Memory Lanes

Lucinda Coulter | September 01, 2011
Jack Daniels, left, has grown the reefer fleet his father, Richard Daniels, right, owned after he started as an ice hauler in the 1950s.

“Even pay phones were hard to find then,” Jack says of that first haul his father made – in an International with a 28-foot single-axle trailer attached.

“Top speed on that truck was 50 mph wide open,” Richard, now 80, says. “Pickups now are bigger than what I started driving.”

After starting as a small-truck ice hauler in Florida, owner-operator Richard returned to Ohio and headed a small brokerage firm in Akron, which became Kandel Transport. He retired in 1992. Jack expanded the reefer carrier to more than 40 trucks. Richard still makes occasional short hauls for Kandel.

Jack inherited his dad’s high expectations and work ethic: “Flash has no place in a business owner’s life. Dad taught me that it’s important for me, my managers and dispatchers to get in a truck and do the real business of trucking once in a while.”

He says having the same name as the legendary whiskey hasn’t hurt business, either, especially at food conferences, where his name often jump-starts introductions: “It’s really fun.”

DOUG BEUTLER: Knee-high in a Kenworth

“I’ve been hooked on trucks since age 3, when I rode next to my dad while he delivered milk. As a milk hauler in the early 1970s, he worked every other day and ran our farm on his off days.

Utah native Doug Beutler became an owner-operator in 1990 and retrofitted a 2000 International 9400i to haul mobile homes.

“As a preteen, I learned to drive my dad’s 1978 Kenworth W900A sitting on his knee. I started out in the driver’s seat shifting gears for him, and as we gained speed, the two of us switched seats so he could take the wheel.

“I was backing into the farmers’ yards and driving on back roads by the time I was 14. At 15, I was driving most of the route, and got a job at a farm tractor dealership washing equipment at 16. Pretty soon, I was driving a truck for the dealership, hauling a lot of huge tractors and swathers with 16-foot headers.

“My dad always had Overdrive in our house, and I looked forward to seeing the Tractor of the Month and the Model of the Month even more so since I was a modeler. After I got married, the first magazine I subscribed to was Overdrive.”

BRUCE WIESER: A mural’s inspiration

One day in 1987, Bruce Wieser was fueling at an Ontario, Calif., truck stop when an Overdrive editor approached him and said, “I like your truck,” Wieser recalls. Murals of a Native American chieftain and squaw intrigued then-Managing Editor John Cargile, and Wieser agreed to be interviewed at the old NASCAR speedway in Ontario.

  • Nervous Wreck

    I drove for them for over 10 years. Knew everyone back then. We even kidnapped Shendals dog for a joke once. Grady was in charge of keeping everything clean. Played many a pool game in the drivers lounge. Was there when they had a wreck in Walton, NY when the brakes on a truck gave out. Remember the Hamburger brothers, Marty, Red, Gary Smith, etc? strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.