Keep Pushin’ On!

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Trucking has never been an easy career, and these days, it is even more challenging.  To successfully stay in the game you need to love it, be completely committed, and just keep pushin’ on – no matter what!  For young Boe DelaBarre (24) of DelaBarre Trucking in Bismarck, ND, this philosophy has helped him overcome some early tests and trials and kept him focused as a third-generation truck driver, along with his older brother Hunter (26).  Following in the footsteps of their father, Jason DelaBarre (52), and their grandfather Bob DelaBarre (77), both Boe and Hunter have cool rides, and both have worked hard to get them at very young ages.

With roots in both farming and trucking, the DelaBarre family farm was located about 55 miles west of Bismarck in Glen Ullin, ND.  Bob DelaBarre grew grain and raised cattle, which eventually led to trucks and trucking.  Forming Bob’s Trucking around 1975 with the purchase of a 1970 big bunk Freightliner cabover, Bob mostly hauled grain and cattle, but as time passed and the operation grew to five trucks, the company began to haul other commodities, as well.  Growing up in this environment, Boe and Hunter’s dad Jason enjoyed farming, but gravitated more toward the trucks.

Back in those days, it was not uncommon for kids to start trucking way before they were legally allowed to, and such was the case for Jason.  His first solo trip in a truck with a load, following his father’s taillights closely, was at the age of 13.  He didn’t even have a car license yet, never mind a CDL.  Later, after getting his car license, he remembers rolling through scales, with his hat pulled low and his sunglasses on, trying to be nonchalant and fit in.  Sometimes they waved him through, and sometimes they stopped him, but even then, they did not cite him or shut him down, they just politely suggested he get his CDL, and then let him go on his way.  It was a different time, for sure.

Joining the company “legally” as a driver around 1988, Jason later purchased his own truck from his dad – a 1996 Freightliner Classic XL – in the late 1990s, shortly before forming his own company.  Starting DelaBarre Trucking in 2000, the following year, after his mother passed away from brain cancer, Jason bought his dad out and moved all his trucks, trailers, drivers, and customers to his company.  Today, with about 20 trucks and a handful of owner operators, DelaBarre Trucking pulls all sorts of trailers and hauls all kinds of various freight.

Depending on what each driver prefers to haul, Jason tries to be as accommodating as possible and currently has flatbeds, step decks, vans, reefers, belly dumps, and bull racks in the fleet.  Some of his drivers prefer new trucks, while others want to run older equipment so, as stated before, he tries to cater to his driver’s wants and needs as much as he can.  His father Bob, at 77 years old, still drives for the company, running a 1997 Freightliner Classic XL with a 12.7 Detroit.  Having a soft spot for these old Freightliner Classics, Jason hopes to one day fix this rig up and customize it, as it was the first “big hood” truck his dad ever bought.

Born in 1998 in Bismarck, North Dakota, Boe DelaBarre, along with his brother Hunter, grew up trucking with his dad.  At an early age, he began working in the shop and moving trucks around the yard.  In those days, his dad Jason was still out on the road a lot, running hard, to provide for his family.  Boe has always liked trucks with lots of lights, and remembers dusk being his favorite time of day when out on the road, as all the trucks around them, including his dad, turned on their lights.  With an older brother named Matt (34), who did not get into trucking, sometimes all of them went out in the truck together, but as the boys got older and space became an issue, they began to go out with their dad by themselves.  This was a special bonding time for Hunter and Boe with their dad.

As Hunter and Boe came of age and started driving for the company, Jason began to grow the business more.  Getting his CDL at the age of 18, Boe remembers one of his first hauls.  He had been driving for just a couple months, and was pulling a hopper trailer, along with his brother Hunter, when a snowstorm came.  Missing their turn, Boe made the mistake of stopping, on a hill, with lots of ice underneath him.  Because of that, he couldn’t get started.  He vividly remembers he and Hunter, out in the freezing cold in their coveralls, chipping away at that ice, trying to get the truck freed up.  Finally, a local farmer helped them get rolling, and they got to their destination.  But it was one of those moments that forced Boe to decide if this was really what he wanted to do or not – obviously, he chose to stick it out!

