Channel 19

Todd Dills

‘American Trucker’ premieres on SPEED channel Feb. 24 — with a familiar face

| January 06, 2011

Imagine my surprise when, upon clicking over to a YouTube preview of SPEED’s upcoming “American Trucker” series, I came upon a familiar face within the first several seconds. That face was Sparta, Wis.-based Paul Sagehorn (pictured here with his father, Craig), owner-operator of two classic pop-culture Kenworths, one employed in the filming of the Movin’ On TV series in the 1970s, the other, more recent acquisition (and which I’ve written about extensively in the past several years) a K100 cabover featured in the B.J. and the Bear series.

The truck the Sagehorns are standing next to above, in turn, is a B.J. and the Bear replica Paul owns as well. For the first episode of the new series, premiering Thursday, Feb. 24, at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET, and running weekly thereafter, host Robb Mariani (pictured, below), a longtime trucking enthusiast, follows Sagehorn through restoration of the original B.J. reefer unit and trailer and as he takes the truck and trailer for a visit to the originating Kenworth manufacturing facility in Chillicothe, Ohio.

If you missed my last reporting on the rig’s restoration in 2008, Sagehorn found all manner of interesting features when he tore down the rig, and managed to track down several builders via various clues they left in signatures on hidden parts of the truck. On the back of the fifth-wheel plate, for instance, welder William Sorell tagged with welding solder “B.J. & the Bear, By W.S.” (also pictured). You can see Sorrell in the preview clip below (he’s the longer-haired gent at the plant about 2 min., 48 sec., in who says, “I would have never dreamed something like that would come home 30 years later”).

Says Sagehorn, “The plant event was July 24 [last year]. It was a good experience. We met with some of the people that worked on the truck, [including] Tom Hice, the guy you tracked down at the plant that painted the inside of the cab. He ended up giving us a tour of the plant.”

All in all, a fitting end to a long-evolving story. Enjoy the clip below, and for more about the series, visit the website.

  • Michael Bennett

    How does one get audition for the show. I travel all over North America delivering travel trailers , I have a pretty tricked out truck , with many comforts of home now built in .

    Full rear air ride, 3000 watts ac 110 power , microwave , flat screen , 23″ GPS screen , coffee pot , home computer ,100 gallon fuel cell under body , twin 5″ stacks behind cab corners – outside of body , cab widened 14″ to allow for inside cab behind driver to be a legal D.O.T. sleeper birth that sleeps two comfortable , food and clothing storage under bed 6’5″ wide inside , with electric 110 volt heat for those 20 degrees below zero nights that are so common in Canada.
    The truck is a 2000 Ford 4×4 7.3 Diesel shortbed fleetside extended cab with a boost controlled ,varible propane injection for the added get up and get the hell gone that is sometimes needed.

    I haul both bumper as well as fifth wheel units up to and exceeding 45 feet , all lower 48 states and to all paets of Canada in all weather,

    [ My specialty is driving in the ice and snow as I am from Maine where I grew up driving on these kind of roads as a norm .]

    Truck has just turned half a million miles , 400,000 towing miles I am on way to Calgary Canada tonight. Heard about your new show on satalite radio also in truck as well as the wireless internet.
    sincerely Michael Bennett

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  • roy e.

    if you are looking for parts for your ford WT9000 you might want to check out a company called H.O.Wolding out of northern Wisconsinamd hauledproduce to wisconsin from the south and had a fleet of FOrds simular to your that were a mint green with tag axles and V6 detroit and a tan color interior. and I believe that had bud wheels upfront and dayton hweels in the back.

  • A J Millico

    What a great show will be looking forward to more..

  • nick nicholson

    doyouoverhaulkw mytruckneadshelpmalabarfl 321-952-7611

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  • M. Martin

    B.J.’s Truck is nice but check out the Truck from the T.V. show “The Highwayman” it is being Auctioned off on a Online Auction bidding ends March 31,2011 at

  • Steve


    I’m digging the new AT show, myself. :)

    Personally, I’m not a trucker, but a “roadgeek” who appreciates the highways and byways and always thought “big rigs” were cool.

