There are many different facets of the trucking industry and each one plays an integral role in moving America. Experience is based on not only someone teaching you, but a desire to grow and be as good as you can be. The education can be immediate, with having someone there to help you, or you can simply learn as you go. Brandon Lesage (36) learned the ropes of driving from his father, but he took a leap on his own to be involved in the livestock hauling industry.
Born and raised in Wisconsin, Brandon always had a fondness for trucks and equipment, with an initial background in farming versus trucking. His father drove truck for a while making Brandon technically a second generation in the industry. He thrived with always having a good work ethic and started milking cows for a local farm early on.
Early livestock hauling for Brandon didn’t start with a semi-truck – it began with a pickup truck and a gooseneck trailer – hauling calves to South Dakota when he was just 16 years old. Fast forward to 2004 and, at age 18, he bought his first livestock trailer and his first semi, a 1986 Peterbilt 359, which came to be one of the two trucks he should have never let go. This was also the year (2004) he started Lesage Trucking.
Soon thereafter, in February of 2005, at the sleigh rides in Eagle River, Brandon met Nicole – a woman willing to give him a run for his money and who would inevitably become his ride-or-die in business and in life. The idea was to continue as an owner operator, which he succeeded in doing, with the exception of a short period of time that he drove as an employee. Through the years, both he and Nicole have worked very hard to get to where they are today.
Something Brandon always wanted to do was build a show truck, and with positive influences like Vinnie Diorio and Don Wood in the industry, there was a standard set. Brandon looked up to these guys not only because the beautiful equipment they owned, but also because they both had always been good to him. Brandon finally got his opportunity with a black 2019 Peterbilt 389 glider, which proved to be the right canvas as a starting point for his dream show truck.
After speaking with the folks at AMCAN Truck Parts, along with Total Appearance, and explaining what he wanted, they made Brandon’s show truck come together. That truck boasts a CAT 3406E, an 18-speed transmission, 3.36 rears, and a sleek 320-inch wheelbase. Painted black with a teal frame and teal stripes, this truck is as beautiful as it is classy (pictured on the bottom of this page). Black and all dark colored trucks are hard to keep clean, but there is no denying how sharp they look when they are cleaned up and on point!
The pictured work truck is a 2022 Peterbilt 389 with a Cummins X15 under the hood, 18-speed transmission, 3.42 rears, and a 295-inch wheelbase. It sports Hogebuilt fenders, a 20-inch Valley Chrome bumper, RLK visor, 7-inch Dynaflex stacks, 12 Ga. rear light bar, and Trux headlights. However, the truck has seen a couple changes since I photographed it, including an air-ride suspension and a 12 Ga. bumper flip kit. Future changes include painting the dash panels and some other interior work.
When Brandon was ordering this truck from JX Peterbilt in Green Bay, he was thumbing through the color swatches and came across this color. At the time it was fairly unique, but as time has gone on, you can find other trucks out on the road with the same color, which is North Sea Gray. Brandon ordered the truck in October 2020, and it came in February 11, 2021. It then went to AMCAN to get extra paint work done, which included color-matching the fuel tanks and painting the frame the same teal as the frame on his black show truck.
The trailer has a story all its own! It is a 2020 Wilson livestock trailer that he bought in July of 2019, and Brandon pulled it full time until he dropped it off at AMCAN Truck Parts on February 24, 2020, so it could be torn down and refreshed. When he bought the trailer, he had AlumaClear applied for preservation which, in the long run, proved to have been a solid decision. The refresh of the trailer included painting the rails and the underside. The trailer was back on the road in March of 2020, and Brandon continued to pull it full time until August 2021, when it was put out of commission so it could stay looking nice hooked to his black and teal show truck.
After about two years of running a van trailer, hauling paper and boat seats almost consistently, in December 2022, Brandon brought the show trailer out of hibernation and went to work running cattle full time again. He hauls regionally in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. He said running regionally is important so he can balance his work life with his family life to try to avoid missing the important dates and the quality time.
