For the past couple months, StudeBaker Industries Ltd. in Mannville has been displaying a large fake-plane-crash as a way to demonstrate free thinking and people’s ability to ‘clip the wings off COVID’.
The display sits visible for anyone entering the community and works as a message to let people know not to depend on all the ‘smoke and mirrors’ they see around them, (and that although COVID does affect some people) owner Ryan Baker wants to ground it and put some reality back in the situation.
“COVID is snuffing out rural communities,” said Baker.
“It’s having way too much control on everybody’s daily lives. The industries COVID has shut down is unreal – from oilfield to civil and road construction, it’s all of the yellow paint industries.
“If it wasn’t for farmers and people needing to eat, we might be struggling even worse. With four big trucks currently in the shop, three of them are Ag-based.”
He said the pandemic has severely affected their supply chains. Every time someone had a COVID scare they would stop their shipments because people were either being quarantined or isolated.
For example, their orders for Fleetguard filters (owned by Cummins) come from the United States. Because the company had been ordered to close for over a month, he said they are now still seeing the result in the supply chains with everything trickling down.
“For something that has a survival rate over 90 per cent, why are we taking away people’s livelihoods? There are a lot of families that have no options,” said Baker.
A friend had sent him a message about the plane to him on Facebook-marketplace and he had the deal made the same day. When his wife saw it, he said she threw her hands up in the air, questioned him and said, “Of course you found a plane.”
He knew it was good for something, and said eventually the phrase, ‘clip the wings off COVID’ came to mind and that was that.
Baker has been in business for approximately 10 years, and opened his new mechanical, welding, and fabrication shop in Mannville in May of 2020, having previously rented outside of town. Having been suppressed by COVID the whole time, they might reach their anniversary before they are even able to host a grand opening.
Regardless, Baker loves coming to work at his new shop and having everything function the way he built it. He is really passionate about his trade as well as working with the people in the community and finding ways to meet their needs.
“If you can dream it, you can build it,” said Baker.
“The thing I like about the old vehicles is that they always come with a story – some with memories from the owner’s youth or of their family’s adventures together.”
He said one family was restoring an old car after their father’s passing as a way to remember him by. Another person brought in an old tractor to be put to use just like they used to.
One old truck was pulled out of a barn after over 40 years. The family is wanting to drive it again, cherishing when they learned to drive, do chores, or go to town.
“When the family settled here after the war, they used it for everything. The last registration reads 1971, and we hope to renew it for their dad’s 95th birthday making it ready to drive this summer,” said Baker.
StudeBaker will be leaving all of the original marks and dents in place, just polishing the outside and refinishing the interior.
Aside from work in the shop, StudeBaker also covers a service area from Hardisty to Lac La Biche, and from Vegreville to Lloydminster.