This month’s cool creation was built for Ronnie Hull (49) of Independence, MO. Known for his cool trucks that are always impeccably clean, Ronnie, like many of us, has went through many ups and downs throughout his trucking career, but he never gave up. Today, he has an awesome wife and family, a successful business, great friends and a really cool new truck. What more could a guy ask for?
Growing up on a farm in Missouri, Ronnie’s dad not only trucked, but he also owned fertilizer plants and grain elevators. At just 16 years old, Ronnie started driving a truck, even though he did not get his CDL until he was 19. Ronnie chose to be a trucker, but he was great in school, too. Before graduating in 1983, he was the chairman of the local FFA and he flew to Washington D.C. and placed 2nd in the country in public speaking in 1982. He was also offered a scholarship to go to the University of Central Missouri (UCM), but he told his dad that he wanted to truck.
His first truck was a 1968 Peterbilt “little window” conventional. After spending numerous days fixing it up and investing close to $45,000 on it, just 31 days later he totaled it out on a single-lane bridge (a trucker had stopped on the bridge to check his clearance and by the time Ronnie saw him he could not stop). But that was just one of Ronnie’s setbacks.
Over the years, Ronnie owned many cool trucks including a 1971 Kenworth, a 1982 W900, a 1978 W900A extended-hood with a “Movin’ On” paint job and a 300-inch wheelbase, a slick 1984 Peterbilt with a V-8 Cat, and a 1988 Pete 379 extended-hood flattop. Unfortunately, the first new truck he would ever buy would also be the one to break him! Purchasing a new 1997 Peterbilt that turned out to be built on bad frame rails, this caused a lot of problems and forced Ronnie to have a lot of downtime. The final straw came when the motor died. Ronnie went belly-up and lost everything. To add to this, he also lost his mom around this time to a drunk driver.
After hitting rock bottom there was only one way to go – up. Starting all over again, he got a driving job at RL Hannah Trucking in Kansas City, MO. While there, he met some nice people that would help him get to where he is today. One of those people is Dale Hessefort (aka “Hickory Nut”). Dale not only became a second father to Ronnie, but he also introduced him to his future wife, and the love of his life, Stephanie. They have been together for eleven years now and married for the last four. Ronnie never had kids of his own, but Stephanie blessed him with grown kids and six grandchildren, one of which stays with them. At just six years old, when little Kaison calls Ronnie “PAW PAW” when he comes home, it just melts his rough old trucker heart!
Ronnie spent eleven years driving for RL Hannah until he and Stephanie saved up enough money to buy another truck. Buying a used 2008 Peterbilt 389 with a Cat engine (known now for their problems, but who knew back then), it was not an easy road, but they made it through. In 2011, Ronnie purchased another new Peterbilt 389 with an ISX Cummins, which he ran until Clint sold it for him last fall. Wanting to order a new truck from Clint, Ronnie bought a used 2002 Pete to drive while his new truck was being built. Ronnie is very particular and the build did not happen without some glitches and unforeseen problems along the way, but in the end, Ronnie got the truck he wanted, and he loves it.
The new truck is a 2015 Peterbilt 389 with a 72” stand-up sleeper, a 294” wheelbase, a 600 HP ISX Cummins and an 18-speed transmission. Running on Low Air Leaf and 24.5 low-pro tires, the truck also has four straps on the fuel tanks, a Carrier Proheat APU, a car-hauler front axle, an aluminum 5th wheel, weed-burner exhaust, and all the extra goodies. When the pewter-colored rig arrived at the dealership, Clint and his team added dummy stacks, stainless boxes, custom cab and sleeper skirts with lots of lights, stainless full fenders and deck plate, a drop visor, a rear light bar, a custom bumper and breather lights. Cooper in the paint shop finished off the truck by adding pearl white, black and red stripes.
When it was all said and done, the truck looked so good, Ronnie landed a spot at the invite-only show and display held every year at the Peterbilt factory in Denton, TX. Ronnie always knew he liked Peterbilts, but after getting to meet some of the employees and their families at the event, he now has an even greater appreciation and respect for them – he was very impressed. He now understands just how much of a class act that the employees at Peterbilt really are.
Ronnie Hull has had some bad days, but who hasn’t? In the end, he loves his job and he loves cool trucks, just like the rest of us. Always looking forward and never back at his mistakes, Ronnie says, “If you give up, you will know exactly where you stand. If you never give up and just keep putting one foot in front of the other, you never know what you can achieve. Don’t look back – you have already been there – the future is what’s important.” Good advice from a guy who knows – and the proof speaks for itself!