When searching for a truck to feature on our special 30th anniversary issue, we went on the hunt for a 1993 truck that was still working. Obviously, it needed to be a cool ride, with an owner that had some personality, as well. With the help of some friends, we found Reid Gerhardt and his 1993 Kenworth W900L. Reid is the real deal, and his truck just happens to be pretty cool, too. And during the photo shoot, we realized that Reid himself, like his truck, was born in 1993 and was 30 years old. What a fun bonus. So, not only is 10-4 Magazine “30 Years & Still Rollin” – but both Reid and his KW are, too!
Born in Fairmont, MN in April of 1993, Reid Gerhardt (30) grew up in a farming family. Growing row crops like corn and beans, Reid’s family also had some livestock. Reid always just figured he’d grow up to be a farmer, but that’s not exactly how it went. He and his father didn’t always see eye-to-eye on things, and some other life situations forced him to look for a different career. After high school, Reid headed to South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD to study Ag Business. Although it took him a bit longer than it should have, he graduated in 2015. From there, he moved to Aberdeen, SD and began working with a friend who farmed and had trucks. Doing some dirt work and running local loads, Reid was there for about six months.
Rewind to 2010, and his mother Diane was diagnosed with breast cancer when Reid was about 17 years old. She fought hard and beat it and was deemed “cancer free” for many years. However, in March of 2016, shortly after Reid had graduated from college, she had a heart attack and passed away. Reid believes the drugs she was taking to remain cancer free probably caused the heart attack, since they had no history of heart problems in their family. Her death had a profound effect on Reid – in his own words, he said that he did not handle it well. Leaving Aberdeen and heading back home, Reid spent the better part of 2016 trying to deal with the sudden loss of his mother.
Having worked side-by-side with his wife for many years as they built their business, Reid’s father Dick struggled with Diane’s passing, as well. In fact, he decided to retire altogether at that point. Later, Dick found a new “person” named Sarah, and Reid loves her. Always wanting to haul livestock, at 23 years old, Reid got his CDL and bought his first truck in September of 2106 – a 2003 Pete 379 with a 275” wheelbase and a 48” flattop sleeper. Painted a dark orange color with a maroon frame, fenders and roof, Reid used this truck to run locally for about one year. In October 2017 he bought his next truck, a baby blue 1999 Pete 379 with a 60” standup sleeper and a 300” wheelbase. About six months later, he began running OTR with it.
Running that 1999 Peterbilt for about a year, he next purchased a bright yellow 1982 Kenworth A-model with an extended hood, an Aero 1 sleeper, a 12.7-liter Detroit, and a 10+4 transmission setup. He ran this old A-model everywhere, from California to North Carolina, and loved it. But keeping an old truck like that running was no easy task, so in October 2020 he bought the 1993 Kenworth W900L seen here on these pages and on our cover and centerfold this month (he still has the old A-model). When he first got the W900L, it was all black with a black chassis, had a 285” wheelbase, a 15-speed, an 8-bag Kenworth rear suspension, the Aero 1 sleeper, and about 800,000 miles on the 14-liter Detroit under the hood.
Putting it to work immediately, the motor let loose six months later, so Reid had it completely rebuilt. He also switched to a 13-speed at one point, but it now has a 5+4 setup. The 8-bag suspension was replaced with a Peterbilt cutoff with LowAir, and the wheelbase was stretched to 300 inches by Reid and his friend Cody. At that point, they also sprayed the chassis a highly metallic dark red color. The truck, when he bought it, had an air-ride front end, but it ran really rough, so he later replaced it with a new system from House of Air with dump valves. A few months ago (March 2023) he hit a deer, so the hood had to be replaced. At this time, his friend Cody painted it black and then added the “hot rod” inspired yellow, orange, and red flames to the sides and top of the hood, along with the tops of the front fenders, and then Reid added the blue outlines himself.
Definitely a work in progress, the truck also has 6” pipes from Lincoln Chrome, a car-hauler front axle with Pete 389 springs, J.W. Speaker heated LED headlights, a 20” Lincoln Chrome front bumper, blinkers with blue dots in the center from Grand General mounted atop the front fenders, and Panelite cab extensions with three “double bubble” lights on each side. Some other additions include a red plexiglass peep window in the passenger door, red plexiglass name plates hanging under the sleeper on each side (hand painted by Reid), a stainless drop visor, five cab lights and two horns up on the roof, Hogebuilt quarter fenders, etched side windows (done by Reid), bus glass in the front sleeper windows, and a swan hood ornament that has obviously seen many miles.
Liking that classic and worn look, this truck is not perfect by any means – and Reid likes it that way (and so do we). Over the years he has added some of his own pinstripes, along with the phrase “Holy Roller” on the back of the sleeper, along with a pair of dice, and there is a lot of old and faded residual pinstripes and such all over the exterior (and interior) of the Kenworth from past owners. The back of the Aero 1 sleeper also features a uniquely shaped vintage diamond (or maybe sapphire) bubble window, and there are “beaver lights” mounted on the mirrors on each side. Under the hood, the 14-liter Detroit Diesel Series 60, which is painted black, has “plenty” of horsepower to spare.
