia that she took care of with so much pride. Her uncle has never been a driver himself, but he believed in Eva like no one else.
After driving for a few different carriers, Eva went to work at West Coast Transportation out of London, Ontario, about three years ago, where she began driving a white and burgundy 579 Pete. The other drivers teased her about the inside looking like the Pink Panther stopped by and pooped all over, because there was a bunch of pink stuff in the cab. None of them wanted to drive her truck with the inside looking like that, but she was fine with that.
But when her boss’ (Don English) girlfriend Julie Martel’s mother passed away from breast cancer, they decided to put together a pink truck for breast cancer awareness and, again, all the other drivers didn’t want to drive a pink truck. Eva was the obvious choice as this special truck’s driver. Eva has lost two aunts, Anna Fehr and Tina Neufeld, and her beloved uncle’s daughter (her cousin) Anna Dyck. She says there isn’t anyone who hasn’t been touched by this awful disease – be it a mom, sister, aunt or friend – and I know that is true.
This two-year-old tribute truck has 472,000 kilometers (293,000 miles) and isn’t even two years old yet. They went all-out with the attention to detail for this truck, as the entire frame is pink (Eva carries cans of pink spray paint to keep it looking new at all times). The hood has a traditional breast cancer ribbon, while the doors have the heart-shaped ribbon. On each side of the bunk, there is a quote, “For all the mothers, sisters, wives and BFF’s who have fought and continue to fight.” The rig also has pink fuel tank straps, the fenders are wrapped in pink, and it has a pink visor, as well.
Xtreme Graphics out of London, Ontario, donated part of the wrap for the trailer to match the beautiful rig pulling it. Eva would like to thank Annette for her work on making the trailer a perfect match. There is also a pink fifth wheel cover (with the heart-shaped breast cancer ribbon) which they had made for a truck show in Clifford, Ontario, which is a bobtail-only event.
The Cotton Candy Pink colored truck was new in March 2017, and then the trailer came along in September. It was wrapped just the day before the “Trucking for a Cure” charity show, which is held in Woodstock, Ontario. Eva was contacted by Joanne Mackenzie on Facebook after she heard about this pink truck and then saw pictures. They became friends, and Eva’s first time to the show was that year, with her truck, which she calls Ken Worth. She teasingly says, “He’s my boyfriend – we spend so much time together. He might break down, but he doesn’t talk back!”
Eva’s little girl Dixie is a Maltese and Chihuahua mix, and she recently celebrated her 5th birthday on December 6th. She rides with mom all the time. On the truck or at home, Dixie has her own wardrobe, and any time she hears the words “hammer down” she knows it’s time to go for a ride. Eva loves this little dog and couldn’t imagine life on the road without her (and she has all the cute pictures to prove it).
A few years ago, I attended and wrote about the “Trucking for a Cure” show (The Convoy Craze – November 2014). For that charity event, and two other organizations, Eva makes and sells t-shirts, sweatshirts and a calendar, and then donates the profit from the sales. If you are interested in making a purchase, you can contact Eva on her Facebook page (Driverette). There, you can get all the information you need to place your order. The other two organizations that she donates money to are Trucking for Kids (this money goes to the Ronald McDonald House), and the Woodstock Truck Show (proceeds from this event go to Special Olympics).
One memory Eva is very proud of is when she got to haul produce from her parent’s farm to the Ontario Food Terminal, where they have a booth from May to October. That day, her father was bragging to everyone who would listen, saying, “That is my daughter’s truck.” After 13 years they, along with all the others who said she would never make it, have found out that indeed she has made it in the trucking world. In addition to that, she is also out there working for awareness for a disease that has touched so many and, in the process, is helping to improve the image of woman driver’s by being a classy lady who, along with her rig, is certainly pretty in pink!