The state of Kansas is known for many things including the Great Plains, ranches, wide-open spaces and cattle hauling. I have been to Kansas several times over the last couple years and enjoy the landscape, the people and, of course, the big trucks. Of everything I see in Kansas, nothing intrigues me more than the modern-day cow towns and the vast amount of cattle pots (livestock trailers). In a state rich with history, I met Trevin Walck of Trevin Walck Trucking out of Holcomb, KS last year at the Midwest Truckfest in Kismet, KS and found a future story worth writing about.
As the multi-generational trucking companies are decreasing over time, I continue my search for great stories of individuals or families and their trucks. What Trevin lacks in years on this earth is made up for with an instilled ethic of hard work and a passion for a way of life so deeply embedded in the roots of his family. The Walck family goes three generations deep with drivers, including Trevin, his cousins Kyle and Andrew, his dad Travis, his dad’s brothers and his grandma and grandpa. Walck Trucking was started in 1981 by Lyman and Juanita Walck, Trevin’s grandparents. At one point, Lyman, Juanita and the boys were all driving, while Trevin’s mom, Dena, dispatched and managed everything in the office. Trevin originally started driving for the family operation in a 1997 Kenworth W900L, but was switched into the T600 seen here in 2015 when his cousin, Andrew, purchased the W900L.
The truck featured here is a 2005 Kenworth T600 which was purchased in 2009 by Trevin’s grandparents, Juanita and Lyman Walck. Over the years, this T600 has come a long way. It has a Cummins ISX under the hood with a 13-speed Eaton Fuller transmission, 3.36 rears and a 254” wheelbase. Family friend Ben Gordon played a formidable part in 90% of the custom work on this truck, including moving the fuel tanks back. With his help, Trevin worked on the truck every weekend to accomplish what it currently looks like, including converting the original single-stack exhaust to a dual stainless American Eagle system. The truck also has Hogebuilt half fenders, RoadWorks deck plate (purchased from Truck Town in Colby, KS), a rear bumper center panel by RLK Services, Trux Accessories steps and lights, including the headlight assembly and Dual Revolution button lights, that turn from amber to green. Trevin also customized the “KW” hood emblem to read “TW” (his initials).
Trevin isn’t done with changes to this truck, as he plans to eventually add lights to the back of the sleeper, stretch and powder-coat the frame, finish the interior and repaint the exterior (same color). Currently, the interior sports a white steering wheel, and the entire dash was removed and painted white by his friend, Tanner Wears.
The T600 pulls a 2015 Merritt livestock trailer. His father Travis’ CB handle is “T Bone” which is what it says on the nameplate of his trailer, so it only seemed fitting that Trevin, who is known as “Lil Bone” by many, put that on the nameplate of his Merritt trailer. Since the purchase of the trailer, he painted the trim white to match the truck, and has plans in the near future to match the lights to the truck, with Dual Revolution amber to green Trux LEDs, so the whole combination is uniform.
“Cow catchers” are what most people call the big grill guards on the front of some commercial trucks, and this is an accessory that is either loved, hated or necessary, to have installed on a truck. Trevin considers his Herd bumper a necessity, and it has already paid for itself. He installed it just after he replaced the original hood with a Jones Performance hood, after he not only hit a deer, but had another commercial truck back into him. Since the Herd bumper install, he unfortunately has hit two more deer, but thanks to the grill guard, he has had no damage to his truck.
Previously speaking on the phone, Trevin and I came up with a potential game plan, but as most of you know, everything looks better on paper. Mother Nature has had her own agenda all along, so with the snow and large amounts of rain, there would be no off-pavement photography. Our first location was running on Hwy. 400 between Garden City and Holcomb to grab some rolling shots while Trevin was hooked to his trailer. About an hour later, he had dropped his trailer, now bobtailing, we headed to Dodge City for another spot.
What is so special about Dodge City? For starters, it is a city which has been a long-time delivery destination for Trevin throughout his driving years, and it is also famous for its history as a frontier cow town. In the 1800s, Texas cattle drovers brought longhorn cattle to Dodge City to load on the railroad. Trevin and I were specifically looking to get part of the Boot Hill museum in the photos to try and incorporate a little history into the story. What we didn’t account for was construction activity at the location, so heavy equipment was being operated in the background the whole time we were there, making the shoot that much more challenging.
