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This article was published 30/7/2018 (821 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Boler is coming home.
This month, hundreds of vintage trailer enthusiasts from across North America will converge on Red River Exhibition Park to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic moulded fibreglass camper.
Nicknamed an "egg on wheels" and based on the design of a septic tank, the Boler was invented and manufactured in Winnipeg from 1968 to 1988. Inventor Ray Olecko and his business partners Sandor Dusa and Erwin Krieg were inspired to create a camper that was light and durable — five decades later those fundamental ideas are still gaining fanfare.
"It’s light to pull and it’s cute as a button, but I think I love it more than any of those logical reasons," Wolseley resident Lori Anderson said of her blue and white 1969 Boler named Poco. "It’s like being a turtle — you have your home on your back."
Anderson’s trailer will be one of more than 400 Bolers camped out at the Ex grounds from Aug. 15 to 19.
While Boler meetups aren’t a new concept, event organizer Ian Giles said the 50th anniversary warranted special treatment.
"I just decided that we had to do something to celebrate this unique piece of Canadian history," Giles said from his home in Calgary, Alta.
Participants are caravanning to Winnipeg for the five day convention that is part social gathering, part tradeshow and part public showcase. Restoration, camping and lifestyle workshops, as well as entertainment, are scheduled for Boler owners from Wednesday to Thursday and the park will open to the public on Saturday.
"The whole event is focused around the people, the trailers are our common interest and bring us together," said Giles, who has attended "Boleramas" across western Canada and into the United States. "It is such a cool community."
Boler owners are an active bunch online and Anderson is looking forward to putting faces to screen names at the 50th anniversary celebration.
"The community of Boler owners seems like they’re going to be a wonderful group of people to meet in person," she said. "Everyone is very supportive, we all know the difficulty of finding parts and doing repairs and we all help each other.
"Customization is a big part of Boler culture as well, with many owners changing the layout of the 13-foot long trailers to meet their needs. In order to realize his Boler dreams, St. Vital resident Rick Mooyman travelled to Fernie, B.C., several years ago to purchase a trailer.
"My goal was that I wanted a queen-sized bed in the back," said Mooyman, who is one of the co-organizers of the 50th event. "Now, I’ve got a complete custom Boler that no-one else in the world has."
While the popularity, and price, of Bolers has skyrocketed in recent years, Mooyman has a word of advice for interested shoppers.
"If you don’t like talking to people, don’t buy one," he said jokingly. "As soon as someone sees a Boler it’s like a magnet, everyone is attracted to it."
Visit myboler.com for ticket information and a full schedule of events.
Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.
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