In trucking you often meet two sorts of people – there are those who contract out to shops, dealers and other service-providers to build their wild rides, and then there are those who get down and dirty and build them with their own hands. Either method works just as well – some are more comfortable letting “the professionals” fabricate, bolt, cut and modify, while others like to get right in there and do it themselves, wanting that homemade and completely different look that can often be hard to get from a shop. Kevin Schnug of Cheyenne, Wyoming is one of those who likes to get his hands dirty. The clean 2006 Peterbilt 379 seen here on these pages was accomplished by Kevin’s (and some friends) own labor, and he is proud of that fact.
At just 28, Kevin Schnug has been driving since he was 19 years old. Taught to drive by his father, Stanley, in a 1982 cabover Kenworth, even at his young age, Kevin has already seen plenty of different sides the trucking industry has to offer. Though born and raised in Wellington, WY, Kevin and his family moved to Cheyenne when he was 15, and then, when he was old enough, Kevin’s father began teaching him to drive trucks out in the fields hauling hay. While his father Stanley would be loading the truck, Kevin would pilot the rig through the field. After obtained his CDL at 19, Kevin got his first driving job for Harper Feed Lot, hauling feed sheep. Pulling a reefer for a short while, Kevin would eventually return to hauling livestock until three years ago when he began working with Mark Sutherland hauling liquid fertilizer. Running for Sutherland ever since, Kevin is very happy with where he’s at.
As previously noted, Kevin, along with the help of his friends, family and the Sutherlands, has done much of the work on this truck himself. And though the Peterbilt emphasizes a simple and clean look, there’s a great deal of subtle work that went into the making of this show-worthy working rig.
Originally sitting on a factory 280-inch wheelbase, Kevin stretched the frame to 295 inches. Adding Peterbilt’s Flex-Air suspension system, Kevin re-worked the hangars to drop the truck an additional four inches out back while also adding a 12 Ga. Customs air-ride drop kit to the steer axle in the front. Sitting on polished 22.5-inch wheels wrapped in low-profile rubber, the truck has a long and low stance. Outfitted with a 12 Ga. Customs bowtie visor and mirror brackets, seven bullet cab lights, 8-inch stacks and a Whitey front bumper, the truck has just enough chrome, stainless and polished aluminum to set-off the two-tone blue-and-white paint scheme. Other exterior features include a Valley Chrome rear light bar, a deck plate built by Kevin himself, and matching painted fuel tanks and air tanks, which give the truck a nice, well-balanced look.
Though still wanting to do more to it, the interior already features United Pacific chrome gauge covers, a wood steering wheel, and Sears Seating low-base, mid-back seats. To allow the steering wheel to tilt more than usual, Kevin retrofitted the truck with an early ‘90s Peterbilt steering column. Though still a work-in-progress, the interior is already coming together nicely in Kevin’s truck.
But don’t let all the custom touches and work on the truck convince you that it is a hangar queen. As Kevin puts it, his truck is no show rig – it is in and out of the fields every day hauling liquid fertilizer, and it’s got the motivation to do it, too! Featuring a 550-hp Caterpillar under the hood, the truck’s drivetrain also features an 18-speed and 3.36 rear gears. Primarily running in the states of Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, Kevin’s hard-working rig certainly doesn’t get the pampered treatment.
Like many owner operators we feature, whatever time Kevin has when not inside the truck, in the driver’s seat, he spends it right outside the truck, fixing, repairing, tinkering and working on the next new custom touch. But, much of that recently changed when he married his girlfriend, now wife, Jesse, last June. Nearing their one-year anniversary, the couple is excited to say that they have a baby on the way in July! Since the wedding, Kevin has tried to spend as much time as possible with his new bride and, in the near future, he will be carving out even more time to spend with their new baby.
Over the years, Kevin has been helped by many, and he would like to acknowledge some of those folks here now. Kevin would like to thank Dale and Linda Welch for helping him get his first rig, as well as his parents, Stanley and Judy, and brother, Kyle, for all of their help along the way. Kevin would also like to thank Mark Sutherland and the entire Sutherland family for all of their help, not only in putting the truck to work, but in working on his rig, too. Most of all, Kevin would like to thank his wife for “putting up with his bad habits” on a regular basis (at least their baby will have a cool ride to run around in)!
We at 10-4 would like to thank Kevin for his time in getting ready for and putting together the photo shoot. Shot the morning of the Color & Chrome Fantasy Truck Show in Ogallala, Nebraska, we had a small window of time to shoot the truck before the awards ceremony started. We’d also like to thank Mr. Steve Kalkowski and his family for graciously allowing us to use their property and amazing house as the perfect backdrop for Kevin’s photo shoot. We’d also like to thank Tinker Raasch for letting us sneak on and off the show grounds during her event to get the photo shoot done, as well.
There’s a lot of hard work that goes into owning a truck. For some, that hard work is something they’d rather leave to someone else, but for Kevin Schnug of Cheyenne, Wyoming, it’s a different story. Preferring to handle the wrenches, hammers and sockets himself, much of the work and installations on Kevin’s ride was done by himself, along with some help from his friends and family. That sort of hard work is something that is dwindling in our industry, but a strong work ethic like Kevin’s is a sure-fire way to ensure success (or at least survival) in trucking.
When you fabricate and install the pieces on your truck yourself, there is a more meaningful level of pride you have in your ride, and that pride is evident to everyone around you on the road. Your rig becomes more than just something you drive every day – it’s something YOU built – something YOU created – and Kevin’s home-grown Peterbilt certainly fits that description.