Josh O’Farrell might be Irish, but he doesn’t rely on leprechauns or four-leaf clovers to get him through the day. Steadfastly following a path that the Lord has laid out for him, faith and family have always come first. And although that “path” might be an interstate highway now, if God put a different path in front of him, Josh wouldn’t hesitate to follow it – even if it took him away from trucking, which he loves. Running his hard-working but show-worthy Kenworth between Texas and California on a weekly basis, Josh owns and operates O’Farrell Transport out of Houston, Texas.
Following the footsteps of his forefathers, Josh (32) is the fourth generation of O’Farrells to be involved in transportation and/or trucking. Beginning with his great-grandfather, who worked for the railroad back before there were trucks, and then on to his grandfather, Jimmie Sr. (who he affectionately calls “Pa-pa”). Jimmie Sr. drove for an outfit called Prefab Transport (PFT) and was the first owner operator to sign-on with Palletized Trucking – a big Texas-based company that is still going strong today. Pa-pa eventually built up to five trucks and then sold out and quit sometime in the mid-1970s.
Jimmie Jr., Josh’s dad, was the hardest working man Josh ever knew. But he did not love trucks. Trucking to him was a way to provide for his family, and provide, he did. Being a Sunday School teacher at their church, Jimmie never missed a day. He ran hard, but he always stayed pretty close to home, to ensure that he would be at church on Sunday. Josh and his two sisters would take turns going out on the road with their dad – it was their way of getting to spend time with him. Running with his dad since he was less than a year old, at 14 Josh started giving his dad “breaks” while out with him on the road by filling in for a few hours here and there.
Back in the early days, Jimmie drove a Freightliner Classic with a coffin-style sleeper, and then in 1989 he bought a used 1987 Kenworth T600, which he drove for almost ten years. Even though Jimmie was a Kenworth guy, in 1998 he was presented with a great opportunity to buy an almost-new Peterbilt 379 long hood – and he took it. Back in those days, this loaded Orchid Purple truck was a real attention-getter. He ran that Peterbilt until he bought a brand new 2000 Kenworth W900 – which just happens to be the truck on our cover and centerfold (and on these pages) this month! Back then, the Kenworth was Electric Red (a maroon color) and bone stock, but it was loaded-up and still a cool ride.
When Josh turned 18 he got his CDL and started running throughout Texas for a company called Texas International Express, driving an old junky Freightliner FLD. At this time, he was still in high school, so his mom home-schooled him his senior year so he could truck, too. After a year in that Freightliner, his dad helped him buy a 2000 Kenworth W900 with a 72-inch sleeper, a 475 Cat, a 270-inch wheelbase and low miles. It was not as “cool” as dad’s big ride, which had an 86-inch Studio sleeper, a longer wheelbase (285 inches), and a 550 Cat, but it had half the miles. Not long after getting that Kenworth, Josh’s dad decided that it might be better if they swapped trucks – he was running more miles than Josh and was afraid that he was going to wear out his KW too soon. Josh, liking the idea of having the bigger ride, jumped at the chance. Plus, pretty much, what dad wanted, dad got.
Not long after the guys switched trucks, Josh’s KW was stolen from the Flying J in Houston, Texas. The thief was kind enough to unhook and drop Josh’s trailer, but the truck was nowhere to be found. Then, a month later, it showed up on TV when the police engaged in a high-pursuit chase of the suspect in the truck. By the time Josh got the truck back, it was half-stripped and wrecked-up pretty bad. Having to put it all back together gave Josh the “cool truck” bug – and it has only escalated from there ever since.
In 2003, Josh’s dad started a company called Last Trail Services. Josh worked with his dad at this company, which now had five trucks. Running hard, coast-to-coast, for a couple years, really took its toll, so Josh took a driving break for two years, put a driver in his truck, and worked in the warehouse, loading and unloading trucks. He also started doing a little hot-shot work in a sweet red dually pickup hooked to a matching 40-foot gooseneck trailer – and this little “side job” turned out to be a very profitable venture. Over the next few years, Last Trail Services built up to 20 trucks and was doing very well – and then the recession hit in 2007!
Now back in his truck, Josh was doing all that he could to keep things going, but in 2009 it got so bad he actually left his dad’s company and leased-on at A & R Transport, where he hauled plastic pellets in a pneumatic trailer, for almost a year. It was the hardest he had ever worked. This experience taught Josh that it was much better to own a trucking company than to just be a driver at someone else’s operation. After leaving A & R in 2010, Josh started his own company called O’Farrell Transport, and what little was left of Last Trail Services was moved to O’Farrell Transport. At this point, they had eight trucks and things finally began to level-out and get stable – not great, but stable and profitable.
When Josh got back in his truck in 2007, he started fixing it up, doing a little here and a little there, when he could. One summer he stretched the wheelbase to 305 inches; one summer he added the fiberglass single-hump fenders from Bad Ass Customs (using custom hidden brackets); one summer he got it painted by Eloy at Big Trucks Paint & Body in Houston, Texas (this is the same blue and black paint job the truck still has today); and so on. Around 2012, Josh decided that he wanted to go to an upcoming show in San Antonio, Texas so he ramped up the work on his truck. His goal was to build a show-worthy work truck, with his dad, and then debut it together at the show, which was the 2013 Lone Star Large Car Gathering.
