Since the time he had his first Hot Wheels toy as a child, Bradley McPherson had a passion for cars.
As he grew, he’d often tinker with engines with his dad, and when he got older, would regularly go to car shows to ogle other people’s rides. Trucks, low-riders, motorcycles, hot rods – he loved them all.
Of course, he owned a series of his own vehicles as well. The last was a customized 1980 GMC Chevy shortbox truck.
“He’s always had cars, trucks… he was always working on them just as a hobby,” said his mom, Susan Simning (below, with McPherson).
“If you showed up, he would detail the nines out of your car without you even asking.”
Her son’s weakness for wheels made the theme for an upcoming memorial fundraiser in McPherson’s name an easy choice.
“Like rubber to asphalt, you left your mark…” reads the flyer promoting the Aug. 24 show-and-shine event in Cloverdale.
McPherson, 28, was shot to death at an after-hours Christmas Eve house party in Surrey in 2011.
Always the guy who would stand up for others, said his mom, he spoke up when he saw someone being disrespectful to one of the party guests.
His intervention, however, wasn’t appreciated by everyone and a gun was turned on him.
In April of this year, Surrey’s Russell Bidesi was charged in the murder. A trial has yet to be scheduled.
Simning said the show-and-shine will have everything McPherson would have wanted, welcoming cars, trucks and motorbikes ($20 per vehicle, passengers $5 each, $5 walk-ins), and prizes will be awarded for best of show, best custom, and people’s choice.
There will also be live entertainment, a beer garden, silent auction and 50/50 draw. Representatives from BC Victim Services, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, and Crime Stoppers have also been invited.
Proceeds from the all-day fundraiser will go toward scholarships for students at two schools – North Delta Secondary, where McPherson graduated, and Clayton Heights Secondary, where his sister is graduating next June.
Simning said because her son had ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), the scholarships will go to kids with similar learning needs.
“We first got him diagnosed when he was three-and-a-half because he wasn’t speaking well,” Simning recalled. “He struggled all through school.”
But McPherson didn’t let it hold him back from doing anything, his mom said.
“He made it work and he never gave up. He just kept on going and kept on going. He never let it crush him down.”
Simning said if her son could see the event being organized in his honour, he’d be ecstatic.
“I think he’s probably just blown away,” she said. “I’m sure he’s amazed.”
The scholarship for ADHD students, she said, would also mean the world to him.
“For sure, because he knows – he struggled so many years.
“He loves kids. For him to know that it’s going to some other kids that made it all the way to grad, he’d love it.”
The Bradley McPherson Memorial Fundraiser takes place Aug. 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds (176 Street and 64 Avenue). For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org