The Young-er Generation

Ethan Young Loves Being in the Family Business

Trucking has always been a family-type of business. Younger generations, following in the footsteps of their elders, often take the baton and run with it. Such is the case with Young Truck Line, and that baton has now been passed down twice – from grandfather to father to son. Ethan Young (26) is proud to be a trucker, just like the two generations before him, and that pride is evident in his head-turning combination, which features throw-back door logos and stripes, in homage to his grandfather, who started it all.

To tell Ethan’s story, we must go back two generations, to when his grandfather got started. David Young was born in 1933 in Austin, MN. Living in southern Minnesota until he was 13 years old, the family moved to South Dakota in 1945. At 16 years old, Dave started hauling cattle. In 1951, he moved to Dexter, MN and went to work for a guy named Oscar Proeschel. Not long after that, he began hauling grain for Ted Keim Grain Company in Grand Meadow, MN. Around this time, he met his wife Joyce. The two were married in October of 1953 and, 64 years later, they are still married! In 1956, Dave got drafted into the Army, and then spent the next two years stationed near Munich, Germany.

Arriving home in 1958 after his time in the military, Dave bought his first truck – a 1952 White WC22 with a 150-hp gas engine – and Young Truck Line was formed. Back then, he bought and sold (and hauled) corn and beans. In 1964 he bought his first diesel rig – a 1955 Diamond T cabover. Delivering grain to Chicago, he eventually started hauling steel back. Dave began adding more trucks in 1965 and leasing them to International Transport (IT), which was a big outfit back then, hauling flatbed loads from coast to coast. At one point, he had nine trucks on at IT, along with two others still hauling grain. In the beginning, all of Dave’s trucks were red, but liking International Transport’s colors, he began painting them all School-bus Yellow and Kelly Green – which are the still the company colors today – and the colors on Ethan’s KW.

One day, while delivering grain to a plant in Minnesota, Dave was approached by Irving Silverberg from a steel plant across the street. Mr. Silverberg wanted to know if Dave could haul steel for them. Shortly after that, in 1970, Dave got his own authority, and almost 50 years later, Young Truck Line still hauls steel every day for the Silverberg family. Ethan’s father, Doug, started working in the shop with his brothers at an early age. After high school, he got his CDL and began trucking locally at Young Truck Line with his father. Buying his first truck in the early 1980s – a 1969 Freightliner cabover – he then leased it on at Young Truck Line.

In addition to hauling grain and steel, Dave started a dray service in 1985. Hauling loaded trailers from the local railroad yard to all points within a 150-mile radius and then bringing the empty trailers back, grandpa added four R-model Mack daycab trucks to the fleet. This went on for five years, until 1990, when the outfit bringing the freight in on the rail cars went bankrupt. Dave sold-off the Macks and then went back to his bread and butter – grain and steel.

Ethan’s mom and dad, Doug and Joelle, got married in 1988. Two years later, Ethan was born in 1990. Back then, Ethan’s mom worked in the office and his dad drove and took care of the trucks. Grandpa Dave was still driving and dispatching, but as the 1990s came to a close, he began slowing down and transitioning the day-to-day operations of the company to Ethan’s dad. Grandpa Dave continued to drive until 2008, when he officially retired at 75 years old.

In 1999, Ethan’s dad Doug bought his first new truck – a Peterbilt 379. Over the next four years, Doug traded in the Peterbilt and bought four more new trucks – two W900L Kenworths and two W900Bs. With a fleet of four “new” KWs and a bunch of 48-foot covered wagons, Young Truck Line was thriving – and they have been 100% Kenworth ever since. They ran those trucks until 2008, when they were forced to start upgrading, due to the new emissions laws – at that point, they bought their first T660.

Growing up in a trucking family, Ethan loved going out on the road with his dad and hanging out in the shop with his grandpa. At about five years old, he started “working” in the shop, mostly sweeping and stuff, along with his younger brother. Ethan’s first official job, that he can remember, was greasing the inside of every chrome lug nut cover, when the tires were being changed, so they wouldn’t get stuck. By eight years old he was helping his dad chain down loads, and by nine or ten, he was cleaning trucks on the weekends full-time. At 12 years old he started moving trucks in and out of the shop, and at 14 his dad started teaching him how to drive on the back roads of Minnesota.

One night, coming home late, Ethan’s dad let him take over about an hour from home – he was 15 years old. Driving a fully-loaded rig (one of the W900Bs) on the Interstate, Ethan was a bit terrified, but he did great, and they arrived home without incident. After high school, he got his CDL, but since he could not cross state lines, there wasn’t much he could do, so he took a job at a local dealership in Mankato, working for Jerry Goodburn, as a mechanic. He worked there for three years and learned a lot, but once he turned 21, there was no stopping him from trucking.

Driving company trucks at first, when Ethan was 23 he bought his first truck – a cherry 2001 Kenworth W900L – from his dad. This was a one-owner truck that had been very well taken care of by a guy who was retiring, and Doug bought it with Ethan in mind. Ethan added a few things to it like stacks, extra lights and chrome, painted dash panels and switch extensions, and started running hard. In the Fall of 2013, Ethan’s dad found two nearly identical Kenworth T660s with junk motors for sale that were dirt cheap. Wanting something different (and a little shorter), Doug bought one and Ethan bought the other, and then sold the W900L to pay for the rebuild it needed and to fix it up. This was the beginning of the truck you see here now.