    BTW, I saw the “Bandit and the Snowman” ep where Robb and crew played “mythbuster” by proving you could go from Atlanta to Texarkana (and back) in 28 hours. I’m a little skeptical as to whether or not they really did, especially when they were in Memphis and claimed that they could make Atlanta in 3.5 hours from there. Perhaps they truly got the round trip done in less than 28 hours, but nonetheless, I remain skeptical, especially considering that there would have been weigh stations along US 78 (Future I-22) at either end of its run thru Mississippi. Just my thoughts.

    Kudos on your blog and I’ll be subbing.

    Take care and God bless!

    Steve :)

  • Doug Schaub

    I think an episode on David Hodgeman and Southern Pride Trucking would be very interesting starting with his Mean Green Money Machine to now. A Great story for sure!!!!! Oh yeah all the trucks they use are incredible.
    Love Your Show Thanks

  • Johnny

    The Highwayman Truck @ is awesome!!! Wonder how much it will go for!!!!

  • Tom Nichols

    Why dont you do a show on my ’94 L9000. I picked it up last year in Alabama w/ 25,000 ORIGINAL MILES on it. CAT 3406c MECHANICAL. SPOTLESS. Tricked it out and hauling Caterpillar equipment everyday for Ohio Cat. Pulls a new Trailking Hydraulic Detachable Gooseneck. The Ford Lapis Blue paintjob sparkles. Twin 5″ stacks mounted on the cab side of a Merritt headache rack. Hendrickson Spring suspension, air locking tandem axles w/ a 3.90. A 9 speed H pattern Eaton Fuller 2 speed. Heavy spec 18k front & 46k rears. Twin steering boxes. Wetline. Alcoas. Did i mention the 3406c w/ 25,000 original miles? Come ride along as I deliver new CAT Equipment to interesting customers all over Ohio. Thanks and New Cat Hats for you and your crew if you come back to Ohio. T Nichols

  • Steve Hixson

    What about the rig from SMOKEY & THE BANDIT – the trucker you spoke to at the TRUCK STOP that knew where one was in ARKANSAS out in a field – has anyone looked into this?????

  • Todd Dills

    American Trucker’s March 10 and 11 broadcasts will be focused on a rebuild of a 1983 Peterbilt 362 cabover for an active Special Forces soldier (10 p.m. Thursday, 1 a.m. and 10 a.m. Friday) and “Bandit and the Snowman”, the retracing of the Texarkana-to-Atlanta run in Smokey and the Bandit (10:30 p.m. Thursday, 1:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Friday). All times Eastern above. For full schedule throughout the next week, visit this page:

  • Robert Ogden

    Hay I always watch the show on sunday morn. love it . I’am a owner operator and always wanted a tricked out truck. Whats the chances.

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  • curtis o ray

    trucking is all i know.3rd generation.trucks made our lives worth living.i love semis from bottom to top.any truck will do as long as it smeels like diesel and rubber.have you grooved a tire out latly to make it last longer.have you seen fire from a stack on a misty morning.burn baby the new it love it.

  • Lyle j Brown

    First of Great! show i’ve been a driver for 19yrs now and i was over joy’ed to see a TV show about big rigs, that show was Trick My T ruck but your show Robb blow’s it out of the water when i saw the first episod i was delighted to see a guy going around our great country finding all of the stars of the TV show’s i grew up watching the TRUCKS! and all of the everyday assphalt cowboy’s out there moveing frieght across these United States.Keep on trucking.(crawfish).