The first truck Boe drove was a 2000 Freightliner FLD.  In fact, he took his driving test in this same truck, and today it is still his winter truck.  Hunter also learned how to drive in this maroon-colored truck, as well.  They call this old Freightliner “The Mule” because, with a stout 6NZ CAT under the hood, she pulls anything and everything she is asked to haul with ease.  Boe drove this truck for about three years, pulling mostly a hopper trailer, before the company purchased the 2005 Peterbilt 379 seen on these pages, and our cover and centerfold, this month.  He always wanted to pull a reefer trailer, so he convinced his dad to get one and, later, found some great dedicated hauls for it.

Purchasing the truck in October 2018 from a guy named Brandon Gregoire, the rig had the same paint scheme but was not as customized as it is today.  It also had a 70-inch standup sleeper, which they kept on it for several years.  Boe’s dad was (is) a big believer in pusher axles because it allows them to haul more freight, so a drop axle was installed on the truck early on.  At first, before the reefer trailer was purchased, Boe pulled a nice, matching, brand-new black hopper trailer, but what he really wanted to pull was a shiny reefer.  So, about a year and a half ago, they found this sharp Great Dane and bought it.  And from there, it was game on!

We first met Boe and the entire DelaBarre family at the Wheel Jam Truck Show in Huron, SD in June 2021.  At that time, his truck was hooked to the reefer trailer, which had a matching unit and painted rails.  Along with Boe’s truck was also Hunter’s bright green 2007 Peterbilt 379 hooked to a polished bull rack, and dad’s yellow and black 2006 Peterbilt 379, hooked to a nice, polished hopper trailer.  Together, these three rigs were very impressive, and each one earned a trophy for something, but it was Boe’s truck that really stood out to us for whatever reason (probably the colors).

Fast forward about six months, to the beginning of 2022, and it was decided that Boe’s truck and trailer would get some more work done to it.  After Boe and Hunter removed the pusher axle, the truck was taken to our friends at VDZ Customs in Hull, IA where Tyler Van Der Zwaag and his team filled in all the holes left from the pusher axle in the frame and installed a lift axle to the back of the trailer.  When it left there, the frame was clean and smooth, as all of the frame bolts had been countersunk and then filled in.  The big sleeper was also swapped with a 48-inch standup, which you don’t see very often.  A local body shop, Truck Collision Center, did a perfect job matching the paint colors (metallic black, metallic silver, and Atlas blue) and aligning all the stripes on the now shorter sleeper.

Featuring double square headlights up front with the blinkers shaved, the Peterbilt also has a 20-inch bumper with rolled ends, a front air ride system from House of Air, fiberglass front fenders, chopped air cleaner screens, and 7-inch Lincoln Chrome exhaust.  Out back, the rig has fiberglass double hump fenders from Bad Ass Customs, a painted-to-match fiberglass shocks box cover, a polished stainless deck plate made by a local sheet metal company with a sunken air connection box, and an aluminum tail piece with five lights, complete with California connects out the back.  The truck also has custom painted mirror brackets, a stainless reverse bowtie visor from 4 State Trucks, cab and sleeper extensions, and custom billet step plates from Roadsknz with matching light blue Peterbilt logos.

Under the hood, not much has been done to the juiced-up C15 CAT engine, besides a little added Atlas blue paint on the air intake tubes.  Mated to an 18-speed transmission, the truck has a 273-inch wheelbase, and currently has 1.4 million miles on the odometer.  Hooked 90% of the time to the 51-foot 2007 Great Dane reefer trailer with a 12-foot spread and a matching Thermo King unit seen here, the trailer also has a host of added stainless-steel pieces and chrome landing gear crank handles.