After departing Dodge City, we returned to his shop in Garden City and then waited for his family to get ready to shoot some generation pictures with the truck at the Lee Richardson Zoo, also in Garden City. Topping off the day, Trevin hooked back up to his trailer and we went down Anderson Road on the north end of town which, based on the dust, one wouldn’t have known how much rain had recently came through.
Trevin had his first ride in a big truck when he was only six months old. As he grew up, there was never a doubt what he would be when he got older. His father and grandfather were the ones who taught him everything he knows about cow hauling. At five years old, he was at the shop with his dad and uncle who were working on the brakes of “Betsy” – their 1981 Kenworth A Model. They hadn’t set the brakes while they were working and when they finished, they told Trevin to hop in the driver’s seat and start the truck. He climbed into the truck, started it up, and it took off out of the shop. Trevin saw three pedals at his feet, but at five years old, he didn’t know which pedal was which, so he hit the gas. Black smoke poured out the stack before he found the brake pedal, but he was too little to put enough pressure on it to get the truck to stop. Fortunately, the shop door was open, there was nothing in the truck’s path, and his uncle was quick enough to catch the truck and jump inside before any damage occurred.
Growing up, Trevin was very close to his cousin Andrew, as they were about the same age, with Andrew only being a couple years older. Trevin started out in the family business from the ground up, starting in the shop, greasing trucks. When Trevin was around 12 or 13 years old, Walck Trucking used to haul trailers of dead cattle to the rendering plant in Wichita, KS. The company that hired Walck Trucking would have the trailers already loaded and ready to hook up to. This run is how these boys (Trevin and Andrew) started driving, taking turns with Trevin’s dad in the sleeper, just in case they needed to switch seats.
Through high school, Trevin drove the previously-mentioned KW W900L, loading between midnight and 3:00 AM (depending on load time) out of Leoti, KS to Dodge City, KS, arrive back home between 4:00 AM and 6:00 AM, shower and head to school. More often than not, when Trevin was younger, his grandpa would ride with him. He ran these loads even after he graduated high school and went on to college, where he earned an Associate degree in Business, and still makes these same runs today.
As mentioned before, Andrew ended up buying the W900L from their grandparents, so Trevin was moved into the T600 in 2015. Trevin graduated from college in May 2017 and purchased the T600 on August 1, 2017 – which is also the day he started his company – Trevin Walck Trucking. Walck Trucking still remains in the family and, these days, Trevin is leased onto the family business. The company runs throughout Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
I asked Trevin to give me a little insight about hauling cows and important things to know, to learn and make sure of. He said it is very important to learn from someone who is very experienced in hauling cattle. Make sure you know the truck and trailer you are operating, make your stopping distance a priority and know how to load cattle. The cattle have minds of their own and can be dangerous. His grandfather Lyman was once trampled by half a load of cows and has since endured eight back surgeries as a result of that. Trevin also said to never start out fast from a stop, jump the clutch or back up fast, as this can shift the entire load of cattle, which can injure one or more. One full-size cow is worth around $1,100-$1,500, but if it has a broken leg, that will come out of the driver’s pay.
A historical and proud moment for Trevin occurred last year when he finally located that aforementioned 1981 KW A Model – “Betsy” – that took him for a ride out of the shop when he was five years old. This particular truck was purchased by his grandparents around 1982 or 1983, and it was the truck his grandma drove for the next 20 years.
After grandma got out of that truck, they put a driver in it who ended up laying it over. In 1996, Trevin’s dad Travis, while in college, restored the truck from the ground up, including stretching the frame, installing a bigger sleeper (from a 36” to a 60”), and then had it completely painted. At that point, Travis was making payments to purchase the truck until he bought a new truck, so Lyman and Juanita bought it back.
Around 2010, the truck was sold out of the family and the buyer, Trevin later found out, did not take care of it. Through some of his trucking friends, he found the truck and purchased it in September 2018. As he stated, he couldn’t believe he found it – it was a hunk of junk, but he was ecstatic to have found it. It is a slow process, but the truck is currently being restored.
Departing for home after the shoot, I was happy to have had the opportunity to photograph this truck the day before when it was warm and sunny, because my drive home the next day was gloomy, with no sun, and then about an hour from home, the downpour began. Special thanks to Trevin and his family for their time and the honor of being able to tell their story. Next time you travel through Kansas, enjoy its rural communities, vast ranches, modern-day cow towns and cattle pots. As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.