Going back into a company truck for a few months while the rebuild was happening, Ethan pulled the junk drive-train from the 2010 truck and installed a rebuilt Cat C-12, an Eaton-Fuller 13-speed, and new 3:23 rear-ends. Then, he sent the truck, which has a 72-inch Aerodyne sleeper and a 230-inch wheelbase, to a shop in St. Paul, MN where it spent two months being painted. The striping scheme came directly from one of grandpa’s old Peterbilt 359s from back in the day. While there, the shop also painted the full fiberglass fenders (from Bad Ass Custom Truck Parts), as well as a few dash panels and the steering wheel, to match the rest of the truck. Along with a few chrome switch extensions, Ethan figured he had taken the truck about as far as he could – until he went to a few truck shows!

Once he began to realize all the things he could do, he started adding even more custom stuff to his KW, and eventually put a custom MAC trailer behind it, too. The end result is what you see here – a beautiful truck and trailer combo that made its debut at the big truck show in Louisville, KY in March of this year. And, being his first real judged show, he did very well, taking home a 1st place in his class (Working Combo 1993-2010), which is no easy task at MATS. Had he known to do so, he would have entered more classes and, we are sure, won more trophies.

In addition to what has already been listed, the truck also features a custom punched grille, custom billet logos from Lifetime Nut Covers, HID headlights, a painted visor and bullet-style cab lights. It also has painted mirrors, a flush-mount deck plate, plenty of lights, and several custom panels, made by Ethan’s fabricator/friend John Becker, including an intricate tail piece and a cover installed in front of the rear-ends.

Moving inside, the cab features a custom painted floor, and just about every dash panel and interior piece has been painted, along with the steering wheel. Completely insulated before the rebuild, the interior is covered with black button-tuck throughout the sleeper and on the door panels, and Ethan’s wife Kim made a custom green shifter boot, cabinet inserts, and matching bedding and pillows. The cab also features billet pedals from Lifetime Nut Covers, green lighting accents, black leather seats, and a one-of-a-kind hand-painted “Joker” head shifter knob.

Hooked to an equally-amazing 2014 MAC trailer, much work was done to it before the truck show, as well. Featuring a matching curtain and polished frame rails, the trailer also has 23 LED watermelon lights down each side and a lot of custom pieces made by John Becker, as well, including custom painted boxes in front of each axle, custom mud flap hangers, a completely custom tail piece with uniquely-shaped corners (to match the tail piece on the truck), and Harley-Davidson fold-down foot-pegs, so Ethan can still climb on the back without messing up all the polished metal. A big thank you goes out to Evan Steger of Evan’s Detailing and Polishing in Chilton, WI for completely polishing the truck and trailer for the show (and the photo shoot).

Still newlyweds, Ethan and his wife Kim just got married in October of 2016 after meeting in 2013 (she was the shipping manager at one of his stops). Kim currently works in the logistics department at Hormel Foods, but one day plans to join the rest of the family at Young Truck Line when the timing is right. When not trucking (or working on his truck), Ethan loves taking care of his yard and riding his Harley, which he takes out as often as possible. This year, he plans on doing a few more shows, including SuperRigs, a charity event in Massachusetts, the Walcott Truckers Jamboree, the Big Iron Classic, and the Lifetime Nut Covers show in Britt, IA. If possible, he’d also like to hit Wheel Jam in South Dakota and the Truck-N-Show in Waupun, WI.

Based in Lyle, MN, which is just a mile north of the Iowa state line, Young Truck Line has five company rigs and four owner operators (Ethan is one of them). Running primarily in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois, the company still specializes in hauling raw and processed steel and tubing. Ethan’s dad Doug still does all the dispatching and runs the company, while his mom, Joelle, handles the bookwork in the office. Ethan, along with his dad’s help, still handles all the truck maintenance and cleaning on the weekends, just like when he was a kid. One day, after his dad retires, Ethan would like to build the company up to about 20 trucks.

Wanting to give credit and thanks to those involved, Ethan would like to offer a heartfelt “thank you” to his grandfather, who is like a second dad to him, along with his parents, his wife, and all the close friends that helped him along the way. He would also like to give special recognition to Evan Steger for not only polishing his truck, but for encouraging him to go to the Louisville show and do the photo shoot with us. Lastly, we’d like to thank our friend Clay Snider for recommending Ethan to us as a possible cover candidate – as always, good-eye, Clay!

The Young family has been in trucking for almost 60 years – that in itself is amazing. And, with Ethan involved as the third generation and only 26 years old, this younger generation could one day propel Young Truck Line to the 100-year mark. And, if Ethan and Kim have kids, they could take it even further as the fourth generation! Driving truck can be a wild ride, but one that many love – like Ethan Young – who is proud and honored to carry on the family business, started by his grandfather way back in 1958.

About Daniel J. Linss - Editor

Daniel J. Linss has been with 10-4 Magazine since the beginning in September of 1993 and has been the Editor and Art Director since March of 1994. Over the years, he has also become one of the main photographers for 10-4 and is well-known for his insightful cover feature articles and honest show reports. Married for over 25 years with three children, Daniel operates a marketing and production company (Daniel Designs) which produces 10-4 Magazine each and every month from his office in Squaw Valley, CA.