As most know, the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) is the stage to showcase new builds and the beginning of the show season every year. Including MATS, 2020 has seen cancellation after cancellation of events, which has led to the inability to unveil many amazing rides. I found one such truck, nestled in Webster Parish in Louisiana, owned by a company that has unveiled other memorable builds such as “Smoking Section” and “Color of Money” at past shows. This truck is not a fairy tale and it doesn’t have any dwarfs, but it was named “Snow White” because of the class and elegance of some people’s favorite childhood character.
PMI (Preferred Materials, Inc.) in Sibley, LA is a trucking company with a foundation of hard work, strong family ties, and qualified drivers who take pride in the trucks they drive. Owners of PMI, Kary and Sharon Bryce, set a very high standard for their company and all its equipment from the beginning. Their fleet of over 140 trucks, which looks like a truck show on their lot, can be wrapped up in one word – stunning.
Their plans for this build hadn’t started with the chassis you see today, but there was another contender PMI was considering. They purchased Snow White’s chassis on August 22, 2019, and it wasn’t until late October 2019 when they decided this truck would be their build project for MATS 2020. Kary Bryce decided to bring the team together to embark on this journey of a 389 build, as they had previously done a 359 and a 379, so it only made sense that this was the next step. Going forward, they will be working on restoration projects of antique trucks that have been waiting in the wings for some time now.
Heading up this project is a young man by the name of Andrew Ditz who acquired the nickname “Stick” years ago. Growing up around Clarion, PA, Stick had an interest in big rigs from an early age and went to a 3-year program at the Clarion County Career Center where all they worked on was building custom trucks. This is the only high school to have ever built trucks that were registered and sent to the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY. This program was sponsored by well-known companies in the trucking industry, like 4 State Trucks out of Joplin, MO.
Stick’s senior year, he and fellow seniors were required to put together five resumes to hand out a minimum of 3 or 4 at MATS 2011. Stick made it a point to go for the companies who would allow him to apply what he had learned in school, which is what he was passionate about. 4 State Trucks had been high on his list, so he had approached the owner, Bryan Martin, regarding a position with the company. Fast forward to May of 2011 when Stick graduated, he already had a job lined up at 4 State Trucks where he would embark on a journey of custom trucks for the next eight years at the home of the Chrome Shop Mafia.
Kary Bryce was first introduced to Stick in 2015 when 4 State Trucks had completed a restoration project on PMI’s “Smoking Section” – a 1986 Peterbilt 359. Over the years, Stick had been a part of several other projects on trucks and trailers owned by PMI, including another big project in 2018 when PMI brought their 2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy “Color of Money” to 4 State Trucks in 2017 for a restore to unveil at MATS 2018, which included a painted-to-match refrigerated trailer. It wasn’t until Kary approached Stick about a project that he wanted Stick’s input and ideas where they finally had the chance to talk and get to know each other. Long story short, Stick relocated to Louisiana and started working for PMI on July 1, 2019. One thing he and Kary Bryce have in common is their appreciation for a classy and elegant look for a truck, while being able to accomplish a “wow” factor once a truck is completed.
For the last couple of years, PMI has become capable of doing in-house builds. From the shop, which handles the guts of the truck, including the engine work, to the install department, where all the pieces come together, to the paint crew, which continually improves their skills, and finishing out with the polish department, giving a pristine shine to each part of the truck they polish.
“Snow White” is a 2020 Peterbilt 389 glider which was purchased with a plain factory white base color and a single-stage Casino Purple frame. The interior from the factory was tan, and it came with a factory 300-inch wheelbase. It wasn’t the initial choice for the build, but as Kary was looking at this truck, it was decided that it would be the blank canvas to start a custom build. The crew couldn’t figure out how to tastefully bring the tan interior and the white and purple exterior together, so they brought in one of their other new gliders into the shop, which had a gray interior, and they did a complete (front to back) interior swap in November 2019. This was the initial step and, from there, Kary told Stick to make a list of everything he needed for the truck so they could discuss it all.
Kary Bryce had decided “Snow White” would be powered by a C-18, which they already had, sitting in the shop on a pallet. There was a hiccup with the injector/fuel pressure to fully power the 950-hp engine along the way, so towards the end of February, it was decided to temporarily install a C-15 in the truck until the show was over.