Over the next few months, Josh and his dad worked side-by-side, transforming the truck into what you see today. The truck got a billet grille, an American Eagle 20-inch tapered bumper, a custom visor from Adrian Rocamontes at ACW Specialties, 7-inch Lincoln Chrome stacks, cab and sleeper extensions, extra lights, and a painted “I-panel” between the fuel tanks. Also, the front-end was air-bagged, the entire interior was redone (by Josh and his dad), and many of the exterior and interior pieces were painted, including the tanks, the chopped air cleaners, the visor, mirrors and dash panels. The rig was also fitted with a smooth, one-piece, painted deck plate. A custom matching KW emblem on the front made for a nice final touch.
A couple weeks before the show they lost a driver, so dad climbed in a truck to fill in and Josh got in his and the two ended up running together, coast-to-coast, for several weeks. It was the kind of thing a young trucker dreams about – to run with his dad – and vice-versa, too, I’m sure. After that, they went to the show together, and it was awesome. They had so much fun showing off their not-so-new ride, which now looked amazing. But then, about a month after the show, the unthinkable happened on June 5, 2013.
While waiting to get loaded with pipes, Josh’s dad was killed instantly when a runaway forklift crushed him (and the forklift operator) in a freak accident. Josh and his family were devastated! To make things even harder, just a week after the funeral, Josh ran the exact same cross-country route he had just made a few weeks prior with his dad – only this time he was alone. As sad as it made him feel, Josh realized how blessed he was to have spent those last few months building his truck, running his truck and taking the truck to the show with his dad. This was a moment in time Josh will treasure forever. For that reason, he vows to never change the truck, as it is a rolling legacy to his father, with far too many good memories attached to it.
Flashing forward to 2015, Josh now has three trucks, five trailers (two flatbeds and three dropdecks), two drivers, a dispatcher (Chuck, who has been around forever), and one leased-on owner operator (his brother-in-law Bryan). In April of this year, Josh finally married his longtime girlfriend, Christina, and the two just moved into a new house they built on a piece of property. On this property, Josh’s mom Karen also has a house, and Josh’s sister Mollie and her husband Bryan, along with their four children – Tyler (8), Sadie (6), Tristan (4) and Addie (2) – just built a house and moved in, as well. After dad died, the family came together on this piece of property to help and support each other. Josh’s other sister, Mandy, and her husband Tyson, along with their two boys – Tanner (9) and Tate (7) – live nearby, but not on the same property.
When he’s not hauling oilfield LTL loads out west to California and big heavy equipment tires back, which he does just about every week, Josh mostly enjoys just spending time with his family. On rare occasions, when he finds some extra time, he also likes to golf, ride his Harley, snow ski in the winter and water ski in the summer (back in the day he was a competitive water skier for a while). Before dad died, Josh used to play a lot of softball and basketball, but not so much anymore – running a growing company keeps him pretty busy.
While at a hotel in Oklahoma a few months back, Josh met our friend Ron Pettijohn (AKA Trucker Ron), who was very impressed with his rig. Ron took some pictures of Josh’s truck and got all his contact information and then passed it along to us at 10-4. Josh didn’t think much of it – until we contacted him to set up the photo shoot! Then, he was pretty excited. A few months later, we found ourselves in Box Canyon, just east of Indio, California, near the Chiriaco Summit, shooting the truck. And man, it was hot – 110 degrees with no shade in sight!
To show their support and make the photo shoot more memorable, a bunch of Josh’s family flew out, rented a car and joined us in the canyon. Then, they made a little family vacation out of it. The group included Josh’s wife Tina, his mom Karen, both of his sisters, Mandy and Mollie, and their husbands, Tyson and Bryan. It was quite the group, and they were all very helpful that day, stopping traffic, cleaning the truck, and doing whatever needed to be done.
To make the day even more memorable, Josh tried to do a little off-roading and got his truck stuck in the sand. After a two or three hour delay, we got the truck back on the pavement, thanks to Trent Butzlaff and his son from Plaza Towing in Indio, who did a great job of dragging the truck out without tearing anything up. In 22 years of doing photo shoots with trucks, we have almost got trucks stuck several times, but this was the first time we ever had to actually call a wrecker. I guess there is always a first time for everything – we hope it is also the last time!
With 1.8 million miles on this truck and a six-year-old paint job, she still looks pretty dang good. Josh wanted to send out a special “thank you” and shout-out to who he calls “the best polisher in the world” and “the guru of the aluminum shine” – Henry Duarte at Little Sister’s Truck Wash in Barstow, California. Henry and the crew at Little Sister’s got his truck and trailer (a 2014 Reitnouer “DropMiser” dropdeck with a 10-foot spread) ready for our cameras. Josh could not say enough about Henry – not only as a polisher, but also as a faithful, God-fearing, Christian man. “Henry is a cut above the rest, and the best of the best,” said Josh.
Some of Josh’s plans for the future include making his brother-in-law Bryan a partner in the business and adding more trucks. Josh wants to get to a point where he has enough rigs running so that he doesn’t have to go out on the road so much, because he wants to start a family soon with his new bride. But, his main objective in life is to follow where the Lord leads him – whether that means staying in trucking and growing, or doing something else. Josh ran out of time before the photo shoot, but he is hoping to put his favorite Bible verse on the back of his sleeper – Psalms 37:4 “Delight thyself in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
No matter what happens in your life, God can bring you through the “fires” of this world. Josh is a living testimony to that statement. When his dad was killed, it was devastating to the whole family, but by leaning on their faith, God brought them all through it, and to a much better place. Everyone has their own “fires” to deal with, but God can use anything, good or bad, to build you up and draw you closer to Him. So, follow the path He sets before you, like Josh O’Farrell, and trust that He will never steer you down the wrong road. Success and happiness is not about luck, it’s about hard work, trust and faith!