The state of Louisiana is famous for a lot of cool and unique things. Some of these things include their delicious Cajun cuisine, being the Jazz Capital of the world and Mardi Gras. It is also the only state to have parishes instead of counties. Louisiana is also known to have a few not-so-famous but still well-known truckers. One of these cool Cajuns known within the industry (and even more locally) is Shane Boullion, who proudly pilots a unique dark rose gray Peterbilt 379 throughout the South and, once a month, out to California.
Owner of Shane P. Boullion Trucking LLC out of Cankton, LA, Shane always knew he would get into trucking. Growing up in New Iberian, LA, Shane would often ride along with his dad, who drove on-and-off throughout his life. Talking with Shane, you can hear his strong Cajun accent, but he can also speak French, because his grandparents only spoke Cajun French when he was growing up.
As a kid, Shane remembers the times he was misbehaving, and his dad threatening that he wouldn’t wake him up in the morning to go trucking with him. Shane, not wanting to miss out on riding along with his dad, would wait until his dad was asleep and then lay down on the floor on his dad’s side of the bed to sleep, so when his dad got up he’d inadvertently step on him and wake him up. Now that is determination and commitment!
Beginning with a 1984 one-ton Nissan Dually, Shane started driving when he was 17, running hotshot, until he purchased his first truck at 19 years old. He always drove his own equipment, and for many years, was always leased to a company. In May of 1999, Shane married Crystal, who also comes from a trucking family. After finally deciding that he wanted to be his own boss, book his own freight and be out from under someone’s thumb, he obtained his authority in February 2016. Crystal keeps the company organized with the bookkeeping and accounting, along with taking care of the day-to-day operations at home, while Shane is on the road.
The truck he runs today, as seen on the cover, centerfold and these pages here, started off as burgundy in color when he purchased it in 2010. Later, it was repainted to the dark rose gray color you see today by Baton Rouge Truck Center. The truck is a 2001 Peterbilt 379 which pulls a 2018 MAC step deck trailer. The truck boasts a C-15 CAT under the hood, an 18-speed Eaton Fuller transmission, 3:55 rears and a stout 300” wheelbase. Shane named his truck Rosemary, which is a combination of the truck’s paint color and his mother’s name, Mary.
Shane prides himself on his interior, as it is all original and well taken care of, with the exception of the knobs, made by John Silva of Silva Kustoms in Chowchilla, CA. Exterior custom items include a 20” Lincoln Chrome bumper, Air Ride by Horse, RLK Services visor, 6” Dynaflex stacks and Talladega rear fenders. Most of the fabricating work was done by Extreme Welding and Fabrication in Cankton, LA, while PDI out of St. George, UT handled all the engine tuning. The rig’s pink pinstriping was done by Jace Hebert in Kaplan, LA. Shane would also like to thank “Mr. Henry” at Little Sister’s Truck Wash in Barstow for all the polishing work he does on his truck each month when he goes to California.
Having attended several local shows over the years, his first major competitive event was the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) in Dallas, TX in 2013, where he earned a 1st place trophy in his class. Fast forward two years, and Shane was on his way to GATS again. After stopping at a truck wash in Dallas, Shane went to a truck stop with a friend to eat some breakfast before heading into the show. While the two were eating their breakfast, someone ran into Shane’s truck and caused roughly $16,000 of damage to his hood and bumper. Not wanting to be defeated, he went to the show and still entered his truck. The judges heard his story and were understanding, and he was awarded 1st place in his class and 1st place for his interior! During the awards ceremony, Todd Roccapriore of Connecticut won a 20” bumper from Lincoln Chrome. In a grand gesture, Todd graciously handed the certificate to Shane, and that bumper is still on his truck today.
Since then, Shane has taken the truck to many other major shows, including the show I first met him and Crystal – the 75 Chrome Shop Truck Show in Wildwood, FL. At that show, not only did we all establish a friendship, but he was awarded a spot on 75 Chrome’s 2019 calendar, which me and Chris from Big Rig Videos photographed, along with the rest of the calendar spot holders.
Although he never had the chance to run with his father, Shane takes great pride in the ability to make runs with his son, Nick, who also drives for the company, running in a 2008 Peterbilt 389. In addition to the runs they make together, Shane enjoys attending truck shows with his son, as well. When Nick was little, he rode along with Shane a lot before he started school. Thinking about this triggered a memory for Shane – a story that seems to be firmly embedded in his mind.
