Yup wore out you're right it's not a job for the feint hearted or time wasters you need to be an oylmpic champ(fleet footed leap tall fences in a single bound), animal whisperer, a human GPS, eagle eyed counter( stockies & farmers while try to rip u off), eyes in the back of your head, coffee drinking- midnight oil burning- mile eating driver.
If you don't mind being hot n sweaty n dirty, working late -getting up early and hounded by the officials(we run hard & heavy) snubbed by other truckies & the general public cause we're smelly n the #### tanks can over flow on the steep and/or windy roads.
It's a fun job and I love / hate it
but I won't change it
Livestock Trucker New Zealand
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I've done it for 19 years now. I said I was gonna slow down and just pull a hopper bottom then I went and bought a new Barrett spread axle. I am almost 40 so I will try to hang it up again at 60.
Every body acts like they hate us when deep down they want to be us. Ever notice somebody talking bout how fast their truck is 9 out 10 times you will hear it used to be a cow truck. Lol
they need to realize you can't buy cool
I'll throw a different perspective in. I used to run the west coast stuff. I was single at the time and didn't really care if I saw home so I'll just start on the CA end of things. What time of year it was dictated where we loaded. Start in the south and work north and be loading out of southern OR by the time fall hits.
Monday, load our feeder calves coming east. The one good thing about running the CA stuff is that very rarely was I ever over 80000 gross. Our calves would come east to Eckley CO. Usually anywhere from 1200-1600 loaded miles depending on where we loaded. So let's say you're loaded by 10-11am and get trucking east. That puts you at the feedlot by mid-afternoon the next day. After you unload you go sit in line and get your trailer washed out. So you're out of there early evening after catching a nap while you get washed out. So now you take off because you have to load cows in Three Forks MT on Wed. 800 miles to get there, but you have to jump off at Casper and run thru Wind River to miss 2 scales so you're not in the computer. Get the cows loaded Wed and head to Cargill in Fresno, 1100 miles so you roll in there Thursday morning. You spend the rest of the day Thursday getting washed out again and getting your truck and trailer washed for sure and maybe polished cuz you're probably only a couple hundred miles away from your reload. So Friday morning you start again, come east and unload Sat afternoon, then bounce to Dillon MT to load cows back to Cargill. Just keep going in circles, 2 rounds a week. 5500-7000 miles every 7 days. Oh, I was doing this with a 52ft spread so being seen at a scale in CA wasn't really an option.
in the meantime it was my job to take his truck out into the field and shovel out the trailer which meant i got to drive his new 84 pete 362 fat cab with a 425 cat which was pretty cool for a kid .
when i was in my early 20s i called my mom and told her i was thinkin about goin to work for kent oland in west fargo and she came unglued revealing the old mans pharmacy locked away in a bedroom and what she saw him go threw haulin cows in the 70s and early 80s ....she begged me to stay out of cattle haulin .
it was at that point i decided i had things pretty cushy pullin a reefer and have honored my moms wish although i know things have changed in the livestock biz from the stewart days around so.st.paul .
still get that little itch though when i see load of feeders roll off my bosses place nebraska bound but i get over it pretty quik knowin the guy in that fancy pete will have rock and roll all nite .
"Bring on around, Cowpimp. Yours whenever you want it."
Aint never done it. Dont know much about it, but I share alot of the same roads, same truckstops, same watering holes. Some of those guys run a truck like theyre supernatural. Closest thing I've ever seen to Phantom309. You see the guy walk into the bar, long sleeve shirt buttoned up, $350 hat, denims drycleaned, starched and ironed and shined up boots. Standard uniform of an old school bullhauler. Love seeing those guys convoy at night. Straight largecars. Takes more than removing the governor to be a largecar.wore out Thanks this.
villageidiot Thanks this.
Pretty cool to get this many experienced hands on the subject. Thanks for all the responses and information guys.
