7 drivers share the story behind naming their rig

March 17 / US
7 drivers share the story behind naming their rig

Behind the wheel, hundreds of miles from home for weeks at a time, the isolation can get to even the most experienced road warrior. Little wonder so many carriers nickname their rigs. No matter where the job takes them, they have a coworker they can call on by name.

Every truck has a personality of its own, so it’s not surprising many give their wheels a human name. Owner-operator Sammy Lloyd, who runs a YouTube channel that focuses on trucking, calls his Kenworth 900L “Elle Mae” because “she is classy and a classic.” Daniel McCarthy named his 2019 Peterbilt “Charlie Brown” in homage to the cartoon character. “No matter what life threw at him, he stayed positive, determined, and honest. Through all odds he would always come out on top,” Daniel says. “Plus, my truck is brown.”

Paint jobs inspire a lot of names, too. “Old Blue,” “Big Red,” and “Green Machine” are practically standard equipment nicknames for these popular colors. When it comes to yellow trucks, it’s hard to find one not named “Ol’ Yeller.”

Tried and true names are fine for the highways, but on the show truck scene, more colorful handles take the stage, even for a simple color like white. A great example includes Grant Alderman’s “Milk Money” — a winner in the PKY Truck Beauty Championship at MATS 2017.

Naming trucks after animals is a time-honored tradition. Daniel and Phyllis Snow came up with the name for their current ride after seeing a lone goose flying in a formation of ducks. Their son drives a truck named “The Duck.” “We like to run together, so we named our truck ‘The Goose,’” Phyllis says. “‘The Goose’ and ‘The Duck’—father and son.”

Another animal-related name is “La Bestia” owned by Kevin and Lindsay Waterman. Featuring a black paint job, the Waterman’s Logistics Solutions vehicle carries a wide array of custom modifications. “Everything on the truck is hand fabricated,” Kevin says. “There are over 100 hours just in the bumper. That’s the kind of love that gets a truck a name like ‘the beast.’”

While many trucks are given names before they drive off the dealership lot, others earn their nickname only after racking up a few miles. Bo Elgin of Elgin Enterprises calls his truck “Ol’ Reliable.” “It keeps on going,” he says. “Overall it has required little work other than regular maintenance. It never lets me down.”

Sometimes, however, a truck’s name can reflect a few bumps in the road as well. Robert Houghton, the owner of Eagle Hawk Industries, has a truck he calls “Checkered Past.” “The poor truck has been through a lot,” he says, including a hit and run as well as a blown engine. He’s planning new graphics for the vehicle that will embody the truck’s name and also serve as a tribute to veterans, first responders, medical workers, and others.

What’s your truck’s handle? We’d love to hear the nickname you have for your truck. Just drop us a note on our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram.


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