The last thing that was done to the truck was the interior, which features a lot of painted Atlas blue pieces, done by their local shop, Truck Collision Center.  The dash panels are painted to match the exterior stripe pattern, and all the light gray upholstery with light blue buttons was done by Daycab Company out of Rockwood, TN.  There is also a polished billet steering wheel, black carpet on the floor, metallic black shifter and brake valve knobs, a chrome shifter from SH Tube, and several glass watermelon interior lights.  Buying a fiberglass overhead console from 4 State Trucks, Truck Collision Center painted it to match and installed it.  The stereo features a Kenwood deck hooked to two amps that power (2) 12-inch subs under the bed, (6) mid-range speakers, and (2) tweeters.

A couple years ago at a show in Wisconsin, Boe had the pleasure of meeting one of our past cover truckers, Tim Cody, and he had “Keep Pushin’ On” painted on his truck at the time.  For some reason, this really resonated with Boe, so he decided to have that phrase put on the inside of his window chop on the driver’s side as a constant reminder that trucking will not always be easy, but no matter what, you just have to keep pushing on.  Later, while at another truck show, Tim saw the phrase on Boe’s truck and was flattered that he felt strong enough about it to use it on his ride, too.

The DelaBarre fleet has all sorts of cool rigs, in addition to Boe’s and Jason’s, including several Peterbilt 379s and 389s, including a few gliders, several W900 Kenworths, a couple KW T800s, and even an International Lonestar.  Hunter owns his two trucks, which include a bright green 2007 Peterbilt 379 with a standup sleeper, which is currently undergoing a refresh that is scheduled to make its debut at MATS 2023, and Jason’s old black 1997 W9 flat glass, which Hunter also bought from his dad.

Married to his wife Kim for 30 years, she is the lifeblood of DelaBarre Trucking and the center of Jason’s world.  In addition to being the boy’s mom, she also runs the entire office, and keeps Jason organized and positive.  Trucking can be tough, and Jason likes to keep his drivers scheduled out two weeks in advance, which takes a lot of preparation and planning, but Kim helps Jason keep everything straight and get it done.  Jason is all about keeping his drivers happy – he pays them well, lets them choose what type of trailer they want to pull and what kind of freight to haul, gives them vacations and paid holidays, and treats them like family.  Without good drivers, especially these days, a trucking company will not thrive (and may not even survive).

At only 52 years old, Jason still has a lot of years to go before considering retirement, but when he does, he is fully confident that his two boys will be able to take the reins and run with it.  Hunter is more mechanically inclined, and Boe is more of a numbers guy, so the two of them combined, along with their years of driving experience, will make for an excellent leadership team when the time comes for them to take over.  Grandpa is very proud of what his grandsons have achieved already, along with his son, and the successful company he has built.

Getting recently engaged to his fiancé Kyra, she and Boe are planning to get married in October of 2023.  Hunter has been with his wife Macy since high school, and they were married in 2021.  They have two kids – a son named Dax (9) and a daughter named Atlas (7 months).  Playing a lot of basketball while growing up, Boe aspired to be in the NBA at one point in his life, but once reality set in and the chances of that happening faded, he committed himself to trucking.  Hunter tried going to college after high school but only lasted two weeks.  He came home and went directly into a truck!  I’d say both of these brothers inherited the trucking “bug” from their dad, and once you get that disease, there is no turning back.  But it is really cool that there are still three generations of truckers actively driving in the DelaBarre Trucking family.

Sometimes Boe and Hunter get a little flack for being so young and having nice trucks, but these guys work hard and earn it all.  They are not spoiled brats who just spend daddy’s money, they are “old school” truckers all the way, with a young new twist.  Their goal is to prove those who judge them poorly wrong by walking the walk and talking the talk.  Boe also added, “Most of the general public lump truckers into the same bad category, but it is a noble profession, filled with dedicated and respectable people, out there doing a great job and living their best life!”  These young boys would like to help change that negative stereotype.

Hauling dedicated freight throughout the upper Midwest states, Boe and the rest of the DelaBarre drivers keep very busy.  Jason doesn’t get to drive as often as he used to, but when he does, he loves getting that flattop 379 of his out on the open road.  And when things don’t go as planned, which can happen a lot in trucking, it’s important to keep pushin’ on.  If you are in this thing for life, the bumps in the road won’t matter, and this family is definitely all in!

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