George Jennex (left) and Len Butler, Conservation Inspector of the Thompson Cariboo Region (middle), show off Jennex’s Shurlock hitches in Williams Lake. The improved safety of the hitch will help reduce hitch decoupling and prevent theft on Conservation trucks in the Cariboo. (Monica Lamb-Yorski Photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

George Jennex (left) and Len Butler, Conservation Inspector of the Thompson Cariboo Region (middle), show off Jennex’s Shurlock hitches in Williams Lake. The improved safety of the hitch will help reduce hitch decoupling and prevent theft on Conservation trucks in the Cariboo. (Monica Lamb-Yorski Photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Quesnel inventor’s hitches now being used by Cariboo BC Conservation officers

George Jennex’s Shurlock hitches have found a home on Cariboo conservation vehicles

Conservation officer trucks across the Cariboo will be equipped with a trailer hitch invented in the Cariboo.

George Jennex of Quesnel is the inventor of the Shurlock Safety Hitch, which he says is an improvement on the common ball hitch by offering a fail-safe to ensure it will always stay attached.

The hitch uses a slide-plate tongue and tower to stop separations. It’s also makes it more difficult to steal trailers.

The fact that it is a made-in-Quesnel product designed by a local resident is just a bonus.

READ MORE: One year on: Quesnel inventor starts local factory

“We’ve got officers picking up trailers all over the place, and the maintenance is not always the best on the receivers or the trailer itself,” said Len Butler, inspector for the Thompson Cariboo Region with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service,who accepted the first delivery of hitches in Williams Lake recently.

“You hit speedy bumps or dirt and heavy road, and hitches fail,” Jennex said, adding he’s heard of occupied live bear traps coming off of regular ball hitches.

According to dangerous trailers.org, over 500 people are killed in crashes caused by trailers falling off a hitch in the United States each year. Jennex said the Canadian government doesn’t track those kind of statistics.

“George has been a very good salesman, but it’s not the salesman part, it’s the data he’s provided on the number of accidents and injuries and deaths over the past number of years,” Butler said.

Now 76, Jennex recalled a time when he was towing something using his invention and had a tire blowout at 100 km/h. He was inspired to create the hitch after he lost control of a car he was towing in 1968.

“It crushed the frame of my trailer, and sparks were coming, and I was able to get it off the highway because it didn’t separate, I still had complete control of it,” Jennex said.

Everything except for the ball and pins are manufactured at Jennex’s shop in Quesnel. Jennex noted he has a manufacturing plant in Iowa and warehouses across Canada ready to go to meet anticipated demand.

Jennex is also planning a petition to give to government to improve trailer safety on Canadian roads.

READ MORE: Quesnel inventor is making ball-hitch history

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


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