This month’s cool creation was built for Rich Owens of Shafter, California. Born and raised around trucks and the hay business, Rich and his family have been hauling hay for decades in the western states. Rich loves trucks and he loves the fact that he gets to work (and play) with his family. On Sundays, the family gets together to hang out and watch football, and although his team (the Miami Dolphins) did not fare too well this year, he still enjoys watching the games with everyone. To Rich, it’s what life’s about!
Rich (26) grew up in Chino, CA. Back then, this area was filled with dairy farms and trucking companies, but as the homes moved in and the dairies moved out, so did the Owens family, who went north to the Bakersfield area. His parents, Rick and Minda Owens, met while working at Troost Hay, which was based in Mira Loma, CA at the time. After working at the company for several years, Rick bought it from Phil Troost and just kept the name the same – it was already a well-established company, so there was no need to change the name and mess things up.
Married to his wife Briana for six years, she and Rich have three children – Caiden (6), Graham (2) and Reed (14 weeks). Rich knew Briana in high school, but the two didn’t start dating until later. Rich went on to get a degree in Ag Business from Fresno State, and then came home to start trucking. Today, Rich and his brother Phil both work in the family business where they buy, sell and deliver hay. Rich’s wife Briana runs the truck shop, and she is a walking encyclopedia of part numbers. Speaking about the family business, Rich said, “I was raised to work hard and not screw up” – a philosophy he still tries to live by each and every day.
Back in the day, Rich’s dad trucked with Walt Armas, Pete Struikman, and a bunch of other cool old hay haulers. One night, Rich saw Walt’s son Scott Armas at a feed store. Scott was driving a cool new rig, so Rich asked him where he got it. Scott said, “I went to Clint Moore in Kansas City!” So, from that day forward, Rich decided that when it was time for him to order a new truck, he would call Clint Moore and give him a shot.
Rich’s first truck was a 2009 Pete 388 he bought used and then cleaned up a bit. When it came time to order a new one, you know what he did – he called Clint Moore in Kansas City! When Rich told Clint that he was part of Troost Hay, Clint flipped out. Clint keeps a Peterbilt book in his office from back in 1989, and in that book is one of Clint’s favorite trucks ever – a dull yellow 1955 Peterbilt Model 350 owned by Troost Hay. Clint has always had a soft spot for those old “Iron Nose” Peterbilts, but he especially loved that Troost truck. Needless to say, the two of them hit it off pretty quickly. Clint’s next question was, “Do you guys still have that truck?” Rich went on to tell Clint the whole story about the old 1955 Troost Peterbilt.
Back when the picture was taken for the book, Phil Troost still owned the truck (and the company). Later, when Rick bought it, he was given the option to buy that truck, too, but opting to make a good business decision instead of an emotional one, he let it go. It broke his heart, because not only had he driven that truck a lot, but his boys had spent a lot of time in it, too. After the truck was sold it changed hands several times but nobody ever did anything with it. Many years later, the truck somehow found its way back to Rick and is now undergoing a complete restoration (Clint can hardly wait to see it).
Rich’s brand new rig is a fully-loaded 2014 Peterbilt 389 with a 44-inch flattop sleeper (this is what they call the old 36-inch sleepers now), an ISX Cummins, and an 18-speed. After the “Troost Yellow” truck showed up, Rob in the body shop painted a white stripe and outlined it with maroon. After that, the guys in the shop installed a set of painted aluminum body drop panels and one of Clint’s visors (also painted), Clint’s dad chopped the air cleaner lids, extra grill bars were added, the door handle cups were painted, and a dump valve was installed on the truck’s front axle. To finish it off, the truck was fitted with a set of seven-inch pipes with Pickett elbows, Hogebuilt quarter fenders, and a Jimmy Crain light bar across the back.
Troost buys and sells hay throughout the western states, so if anyone is in the market for some hay, maybe they can help – you might even get it delivered by this month’s creation. One thing is for sure, no matter which Troost truck brings it, it will be riding on something cool from the Owens family, because being able to work and play together, that’s what life’s about!