Trucking is no easy industry to work in. Long hours, difficult loads, keeping up on the truck and bad roads can all take their toll on the driver. Sticking with it and doing things right is a lot of work, but when trucking is more than just a profession, it’s your life, you accept the challenges that come with it and do what it takes to get the job done. Such is the case for Chad Betland, who still loves trucking, and with a long and low W900L Kenworth like his (seen here), why wouldn’t he? He does, however, have to deal with an unruly boss every day – his dog Chase!
Born in Minneapolis and then raised on a horse farm in Dayton, Minnesota, Chad’s love for big trucks goes as far back as he can remember. Watching the trucks roll by when he was in the car with his mom and dad, Chad knew early-on that he wanted to be a truck driver. Learning to drive from an “old-timer
outlaw” (as he put it), Chad would drive around industrial parks, grabbing gears where he could, even reversing down the fog-line to learn how to drive backwards as well as forward. Having driven trucks for 16 years, Chad (40) has owned and operated his own rigs for the last 15 years. No stranger to cool rides, Chad has owned a 1985 Peterbilt 359 and, his last big ride, a stretched-out black 1998 Kenworth W900, as well.
Wanting to put together something new, Chad started working on the 2007 KW W900L seen here on these pages. Stretched to a long 324-inch wheelbase and featuring stark white paint with blue accents, the truck has a simple and understated appearance. Emphasizing a less-is-more attitude, the truck has only three cab lights, seven-inch pipes, and shaved emblems.
The “cut-down” look of this rig is a true contradiction, because a great deal of work was actually done to this spotless KW. Outfitted with a 12 Gauge visor and mirror brackets, the truck also features a 20-inch blind-mount American Eagle bumper with a 12 Gauge flip kit, pin-striped flames on the driveshaft, chrome-plated aluminum wheels (which have a noticeably-darker shine than polished aluminum rims), and stainless steel wrapped tanks and steps from RoadSknz. With the chrome-plated wheels and stainless wrapped tanks and steps, Chad’s truck looks just as good with less polishing.
Not to be out-done by the exterior, the truck’s interior is equally as impressive. The gray button-tuck interior also features leather Bostrom low-rider seats, a painted Victor steering wheel and chrome gauges. Other interior touches include etched windows and a white dash with blue flames – even the back of the visor is painted white with blue flames! In addition to all of the visible features, the truck’s sound system has received plenty of work, too. With 800 watts of power and twin 10-inch Polk Audio subs, the Pioneer stereo in this truck can make plenty of noise.
Motivation for Chad’s long and low Kenworth comes from a warmed-up C-15 Acert Caterpillar, with Bully Dog tuning, hooked to a 13-speed Eaton transmission. Sitting on 24.5 low-pro rubber and an air-ride steer axle (installed by Chad), this rig has a definitely-low stance. Much of the work done to the truck was handled by Chad himself, right in his driveway! No shop-built trailer queen, Chad’s truck can be seen out working like the rest of them. Pulling a step-deck trailer, in the snow or sun, Chad and his rig can be found out on the roads hauling various types of oversized freight.
Trucking may be a lonely profession for some, but Chad never rides alone. For the last eleven years, Chad has had a faithful co-rider – his brindle-colored boxer, Chase. Chad adopted Chase when he was seven weeks old and Chase has been by Chad’s side through three trucks. And with a ride as clean as Chad’s, you might get the urge when you see it to want to just climb on up and take a peek at the interior, but with Chase always on guard, we would not recommend doing that. Although Chase is a very friendly dog, you certainly get the feeling that the truck is his, and that he simply lets Chad drive it!
Currently living in the town of Big Lake, Minnesota, when Chad isn’t driving Chase’s Kenworth, he spends most of his free time working on the truck. Whether adding new custom touches or simply doing routine maintenance, Chad’s childhood love of trucks hasn’t disappeared a bit – he still simply loves trucks and trucking. On the rare occasions when he isn’t working on his truck, much of his time is spent maintaining his house and doing yard work, hanging out with friends, and, on rare occasions, four-wheeling.
Meeting Chad in Tonkawa, Oklahoma at the Busted Knuckle show, put on by the folks at Wilkins Oklahoma Truck Supply, we cruised into Ponca City for his photo shoot. Searching for just the right locations to shoot his truck, we worked late into the afternoon, waiting for the light (or lack thereof), to be just right (shooting a white truck can be more difficult than you might think). Always keeping focused on trucking, though, as soon as the shoot was done, Chad was hooked back to his step-deck and rolling north to make a delivery. It may look great at the shows, but the truck certainly isn’t yard art.
Chad (and Chase) would like to thank Harold Lezer of Lezer Painting for handling all of the sandblasting and paint work on the truck, as well as TL Woods for building his one-of-a-kind headache rack. Chad would also like to thank Steve and Lucy, as well as Duane (a longtime employee who recently passed away), of RoadSknz for handling the protective skins on his tanks, steps and boxes. Located in his hometown of Big Lake, MN, RoadSknz offers all sorts of stick-on stainless steel pieces and wraps for battery boxes, tool boxes, mud flaps, tanks, step plates and more. Thanks also go out to Transport Graphics for lettering the truck, and special thanks to Chad’s neighbor, Brian Barthel, for his help and support in building the truck. Lastly, he wanted to give some props to his good friend Dion Goskey for all of his help, too.
We at 10-4 Magazine would like to thank Chad for taking the time for a photo shoot and interview. Already having shut down for the Wilkins’ Busted Knuckle Truck Show, Chad found time to work with us on a shoot. We’d also like to thank the Wilkins family, all of their employees, and Wilkins Oklahoma Truck Supply for working with us and Chad to get his truck shot. A special thank you also goes out to Tanner Wilkins for riding along with us, helping with the final detailing of the truck, and showing us around Ponca City. Thanks for the tour, Tanner.
Trucking is no easy job. To do it right, you gotta’ love what you do, and for Chad, trucking is still something he loves, so he has no trouble doing it right. And for those that love what they do, sticking it out through the long nights and hard work has its rewards. Chad’s hard work and love of trucks has
already produced some great rides, and if that is any sign of what’s to come, this certainly isn’t the last cool truck you’ll see from Chad Betland. Now, all he has to do is get his keys back from Chase so he can hit the road!