VIDEO: Langley organizer of ‘Burnouts in the Sky’ memorial ride undeterred by reduced attendance

Murrayville resident Susan Simning has been organizing car-oriented fundraisers in memory of her son, Bradley McPherson, who was murdered in 2011. Before the Sunday, Aug. 22 ‘Burnouts in the sky’ event, Simning (right), posed with her daughter, Jennie McPherson (centre), son-in-law Robin Dodd and Jennie’s eight-year-old daughter Bradleigh Wynnyk-McPherson, who is named after her late uncle. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)Murrayville resident Susan Simning has been organizing car-oriented fundraisers in memory of her son, Bradley McPherson, who was murdered in 2011. Before the Sunday, Aug. 22 ‘Burnouts in the sky’ event, Simning (right), posed with her daughter, Jennie McPherson (centre), son-in-law Robin Dodd and Jennie’s eight-year-old daughter Bradleigh Wynnyk-McPherson, who is named after her late uncle. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Admirers look over one of the participating vehicles in the annual ‘Burnout in the sky’ event at the start of the drive in Langley on Sunday, Aug, 22. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)Admirers look over one of the participating vehicles in the annual ‘Burnout in the sky’ event at the start of the drive in Langley on Sunday, Aug, 22. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
One of the participating vehicles in the annual ‘Burnout in the sky’ event at the start of the drive in Langley on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)One of the participating vehicles in the annual ‘Burnout in the sky’ event at the start of the drive in Langley on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
One of the participating vehicles in the annual ‘Burnout in the sky’ event at the start of the drive in Langley on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)One of the participating vehicles in the annual ‘Burnout in the sky’ event at the start of the drive in Langley on Sunday, Aug. 22. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Numbers were down for this year’s “Burnouts in the Sky” fundraiser and related show and shine, but Langley organizer Susan Simning was not discouraged.

“I think people were a little scared of the pandemic,” commented Simning, who added the overcast weather was likely a factor as well.

Fifteen cars took part in the meet up and drive from Langley and about 40 attended the show and shine at Softball City in South Surrey on Sunday, Aug. 22.

Usually, the show and shine attracts between 200 and 300 participants, rolling up in hot rods, customs, muscle cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

“All in all, even though the numbers were low, we thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts who did make it out for joining the cruise and show – you all rock,” Simning wrote on the event Facebook page.

Simning, a Murrayville resident, also thanked Langley’s Aldor Acres farm for hosting a visit by the cars that included photo opportunities with a llama and a cow.

Simning is planning a “bigger and better event” next year which will mark the 10th anniversary of the death of her son, Bradley McPherson, who was shot and killed on Christmas Eve, 2011.

READ MORE: Man found guilty of murdering young Langley man

At a house party in Newton, the 28-year-old McPherson confronted a male guest who was harassing a female party-goer.

After leaving the party, the man returned. Not long after, McPherson was shot dead.

In 2018, Russell Atma Bidesi, 26, was found guilty of second-degree murder and given a life sentence with no parole eligibity for 15 years for the crime.

 

McPherson was planning to move to Langley, where he worked at the local Best Buy and in security, including the Merritt Mountain Music Festival.

He was a car aficionado who loved to do burnouts in his charcoal-coloured 1980 GMC short-box truck he named “Emma.”

As an annual tribute to her son, Simning has been helping to organize a memorial event called Burnouts in the Sky after his favourite pastime, a show that features the kind of cars and trucks McPherson loved and appreciated.

READ MORE: ‘Whirlwind of emotions’ at Burnouts in the Sky event

Over nine years, the Bradley McPherson Memorial Scholarship fund has raised more than $50,000, money that goes to provide scholarships to high school applicants who, like McPherson, have struggled with attention deficit disorder.

“We do one to two scholarships a year,” Simning estimated.

This year, Emma was driven by McPherson’s sister, Mariah Godard.

Simning is hoping to attract sponsors for the 10th anniversary “Burnouts’ event.

Anyone interested can reach her by email at burnoutsinthesky@gmail.com.


Is there more to the story? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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