Through the years, Brandon tried his hand at running a flatbed for a while, but he didn’t get the rush he gets when he hauls cattle. He explained he loves what he does because there is a certain thrill about it – along with the need to go, go, go until you get to your final destination. Much satisfaction comes from the safe transport, overcoming the challenges that keep him on his toes, and keeping the farmers he delivers to happy.
Brandon gave some words of advice regarding building and buying your own truck. For building a truck, he said to figure out your vision and then establish a plan to make it happen. It is necessary to get opinions of others, but you don’t have to do what they tell you. They may, however, have ideas you hadn’t thought of. Always remember, in other’s eyes, you’ll never build the perfect truck, because there will always be people who pick it apart. Build the truck the way you want it, and don’t worry about what others say or think. Regarding buying your own truck, you have to be willing to work hard, because you will give up much of your life for it. Brandon said he has lost friends over trucking and quality time with his family, but the right people will remain in your life no matter what.
Today, Brandon and Nicole have been engaged since July 9, 2016, and remain a strong couple, residing in Abrams, WI. They are the proud parents of Brock (11), Bailey (7), Brinley (3) and Beckett (1). They have three semis, which includes the pictured daily runner for Brandon, their black and teal show truck, and 2019 Peterbilt 389 they have a driver in. They also have a Dodge pickup and a gooseneck trailer that Nicole runs every day locally. Brandon said she is the boss and is responsible for being the glue that holds everything together including taking care of the kids, the home, the paperwork, and helping Brandon with dispatch. When Brandon isn’t working, he is with Nicole and the kids, spending that quality time together which includes fishing, hunting, and washing trucks. Whatever Brandon is doing, the entire family is included.
During our conversation, Brandon told me one of his most memorable driving experiences was taking Nicole and their son Brock to California with him. Brock was less than a year old at the time and the truck and trailer were all cleaned up. It was definitely something Brandon won’t soon forget.
Special thanks from Brandon to Nicole first and foremost because he couldn’t do this without her. She has always been by his side, no matter what, good or bad. Nicole is a great mother and wife and no matter what Brandon is doing, she is there to help and do whatever it takes to get things done. Also, thank you to Nick Kimball at AMCAN and Total Appearance for helping to make his dream of building a show truck come true, as well as the work they did on the pictured work truck.
I met Brandon and Nicole for the first time in 2021 at the Guilty By Association Truck Show in Joplin, MO as they were cleaning their truck up. Chris from Big Rig Videos and myself photographed the featured trucks for the show’s 2022 calendar, and Brandon, with his black 389, was one of them. After that show, Brandon and I had a chance to communicate over the phone and the initial plan was to photograph the show truck, but Brandon sent me a picture of the truck he runs full time and my decision changed. The gray truck is just a very unique color which immediately sparked my interest, plus it is the one that is on the road working.
On one of my trips up to Wisconsin is when we scheduled the photo shoot, and I’m never disappointed with seeing more of my home state. We were able to utilize a couple pretty cool locations for some of the photos which included Chase Stone Barn Park in the unincorporated Town of Chase, and the entrance of The Barn at Sunset Acres in Pulaski, WI. The latter was definitely my favorite location! We also took photos at Brandon and Nicole’s house/shop in Abrams, along with some rolling shots of both the gray 389 and the black 389 on Hwy 41, which isn’t too far from their home.
Thank you to Brandon and Nicole for not only giving me this opportunity to photograph your truck, but for the continued friendship, as well. I made the trip up to Wisconsin from Georgia to coordinate with Brandon and his family’s schedule. They have a beautiful piece of property in Abrams, and we were able to not only get the truck photographed, but also have some time to visit. Of course, there is never enough time, but we made do with what we had to work with, for sure. It is relatable on a different scale on how we are all trying to make our way in the world, but much of trucking is “learn as you go” for many, including Brandon Lesage. To all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.