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Ceccon Trucking Story by Hank Rabe

Ceccon Trucking from Princeton, BC
1944 Ford 3 Ton hauling power poles in Princeton, BC in 1951 Fleet of six trucks at Copper Mountain in 1952
1952 Ford F-8 with 8 yard rock box taken at Copper Mountain.
After November 10, 1954, F-8 Ford truck and box 250 feet down the glory hole After the truck was removed, brother Chico standing beside the truck.
Ford getting loaded, back in the 1950's some of the front end loaders were not much more than a farm tractor. 1955 F-800 5 ton (left) and 1954 Ford F-600 (right) 1954 F-600 3 ton with a water tank mounted on truck box for helping to cool the brakes.
Ford getting loaded by a Scoopmobile loader Ford getting loaded by a Unit Shovel
Hauling coal 1955 Hauling coal 1956 with two trucks, Rollo still on crutches. 1958 Mercury with logging trailer
1960 truck accident after driver fell asleep. He was not injured. 1960 Hough loader loading a Ford 1966 Ford 850 Super-Duty gas 5&4 speed with a D-7E
1969 Ford F-8000 extra heavy duty diesel 1970 Ceccon Trucking fleet 1971 Ford Louisville 3208 Cat diesel 5&4
1972 repairing a washout for CPR at Coalmont, BC 1975 White Western Star with Cat 1693 TA 450 HP, 15 speed and 14 yard pup 1978 Ceccon Trucking
1987 newest trucks 1986 Louisville 1990 Freightliner with Rollo Ceccon
1991 working on the Coalmont road Rock crusher taken at Copper Mountain Oct 1987

Ceccon Trucking 1951- 1993

A real Survivor Canada's Rollo Ceccon.

Rollo Ceccon is a survivor. In his nearly 50 years of trucking, Ceccon survived not only the harsh Canadian winters and unforgiving conditions doing heavy haul work, but also lived through a plunge in his truck 250 feet down a mine pit over 50 years ago that nearly took his life and left him in a body cast for over 3 years.

Now 78, Ceccon can barley walk when the bitter cold seeps into his bones. But despite the hardships he faced over the years, Ceccon never consider walking away from trucking.

In the spring of 1951 Ceccon trucking got its start, 22-year-old Rollo Ceccon of Princeton, British Columbia, traded in his 1950 Ford car for a 1944 Ford 3-ton truck. Called a special because it had six stud wheels instead of five, the truck was equipped with a flathead V-8, 90-hp, 4-speed transmission and a 2-speed rear axle, and a homemade 30-foot trailer with a 2-ton Ford rear end for a axle. (The trailer was a piece of junk). That summer Ceccon used the truck and trailer to haul power poles. The poles were peeled in the bush and trucked 35 to 40 miles into Princeton, where they were loaded onto railway cars for shipping.

The winter of 1951-52 was a bad one, Ceccon recalls. There was a lot of snow and very cold weather, -40 F below, so there were many days of no work for the truck, he said.

In the spring of 1952, Ceccon sold the 1944 Ford to buy a Ford F-6 with a 4-speed transmission and a 2-speed rear axle. The truck had a flat deck, and Rollo used it to haul timbers for a nearby mine as well as logs to a local sawmill. The logs were 16 feet log, and the truck usually carried around 2,000 board feet. This was a typical 1950's load, which was at least 2 times more than legal.

As fall approached, Ceccon's neighbor, who was the mine superintendent, asked Rollo what he was going to do all winter. He suggested that Rollo go to see J.B. Logan, a subcontractor for Granby Mining. Granby was changing from underground to open-pit mining at the copper mine. Ceccon was told to get a 4 to 5 yard dump box and be ready to work by the first of November. In this part of the country it get's cold, about minus 30 from December to February. So Rollo got hold of Ford and they said to put in 10 weight oil and sold me the biggest battery they could get. The truck started every day, and usually had to pull start the other six trucks on the haul. Ceccon's Ford was the newest truck on the mountain. The other trucks were older Dodges, Fords and Chevys, he remembers. The haul was about two miles to the fine ore bin, downhill at a 9% to 12% grade. Each load- a high grade ore that was blended at the fine ore bin with a low-grade ore from underground weighed about tons. The job lasted for about a year and Ceccon recalls that he was paid $4.00 per hour.

In the summer of 1953, the company decided to change over to 5-ton trucks in order to haul 12 tons on a load. The new rate would be $6.00 per hour. Ceccon traded in the F-6 for a year old 1952 Ford F-8 with a Cargo King 317 cu in Valve-in-head motor,155-hp at 3,900 rpm, and 284 lb-feet torque at 1700-2000 rpm. The F-8 had a 5 speed transmission, 2-speed rear axle, and 10.00x20 tires. Ceccon also had a 8-yard rock box installed.