On one particular trucking trip, when Nick was around two or three years old, Shane stopped so they could get some sleep. Shane told Nick it was time to go to sleep, so he got into the bed in the sleeper, but apparently wasn’t very comfortable. When Shane woke up in the morning, he couldn’t find Nick anywhere. As he started to panic and look all over the truck, Shane eventually found his young son fast asleep underneath the bed.
Today, Shane has a fleet of three trucks, and they run mostly oilfield equipment, which is what his father hauled when he was driving. In that area, generally speaking, most trucking companies are either hauling various oilfield equipment or ag products, such as sugar cane. Shane said he absolutely loves trucking, and next to his family and breathing, trucking means everything to him. There’s that Cajun commitment and determination again!
Having turned 50 this year in June, Shane can’t think of any other career path he would have rather taken. He mentioned when he was in elementary school, while playing out on the playground, anytime a big truck would approach, he’d run to the fence and do an arm pump. After the drivers would honk their horns, Shane would run back audibly making the sounds of a truck shifting gears.
Although his dad definitely influenced Shane’s desire to get into trucking, he did not teach him how to drive – his dad lacked the patience. Shane credits learning how to drive to his friend Alvin Thibeau, who took Shane out trucking plenty of times when he was little, and beyond. Shane vividly remembers, when he was younger, waiting on the side of the road for Alvin to pick him up. They would drive out to the middle of nowhere, and then Alvin would let young Shane drive. Alvin taught him the art of “feeling” his truck through his hands and feet, and how to listen to the truck, because it will always tell you a story.
To date, Shane’s most memorable load was a Magellan remote operated vehicle (ROV) which he hauled in 1998. This particular ROV recovered some of the remains of the Titanic. But, more often than not, it seemed that most of his trucking memories revolved around jokes and pranks between he and his friends and other drivers. He laughed as he told me one of those stories.
Passing a fuel stop, he saw one of his buddies there, so he turned around and went back, then parked next to his truck. Crystal was along on this trip, and they thought it would be funny to get her inside his friend’s truck to scare him. The doors were locked, but the sleeper door wasn’t, so Shane boosted Crystal up into the sleeper, then he went inside to meet his friend. Walking out together, Shane asked his friend if he was ready to hit the road, and then they both hopped in their trucks. About that time, Crystal reached around from the sleeper and grabbed Shane’s friend, and darn-near gave him a heart attack! But they were all able to laugh about it later.
Over the last year or so, I learned a little about what trucking is like down in southern Louisiana. There are many relatively unknown but good-lookin’ trucks running up and down the interstate, but most don’t run very far from home in any direction (which is why they are relatively unknown to the rest of the country). Though this is the case for some, Shane mostly runs regional throughout Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma, and he also has a dedicated run, once-a-month, out to California.
Some people may understand that Mother Nature isn’t always cooperative when it comes to setting up a truck photo shoot in advance (especially in a different state than you live), so it is always a shot in the dark as to what one will make work for locations and images.
I went to southern Louisiana several months ago to do this photo shoot and spent the entire first day just scouting locations, which wasn’t as easy as one might think, due to the excessive amount of rain the area had. I managed to find some great spots, but more rain came, leaving me with just one nice day to get the shoot done. Thankfully, all but one of the locations were on pavement or concrete, which helped keep the truck clean throughout the day. And then, just after we completed shooting and Shane pulled the truck back in the shop, it started to downpour.
Special thanks to Shane and Crystal for not only opening up their home to me, but for their hospitality in giving me the opportunity to experience the parade festivities, as well as trying some Cajun cuisine, including crawfish and Boudin. Also, thank you to our own Dan Linss for digging through the 10-4 archives from 2015 for the picture of Shane, bent bumper and all, at GATS with his trophy.
I had been to northern Louisiana on a few different occasions but had never been to southern Louisiana. If you haven’t been there yet, consider doing so at some point. I enjoyed the laid-back lifestyle, the fact that everyone seemed to get along with everyone else, and the endless supply of great food to eat. Shane Boullion may not be world famous, but everyone in southern Louisiana seemed to know him. I look forward to my next trip down South to experience more of that Cajun cool! As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.