This profile is part of a multi-part series profiling the seven Pride & Polish winners from the 2020 virtual Pride & Polish photo contest in August.
Husband-wife team Kris and Casey Keel ran “Pit Bull,” a 2019 Peterbilt 389, for just over two years before retiring it the first week of September in favor of a new truck, but the old dog still had enough tricks up its sleeve to earn a Pride & Polish win.
The couple bought the 2019 Pete through Steelman Transportation in Springfield, Missouri, and racked up more than 450,000 miles since June 2018 before retiring it.
“Casey designed everything on the truck,” Kris said. “She came up with everything, and this is how it turned out. Her idea was to make me look good.”
The truck’s name and the name of the Keels’ operation, Pit Bull Express, come from the two pit bulls that ride with the team. Kris said the truck “belongs to his girls. I’m just their chauffeur.”
When they ordered the truck, they wanted a certain color, but it wasn’t available at the time. When it came in, Kris said, a friend of his who is a Steelman shop foreman sent a picture of a bright green toolbox next to the truck, which the Keels thought was a perfect match.
Because they ran so hard with the truck, the Keels didn’t do much in the way of customization apart from the paint scheme. They added American Racing OTR Wheels, a headache rack and half-fenders.
“We kept the interior basically stock,” Kris said. “The new truck we’re working on, we will eventually work on the interior.”
Kris has been driving trucks for nearly 30 years. He became an owner- operator in 2002, then got sick and began working as a company driver. He and Casey bought “Pit Bull” in 2018 and became owner-operators again. They run coast-to-coast pulling a flatbed.