Building on a Proud Legacy

Randy Grider | August 01, 2011

Bobby was the first to follow in his father’s footsteps by driving a truck while in high school. He has 43 years on the road and currently hauls oversize loads moving mining rigs.

“Trucking is all I’ve ever known,” he says. “We can’t have a function where trucking doesn’t come up. We’ve all got a lot of great memories.”

Perhaps no one has quite the perspective as 74-year-old Marlene, who raised many kids who are now in the industry and was a dutiful partner, companion and wife to her late husband.

“I’m proud of my family that went into truck, but I still worry about them when they are out there on the road,” she says.

But it’s Check, whose ashes were placed into a customized urn made from a chrome smoke stack and transported in the last truck he owned amid a funeral procession of six semis to his gravesite, whose memory is still center stage.

Asked about being named the Great American Trucking Family, Marlene, almost lost in thought, quietly says, “Trucking was [Check’s] life. He drove a truck in the Army and then when he got out he was always around trucks. He went to his resting place in a truck,” she says. “This award is a great memorial to Check. He would have been as proud as a peacock.”

Owner-Operator Strikes Gold in Sand

Steve Bixler has spent much of his career on the road. And like most owner-operators, he has seen his share of ups and downs.

Steve Bixler

Recently, however, he started a new trucking gig with a rare, lucrative upside. Imagine driving a truck and grossing six figures per year while logging only a few hundred miles per week. How about more than $5,000 per week for hauling a little sand?

Although he had been on the job only a few weeks when we talked in late May, Steve may have hit on a proverbial goldmine. To be more exact, it’s a gas mine.

Steve hauls sand for several subcontractors in northeastern Pennsylvania for hydraulic fracturing operations that use a mixture of sand and water to force gas from drilled wells.

“I pull a pneumatic trailer,” Steve says. “My cousin got me into this job. It pays so well because they can’t get enough trucks. One of them deals where because of the expense of the process, the company will pay whatever they have to to make sure they have trucks there when they have to.”

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