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This article was published 16/8/2018 (830 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Brandon campgrounds were booming with Bolers Tuesday night, as a caravan of the beloved campers made their way through town.
The Bolers are heading to Winnipeg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic moulded fibreglass trailer in the place where it all began.
"Most of (the Bolers) are 40 to 50 years old," said Louise Pimlott, who was travelling to Winnipeg from Vancouver Island with her Boler of six years.
"That’s what’s amazing about them, is they’re still going … and every one you will see is different. They fit the person who is using it."
The famous "egg on wheels" was invented and manufactured in Winnipeg from 1968 to 1988, during which time approximately 10,000 units were sold.
Inventor Ray Olecko and his business partners, Sandor Dusa and Erwin Krieg, wanted to create a camper that was light and durable, and it is said that Olecko’s proudest moment was when he invented the Boler.
Fifty years later, the Boler has maintained and even gained a following of dedicated enthusiasts.
Part of the draw to a Boler, Pimlott said, is its customizability.
Updated turquoise and green cupboards are the main focus of Pimlott’s white Boler to anyone who peeks in the door, framed by a customized dinette tucked on one side where a set of bunk beds used to be, and a double bed on the other.
After seeing another Boler with vinyl flowers emblazoned on the side, Pimlott added flowers and butterflies to hers.
"You copy each other’s ideas … they are just so fun," Pimlott said.
Pimlott also likes how simple the Boler is to hook up and transport.
"It’s 900 pounds dry weight. It’s like having two fat people in your back seat," Pimlott said, laughing. "Well, maybe three."
Shaun Conkle, co-chair of the Island Bolers and Friends Association on Vancouver Island, said they catch a lot of attention when he and his wife, Nicole, are on a road trip in the United States — especially from owners of larger mobile homes.
"I had one guy ask how much (the Boler) costs in fuel, so I asked him how much it cost to fill up his bus. He said it was about $700 to $800 to fill, and I told him that was our budget for the whole trip … his jaw just dropped," Conkle said. "With the way the gas prices are going, it’s the way to go. It used to be bigger was better, now it’s smaller is better."
While the Conkles have kept their Boler true to its original form, Shaun Conkle said they are looking forward to seeing what others have done to deck out theirs.
More than 450 Bolers from all over North America are expected to gather at the Red River Exhibition Park for the five-day convention, Conkle said. Restoration, camping and lifestyle workshops, live music, and a beer and wine garden are scheduled for Boler owners today though Thursday and the park will open to the public on Saturday.
"We all just love show and tell," Conkle said, laughing. "We love getting ideas of what to do next on our trailer. We build to-do lists every time we meet up."
This is also the first time some of the Island Bolers and Friends Association members — the Conkles included — have driven this far east.
"We’ve only had two casualties — and what I mean by that is that their vehicles broke down, not their Bolers, and they had to turn around," Nicole said. "Otherwise, it’s been fantastic, it’s been an amazing trip so far … The caravan’s gone really well."
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