  • George Frankenfield

    Geez ! I thought I was the one to get
    excited to see trucks.
    Looks like I met my match.
    Keep up the great work ROBB.
    Thanks for bringing back the memories
    of being a kid & watching MOVIN ON !
    Please keep showing the old trucks.
    Brockway Etc!
    Thank’s George

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  • Jim Niedermaier

    I wound love you costomzed my 1963 mack diesel it will at Flomham park, NJ truck show JUNE 6 I love your show show more Macks & GMC cabovers keep up the good work

  • Patrick Stanley

    I was watching the new American Trucker show where Robb is at the trucker school and I had to laugh at the fact that they are actually double shifting. Yea, I know that when u take your driving test u have to double shift but come on, at least say that the majority of the time when u r shifting now-a-days nobody double shifts anymore or at least they shouldnot. If u are not cooridinated enough to shift without double shifting u should not be on the road. I have been a owner operator for over 20 years and I shift and down shift using the accelerator and shifting w/o clutching. Let me know if I am the only one doing this.

  • Steve Monroe

    I just wanted to say that this is one of the coolest shows I have seen on TV in a long time. I really enjoyed the episode with the B.J. and the Bear restoration, when Robb walked around the front of the truck as it sat in the shop and I saw the green W-9 sitting beside it that made my day! I have almost 20 years driving now and those 2 shows ( Movin On and B.J. and the Bear ) are a big reason for that. I have been fascinated with trucks my whole life and always will be. Thanks to the people producing this show for putting it out there for all those who otherwise might never know anything about drivers or trucks other than we are ” always in there way “. I hope this show will put a different light on us and what we do

  • Steve Monroe

    I just wanted to say that this is one of the coolest shows I have seen on TV in a long time. I really enjoyed the episode with the B.J. and the Bear restoration, when Robb walked around the front of the truck as it sat in the shop and I saw the green W-9 sitting beside it that made my day! I have almost 20 years driving now and those 2 shows ( Movin On and B.J. and the Bear ) are a big reason for that. I have been fascinated with trucks my whole life and always will be. Thanks to the people producing this show for putting it out there for all those who otherwise might never know anything about drivers or trucks other than we are ” always in there way “. I hope this show will put a different light on us and what we do everyday. To Patrick Stanley , I got a good laugh out of the whole clutch thing too!

  • Robbie Burleson

    Clutches are for starting and stopping not shifting

  • chris blais

    i no where there is a wt9000 just like yours intact.if you would like more information you could email me .this weekend i will talk to the owner and find out what he is doing with the truck.i will take pics as well.

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  • Gerald Ingham

    I just got done watching the episode on UPS. DISGUSTING!! Those are nothing more then steering wheel holding machines. No freedom, No pride, nothing but making sure you dont vary from the corporate time schedule that tell you how long you have to handle each package. Glad I am an O/O!!!

  • alley cat

    the episode about nasa 1967 narrow nose peterbilts when did thay have round doors mine has square doors do you guys know the differnce Ive owned mine for 37 years and the doors are still square? am I the only one who noticed?

  • dan aguinaga

    to brother rob,

    i am a fan of your show. i`ve been watching for a while and yeah trucking is what i was born into. i`m retired now and have been a trucker from the start. grandfather was a trucker when the wheels/rims we`re made out of wood. my dad was a WW2 survivor and his brother Raymond was a veteran from the Korean war, uncle Ray was also a owner operator, and my father was teamster from the start.

    i followed my uncles lead and got my own truck thanks to my family(mom) my father wanted his own truck but when he started having his family he chose to stay a teamster and be a backer to his brother on his adventure in owner operator.

    long history but a quick synopsis is that my father died when i was 14 he was murdered. but after a while of struggling my family came out alright ,..thanks to faith and prayers. enough about me,

    i just watched the episodes of the Joplin and the freightliner plant . they both moved my heart, especially watching what has happened to Joplin, mainly because of it being here in our homeland.

    i gotta say thank you for showing the truckers side of things ,..and really i like to think of the USA as a big family, yeah we all don’t think we are in heaven but the majority of the truckers are a great family, also friendly and god fearing hard working people.

