This month’s creation was built for John Beck (49) of The Hay Yard in Red Bluff, CA. After years of hauling hay for a big ranch in California and buying/selling hay on the side, his “side hustle” eventually became his main gig. Hauling hay with his new Peterbilt seen here, this is one of the lowest trucks we have ever built. And John really digs it! Married to his wife Dena since 2009, the two met in 2007. They both have children from previous relationships.
John’s oldest son Kenny passed away four years ago in an accident involving a firearm. He would have been 25 now. John said that he doesn’t want to suppress the memory of his son, because he remembers so many wonderful times with him, and he doesn’t want to forget those good times.
John’s daughter Megan (21) has a son named Spencer that is just one year old, and John said Spencer likes the trucks and he looks forward to many adventures with him. John also has a daughter named Allison (20). Dena has a daughter named Stephanie (26), a son named Quinton (23), and a daughter who lives in Germany named Sydney (20).
Born and raised in Northern California, John and his sister Emily are the children of Jack and Suzane Beck. In 1979, John’s dad bought a 2-axle 1969 Freightliner COE to haul hay for the family business, Vina Pelletized Feed, which was a mill that ground feed into pellets in the mid-1980s. As things changed with how cattle were being fed, Jack switched to hauling lumber.
After getting his Learner’s Permit in 1986, John spent the entire summer trucking with his dad. The following year he got his CDL and began running his dad’s COE as many trips as possible in his home state. After graduating high school, he went to work for a few people, and always respected his company trucks and drove them like they were his own.
In 1999 John went to work for the Menne Ranch in Fort Jones, CA (northwest of Weed). In 2004 they purchased and fixed up a nice standard hood 379 Peterbilt for John to drive. Over the years, as a side job, John bought and sold hay on evenings and weekends. As he sold more and more, while still working for the ranch, John rented a small lot to store and sell the hay in 2009. With $8,000 he had saved, he bought fencing and a simple shelter. Later, he bought a squeeze, and before he knew it, his side hustle had become his main job – one bale at a time.
Needing a truck, John asked the folks at Menne Ranch if they would sell him the truck they built for him – the truck he had drove every day for the last ten years. John said, “There was no mystery with that truck,” because he knew the ins and outs of it and loved it. He was so happy the ranch agreed to sell it to him. He ran that truck until purchasing the new one seen here. When John called me about ordering a new truck, he told me that he was looking for something clean and understated, something not too flashy, but classy.
The new truck is a 2-axle 2021 Pete 389 with a 48” flattop. After a few “COVID” delays at the factory, the truck finally arrived. Cathie did a great job of gathering as many parts as she could, but everything took longer to get and was harder to find because of the pandemic. Cody was assigned to do the entire assembly on this one, which he really liked. Minus some paint work did by our painters, Cody did mostly everything else.
The additions made to this sweet 2-axle include a Tommy visor, glass cab lights, dummy stacks, extra grill bars, custom breather panels, custom cab skirts from Bub, painted tanks, a hidden DEF tank, Hogebuilt quarter fenders, and a special bumper from Augie and the crew at Valley Chrome. With an air-ride kit for the steer axle from Stuart Loewen at NorCal Customs, one of my body drop kits, and 255 rubber, this is one of the lowest trucks we have ever built. To go any lower, we would have to raise the engine to clear the axle, but for now, we must say, this one has “stooped” to a new level.
When John came to Kansas City to pick up his new ride, he had “low expectations” and I am really happy to say we didn’t let him down. Putting his new truck to work out west, John is proudly making a name for himself in the hay hauling business – one bale at a time – and I am proud that he let us be a small part of it!