Moving inside the cab, the interior is mostly stock, but Reid has embellished it with a lot of personal touches, which include pinstriping on the dash, lots of fun stickers, a set of “Moon” foot pedals from the 70s, and a pair of red fuzzy dice. The truck has a factory tilt steering column, black leather seats (which have been munched on a bit by his new dog), stock gray diamond tuck KW upholstery throughout, and a vintage red glitter bicycle grip style shifter knob and matching clutch pedal. Reid hopes to do a little more work in the cab, but he loves driving this truck and has not got bored with it yet!
And speaking of his new dog, Reid recently got a puppy to take on the road with him. Bolt (he calls her Bolty) is a six-month old Catahoula, which is a medium-sized hunting breed. She was with him at the photo shoot, and was running around the ranch the entire time, even though it was hot as hell, and there were “goat heads” (super prickly weeds) growing all over the place! Thankfully, because of the very wet winter, these goat heads were still green and not fully matured into the nightmare daggers that they eventually become, which have been known to completely penetrate thick flip flop sandals and even car tires, as well.
Even the cattle ranch where we took these pictures is a pretty cool place, with a little 10-4 history, too. The ranch, near Teapot Dome in Porterville, CA, out in the middle of nowhere, was used as a backdrop ten years ago when we shot Pete DeBoer’s 1952 Peterbilt cattle truck and trailer back in 2013. Once again, Mark Pacheco helped us out by getting us permission from the owners and opening all the necessary gates to get us in – he also hung out with us during the shoot and enjoyed being a part of all the fun. This 150-year-old ranch at one point, back in the mid-1800s, was over 200,000 acres. Today, encompassing about 2,200 acres, the ranch is now owned by a big corporation.
When we decided that this September 2023 edition, our special 30th anniversary issue, would be featuring nothing but working 1993 trucks (except for the Mack featured in Trucker Talk), we started wracking our brains and calling a few friends, looking for recommendations. One of the people we reached out to was our friend and confidant, and past cover trucker (July 2019), Jake Bast. Jake immediately put a short list of good candidates together, and one of those people was Reid. Oddly enough, I had just seen Reid’s KW at the big antique truck show in Reno last June, and for some reason, it really stood out for me amongst the 800+ trucks in attendance (I even put a pic of it in the show report). So, when Jake mentioned Reid and his KW, and then told me a little about Reid himself, I was sold. We immediately planned the photo shoot for one of his upcoming trips out west.
Being a true owner operator, running under Reid Gerhardt Trucking, Reid pulls a livestock trailer for Kelly Livestock Express out of Fairview, SD. His boss, Kelly Blankespoor, deserves a lot of thanks. Running between the Midwest and California, Reid pulls a 2021 Merritt Livestock trailer with a Canadian spread. Equipped with four decks, Reid can haul everything including pigs, sheep, goats, calves, and full-sized cattle. His typical run has him bringing livestock out west to various processing plants, and calves back, depending on the time of year. Kelly and his company currently have about seven owner operators pulling their trailers.
In addition to thanking Kelly Blankespoor, Reid also wanted to thank his friends Cody Stoeklen, Brad Weilert, and Doug Fairburn for all their help and support over the years. Cody runs a cool slammed purple Peterbilt with a C18 Cat and has helped Reid with many of the projects done to this KW. Brad is a fellow trucker who inspires Reid with how clean he keeps his rig, and Doug, who is now retired, is the one who got Reid hooked on A-models. Lastly, he wanted to thank his polisher Josie of High Steppin Transport out of Aplington, IA. In addition to polishing trucks, he also hauls livestock, as well.
Still single and never been married, Reid has always enjoyed diesel-powered pickup trucks, too. Over the years he has owned a few, along with a couple of fun cars, like a 1995 Nissan 240SX. Trucking as hard as he does, he doesn’t have much time for hobbies, besides maintaining his work truck and tinkering on his pickups and A-model. He also owns an iconic reefer trailer from the not-so-distant past, which he intends to fix up and, maybe one day, pull behind his KW if necessary (it’s always nice to have options). Reid is happy with how things are but knows he will never get rich – but he sure does have a lot of fun, and to him, that is everything.
When asked how to describe his style, he shied away from terms like classic, old school, or an old soul. He said, “You make do with what you have, because you can’t afford to do things too fancy.” I think it would be fair to make the comparison of rat rod style, in its true form, where you slap together whatever works (not today’s deliberate rat rod style where you spend money and make something that looks improvised). Either way, Reid Gerhardt is genuine and the real deal – and so is his Kenworth. We are so happy and proud to feature he and his truck on our special 30th anniversary cover this month, and on our 30th anniversary shirt, in honor of our milestone of “30 years and still rollin!” Here’s to 30 more years… for both of us!!