I'm pretty new to this game only been doing it a couple months now. I had a heck of a time finding a place to hire me because I'm not 23 yrs old and most places couldn't insure me as a result. Your best luck getting started in this industry is by talking to folks doing it. I've never seen a true bullhauler company with a website. I asked my boss who is a 3rd generation bull hauler and rancher why that was when he hired me. He told me "we don't need websites, I got the phone # of anyone I need to talk to and if we need to work together I'll just give him a call." Everyone knows everyone or someone who knows someone else in this industry. It's a small tight bunch of folks and an extremely specialized niche sector of the trucking/ranching industry.
You will get a name good or bad here if you stick around long at all. Their is no skating by in this industry and just punching the clock. The cattle buyers will know your name and how you run and consequently will ask for you by name or use you as a last resort. I ran overnight from the lafayette,TN Sale barn to a feedlot back in Nebraska through this recent storm in Kentucky overnight the first night of the storm before the plows and wreckers made it out. I was dodging wrecked vehicles and driving through a foot+ of snow over night in the pitch black for the 6 hours it took me to go 180 miles. In the end I made it to the feedlot before any of the old hands did and the cattle buyer said he was quite impressed by the FNG .
At the same time If i had made one split second mistake that night and put er in the ditch I'd be that FNG who can't do anything right so it's a game of calculated risk.
As has already been said here before we run hard and look good for reasons I didn't understand until I started doing it...
1.We look good so that when we are taking away a families,cattle buyer or ranchers livelihood for a long haul being a complete stranger to them they feel they can trust us. Our rides and our attire is that of a professional to gain and inspire trust. I picked up a herd of Calfs from a ranch in Kentucky going to a feedlot in Nebraska. I followed the ranchers grandson out there as their was no way to find this place otherwise. When I got there this was a 3rd generation ranch and many members of the family were out there helping load the cattle.
They were putting well over $100,000 worth of their product on my wagon and trusting me to deliver the product in a safe and timely manner 1200 miles away. They've never even met me, but my company has a good reputation, I have a good looking truck (and a #### fast one at that ) and I'm dressed and conducting myself in a professional manner. This puts them at ease. Enough on that
2.We run hard and fast. We don't run fast just for fun. As has already been mentioned on here every minute they spend on my wagon is one where they are losing weight which depending on the type of cattle and the deal he has worked out can be costing the rancher money. At any given time they are on my wagon one could lay down and be trampled to death by the rest. The longer they are on my wagon the more likely they are to get sick from extreme heat or cold under certain circumstances or disease will spread from one to another if they are loaded with a sick one in the bunch by some accident.
Anyways the gist of it is once they get on all we can think about is getting them off as fast as we can to mitigate the risks listed above. That is why we run so fast and so hard. I averaged 60mph from Chute to Chute on a 1,000 mile run the other day even after you count in the time I stopped to fuel and check on them. Had a county mounty flash his lights at me that night LOL. They rarely pull us over as long we are sticking to 5-10 over and not driving like an #######. We can get away with more if we're running a convoy. They know why we gotta do what we gotta do.
We run hard and fast empty because the sooner we get to where we're going the sooner we can get to sleep and believe me We need all the sleep we can get whenever we can get it because this cow taxi doesn't stop with a load on until I bump the next chute to get em off.
All that said I drive safer and more well rested than I ever did on E-logs. I sleep when I NEED TO SLEEP. I drive when I FEEL I am safe to drive and my boss fully supports me on that. He has said a million times if you need a couple hour nap even when your loaded TAKE IT. I'd rather you nap an hour or two and deal with the consequences of that on the animals welfare than you roll the truck over and deal with those consequences.
I work very hard to ensure I'm well rested enough to finish a run non stop before I load it for the animals welfare but their is no 8/11/14 hour clock running me down dictating my life.
After a year and a half of running E-logs in a speed governed truck I genuinely know I'm safer doing this than I ever was on E-logs in that speed governed POS.Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
mneph Thanks this.
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