As the build progressed, all of the custom parts on the exterior were all pre-fitted, before the truck went into the paint booth, to make sure everything would fit properly. This needed to be done because once the truck was painted, there would be only mere days before they departed for the Mid-America Trucking Show. As we all fell into the throws of the Coronavirus pandemic, truck shows were also affected, and MATS 2020 was canceled on March 12, 2020, leaving “Snow White” 2-3 days away from completion.
After MATS was canceled, “Snow White” had her C-18 finally installed and, as said above, what you see today is a 2020 Peterbilt 389 glider full of ideas, visions, and hard work. The truck has an 18-speed Eaton Fuller trans, 3:55 rears, and the aforementioned 300-inch factory wheelbase. The truck sports a wide rear, measuring a full 102 inches wide, in comparison to the standard width of 96 inches. “Snow White” was outfitted with visors, rear fenders, a T-bar, and the horseshoes found on the deck plate and rear bumper by 4 State Trucks. PMI special ordered a 24-inch bumper from Valley Chrome and installed 7-inch Lincoln Chrome exhaust. To final out this classic build, a Kicker stereo system was added, and the existing speakers were replaced with (2) 4×6 speakers in the overhead console and (2) 8-inch sub-woofers under the bed.
Paint remained the same, with the addition of clear coat on the frame to bring out that extra shine, matching Casino Purple stripes, which manifested from a photo idea by Marty Colvin, and then Pearl White was added to various parts of the truck. The Pearl White was applied to the motor, transmission, fuel tanks, middle stripe, floor, air tanks, shifter, and steering wheel.
Marty Colvin made the headlights for the truck to mimic 379 headlights. Moffet Kustoms LLC out of Grandby, MO did all of the interior embroidery work. All of the decals on the interior and exterior, including the portrait of Snow White on the sleeper doors and “Stickerbilt” over the Peterbilt emblem on the grill surround, were made by Thunder Grafix out of Joplin, MO.
What makes this truck unique is the attention to detail, including the hidden heater hoses, fuel lines, and wires. Every bolt on the frame rail was turned to the same position on the whole length of the chassis. Also, the powerful C-18, which is an industrial engine, is rarely used in commercial truck applications.
Stick doesn’t have a specific job title but is willing to do whatever needs to be done, including truck restoration, cosmetic repairs, wiring, interior work, and anything else needed to maintain the newness of all the trucks in the fleet. Pictured is almost everyone involved in the build, starting with the two-person photo of Alejandro and Paulino Martinez from the paint department. The big group photo includes Benito Garcia, Ricardo Coyolt, Drew Tinsley, Shani Lee, Nataly Bryce Madden, Todd Ruple, Jared Bryce, Kary Bryce, Raymond Parker, Marcus Smith, Andrew “Stick” Ditz, Colby Harris, Jamie Murray, and Genaro Quinonez.
I first found out about “Snow White” towards the beginning of April this year. After arriving in Sibley and spending time with Kary and Stick, I realized there is a great story in all of this. The weather was beautiful for shooting the truck and included a couple of hours of rain on the last day I was there. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to David and John Madden of Madden Contracting Company out of Sibley, LA for the use of their beautiful driveway, and to Blake Smith for the permission to pull the truck inside of the old Kansas City Southern warehouse in Minden, LA for a few shots.
Special thanks from Stick to Colby Harris who built the engine for the truck, the paint crew who knocked it out of the park, everyone at PMI who had a hand in the build for all of the support, and Kary and Sharon Bryce for giving him the opportunity with a blank canvas and allowing him to make his vision a reality. Also, thanks to Stick’s father Vince for getting him hooked on semi-trucks at an early age and pushing him to never give up and always give 110%.
Speaking with Kary, he said he is so proud of the way everyone came together as a team on this build. When there was something that didn’t look right, jointly they would agree it wasn’t right and then together make the necessary decisions. They set high expectations for each other for what they wanted to accomplish and successfully executed their plans with an outcome they, in my opinion, could be very proud of. Kary already knew it, but this was proof they needed to realize they are capable of doing anything. Stick is a very humble individual with a huge passion and an unmatched work ethic. Kary said his standard of excellence is why Kary wanted to have “Stickerbilt” placed over the Peterbilt emblem on the front of the truck.
Thank you to Kary and Sharon Bryce for your continued friendship and welcoming me back to your home and business with an opportunity to tell the truck’s story. Thank you to all at PMI who participated in helping me get the photos I needed during my stay. Also, thank you to Stick for your time and the opportunity to get a look into your creative mind and see the completed build of this “Snow White” Peterbilt through my camera lens, because this truck is the real deal – no fairy tale here! As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.