    “Followed dreams”


    fathers brothers sons cousins
    daughters sisters nieces lovers.
    either its in your blood or its not,

    the choice was made from the day your born,
    its like life blood that’s in your veins,
    some clean some polish and some just want to drive,

    from the drivers seat to shotgun its hard to quit,
    once you`ve tasted it, its like a drug
    it might even be what keeps you alive,

    truckers are rare breed
    either its in you or its not,


    from my grandfather to my father
    to my uncles and cousins now nephews ,..

    followed dreams

    now i`m watching as trucks go by,

    driverdan,..owner-operator retired.

  • wayne f. dguck

    We were told that pictures of the ATHS Truck Show in South Bend IN were to be shown in August 2011. I have seen all the shows.I havn’t seen it yet. Do you have any idea when they are going to be aired.
    Thanks Wayne

  • kevin tinkous

    hey rob i might have what ur looking for .my uncle has a cabover ford w series sleeper .it drives fine and its all together complete.350 cummings 13 speed trny you can probubly drive it home.he bought it new and ran over the rd and my dad had an old emeryville int with a 290 cummings.he was in an accident in early 70s with a fatality and quit ovr the 1986 we changed the cab on it from a steel cab that rotted out to a alluminum of 6 yrs ago he still ran it pulling a lime trlr cause he ownes a lime company and a trk repair shop.get ahold of me if interested.

  • Walter Nepia

    Sorry but as a Kiwi living in Aussie I think your post smacks of “Look at me ,no hands” arrogance regarding “Double declutching” . Having grown up around trucks & being a driver for near 30 years I too drive without the clutch. I learnt to drive in twin stick (aux box)trucks of 180hp pulling (in your language) 80,000lbs up 17% grades in NZ.Although my teachers would do clutchless flat changes Or exaust/jake change I would get smacked across the head if I tried it too & another for taking my eye off the road because I was still stunned from that 1st punch. The old adage of crawling before walking was the reason. Due to the terrain we would have to sometimes skip 4 gears at a time both up & down the box(es)as it would be near impossible to chase the box 1 or even 2 gears at a time. Been in Australia 15 years now & drive for my brother (one of my hard out teachers) in a Constellation 620hp Signature 22 series 18 speed towing triple roadtrains at 175 feet long & grossing 310,000lbs in 120+ degree ambient temp. I would love it if u were to come here & show me how its done properly because u r so experienced but I suspect the 1st 6% grade we hit will have u flustered let alone backing the 2 trailers onto the third.Maybe you’d be able to handle the other combination I tow as it only a 2 trailer roadtrain however each trailer is 69 feet long but with 20 years as an OD doing clutchless shifts it shouldn’t be a problem p.s over the years I have operated Fuller 9,10,13(under & overdrives + direct versions,15 & 18spd (including autoshift),Eaton 12spd Twin splitter, Spicer 10,12,14,18 & 20 spd, Rockwell 13spd, Mack 6,9,10,12 & 18spd (including 5×4 Quadruplex),ZF 9,12 & 16spd ecosplit ,Volvo 12,14 & 16spd (including geartronic & Ishift),Scania 10,12 & 14spd (including Opticruise),Turner 5 & 6spd (with eaton 2 spd diffs),Nissan 9,10 & 12 spd, Mitsubishi 10spd, Ford/Hino 7 spd oh & before I forget Alisons. Please tell me if I missed any because there have also been some obscure ones I’ve forgotten over the years. Now was there anything else u wanted to brag about?

  • ronald roe

    the show about the nasa trucks.i hate to tell the host but the peterbilts were not 1967 models because of the door handles was on the bottom of the was in 1974 when peterbilt first put the door handles on the bottom.the door handles was at the top just under the window and pulled down.and iam sorry to say that your host is a bad rep for the american trucker.thank you very much

  • bobby baublits

    The host sucks. You never go to a car wreck wear there are DEAD people and say: THIS IS DEAD SERIOUS. How rude to keep saying it over n …… strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.