There were now 12 trucks on the copper ore haul. Ceccon had been working for a year and half, six days a week, with no break. He asked the mine manager for a 2 week holiday, and offered to have his brother Les drive his truck in his absence. The mine manager said that is good since he is probably a better driver anyway. When Rollo returned from his holiday he asked his brother how things were going, he said fine, except you got fired. The mine manager told him "Anyone that can afford a holiday to Mexico does not have to work here". When Ceccon arrived at the mine to get his truck, he was stopped at the gate. "Since you have a good new truck you might as well stay and work," the mine manager said. If he could have foreseen the future, Rollo Ceccon might have left then. Things were fine until November 10, 1954, first trip in the morning Rollo was backing up to dump a load of copper ore, when the platform gave way. His truck plunged 250 feet to the bottom of the glory hole. Ceccon was thrown from the truck. The truck continued down further. The next truck to dump stopped for some unknown reason and the driver got out to look since something looked different, when he looked over the edge he saw a truck at the bottom. He knew by the look of the truck, that something serious was wrong. By the time the truck driver drove back to the pit and get help, a basket stretcher and lots of rope, it took all the men over 4 hours to rescue Rollo from the bottom of the glory hole. Rollo was rushed to Vancouver General hospital. He had a broken back with six crushed vertebrae, broken ribs, a broken leg and a gash on his head that required over 100 stitches. Ceccon was in a body cast for the next 3 years. His wedding, scheduled to take place in March 1955, was put on hold. Rollo got married two years later on crutches.

In July 1955 after Rollo got his insurance money he went out and bought a used Fargo 3 ton, it was a very nice truck for its time. Since Rollo was still in a body cast he had his brother Les drive the truck. The truck had a dump box on it and Les was hauling coal from Blakeburn to steam plants in Princeton and Copper Mountain. The Fargo with its 6-cylinder engine did not do well on this haul. There was 6 miles of down hill to Coalmont, then 18 miles of up and down to Princeton. The engine lasted only 6 weeks then it was replaced, after 6 more weeks the engine blew up again. After the 3rd engine Rollo realized that they were not doing very good. Ceccon traded in the Fargo for a new 3-ton Ford with a flathead V-8. The next year he bought a new F-800 Ford with a 332 c.i. V-8, 200 hp, and a 10 yard coal box, and had two trucks on the road.

In March 1957, both the copper mine and the coal mine had closed. There were 20 trucks in the small town of Princeton, and jobs were hard to find. Rollo and Les Ceccon worked on some government highway construction projects, then bought a small loader backhoe and a screening plant and began producing aggregate for concrete and driveways. As the company grew Ceccon bought a second backhoe and a third truck, a 5-ton Mercury. Since Rollo was already producing aggregate for concrete it just the right time to buy two more trucks with red-mixers and a small cement plant.

In 1960, the Ceccon brothers started working for the forest service and added a Hough loader and two more trucks to their fleet. They were kept busy around town, but also bought a tandem highway truck to haul castings from a local foundry to places all over the province.

The next summer a new copper mine opened 100 miles north of Princeton. Ceccon Trucking went north with the 2-yard Hough Payloader, a new Ford F-800, three single-axle trucks and the two backhoes. The Ceccon brothers worked at Bethlehem copper mine for nearly three years. In the winter of 1965, a huge rock slide closed the highway 65 miles of Princeton, 60 million tons of rock covered the highway for 1/2 mile. Princeton was the first town east of the Hope-Princeton slide so a new road had to be built. Ceccon trucking worked 4 trucks and 1 loader for 7 days 24 hrs a day until a tote road was in. Then the government brought in larger contractors with shovels and dozers to finish the job.

Over the next few years Ceccon added more equipment, including two new Super-Duty Ford 850 tandems with dump boxes, a new 850 Super-Duty with a 534 gas engine 277hp, and 5 and 4 transmissions for low bed work . This truck had to work hard moving D-7 and D-8 Cats around the mountain roads. Then bought its first diesel, an F-8000 extra heavy -duty. Ceccon Trucking went back to copper mine hauling at Bethlehem and Princeton at a new Newmont mine, and kept its aggregate trucks and road building trucks busy as well. In 1971 got a new Ford Louisville, Cat 3208 diesel, 5 and 4, and a 15 yard dump box. Now the fleet was 12 dump trucks,2 redi-mix, 1 low bed, 2 Cat loaders and 1 loader back-hoe.

In 1972, Ceccon Trucking was contacted by the Newmont mine to haul 30,000 cubic yards of rock for concrete aggregate, a 40 mile round trip. That summer the company bought a new Eljay cone crusher and a new 4-yard Cat loader, a second Louisville. Including some owner-operators there were 25 trucks on this haul.

Ceccon Trucking was still working for the Dept of highways, and had three loader. Most of there work was within 200 miles of Princeton. They did some work for the Canadian Pacific Railway, repairing washouts and cleaning slides from the railway. In the mid 70's Ceccon's crusher, loaders and trucks were kept busy making winter sand and crush, for different mines and the Highway Department. In 1975, the company bought a new truck with "real power" - a White Western Star with a Cat 1693 TA and a 15-speed transmission and a 14 yard pup trailer. They were kept busy hauling rip rap along the river to prevent washouts near Cawston.

The railway kept Ceccon Trucking busy during the spring and summer of 1977, cleaning up washouts and minor rocks slides that had caused a train to derail. Work was steady throughout the early 1980's and in 1985 Ceccon trucking began work on a new highway Coquihalla highway 100-mile stretch with other contractors.

In 1992, Rollo Ceccon started thinking about retiring. The next year he sold all his trucks and loaders to K&M Trucking, but kept the crusher and screening plant for two more years.

Today, Rollo Ceccon stills lives in Princeton B.C. where he maintains his shop and continues to operate one loader to plow snow in the winter for his friends. He seems to come by after I shovel my snow in my driveway.

Story by Hank Rabe
Is a house move 1950’s that is using two trucks to move or drag a house 5 blocks to a new location. I now live in this house. 1965 a cement pour for a new bridge over the Tulamem river. 1952 Ford F-8 getting loaded by a Northwest shovel, Copper Mt.

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