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Cody White, the owner of Black Lab Transport LLC in Weeping Water, Nebraska, knows a thing or two about trucking. With a Cat® powered rig by his side, Cody tells Caterpillar how “Trucking Is Life.”
Cody White first came to our attention thanks to his truck dealer, Peterbilt of Lincoln, Nebraska. As Cody puts it: “I walked in and the cashier goes, ‘When did you pose for this poster?’ I go, ‘What are you talking about, Lindsay?’ She goes, ‘Look at that.’” This was when Cody first noticed the Cat® “Trucking Is Life” poster hanging in the Peterbilt dealership and the — some might say — uncanny resemblance between Cody and the person featured on the poster. “At the time, I had the long hair just like that. So, I looked at that and I thought, ‘Well, that is really neat. That’s my doppelganger for sure.’”
A self-described “husker, through and through,” Cody runs his own business — Black Lab Transport LLC of Weeping Water, NE — specializing in crude, long-haul, refrigerated and freight services. Through the company, he continues a legacy of trucking and transportation that runs in the family. Whether working on his trucks or hauling goods across interstates, he stays connected to his roots, which brings us back to the Peterbilt dealer in Lincoln, where he used to sell parts.
After Peterbilt told us about Cody, the Cat on-highway truck team reached out to him to learn more about his background, his connections to Caterpillar and why, to him, trucking is life.
I’ve been around Cats my whole life. That’s just been the engine to use.
I’ve hauled cattle, had cattle the majority of my life. We grew up farming and trucking, in a small, family-run trucking company. I’ve had my CDL since I was 18 years old. We started off with one truck, I want to say in ’97, and then took that to five trucks and then it went to ten trucks and then we were running 30 out of the farm. That was dad’s full-time job. And I took over the farm full time. Corn and soybeans, a few head of cattle here and there.
That’s all we did was eat, sleep and talk trucking. It got to the point where holidays were a little monotonous because all we’d do was sit around and talk business. That was the only time we got together where all of us didn’t have employees around and we could actually talk.
We sold out of the farm in 2008 and went all trucks, but $5 fuel makes it real tough to truck. We ran all new 379 Petes with Caterpillars. We had one of the first hundred ACERTTM engines. White Farms Trucking and Triple C Transport were the names of the companies.
I went out on my own, spent time in the oil fields of North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio and ran the oil fields for a while. Managed a trucking company up there and then… moved to Lincoln and went to Peterbilt. But I was just missing trucking and being my own boss. So, my sister and I partnered up in 2018.
Well, we grew up in trucking, we know how to run a trucking company. We thought, “Why don’t we buy a couple flatbeds and just do it on our own.” I’m operating two trucks myself. Two flatbeds. For one of them, I’m running a 2004 Peterbilt 379 with an MBN Cat in it. That was the first truck we bought as a company together.
I know how to work on Caterpillars. I know these engines inside and out. I’ve probably put 300,000 miles on it and it’s never been touched. I run the rack, once every couple of months, and I change fuel filters every other week. I do all of my own maintenance.
NMC is my Cat dealer right now. NMC’s been great my whole career. They give information and parts, and the Cat information is very helpful but if this engine needs to be rebuilt, I’m doing it.
A Cat engine with an 18 speed is just… It’s the setup. They pull the best. They cruise the best. They’re just good engines. They’re simple. I mean, diesel engines are simple by theory.
Probably building my 1984 Peterbilt 359 with a 3406B in it that I used to haul corn. Growing up, hauling seed corn for Pioneer Hi-Bred, that was probably some of the most fun times ever trucking. Get up early, work late, you worked with a small group of guys. You’ve not seen pretty until you’ve come into Yellowstone on a truck. Roll down some of those hills with the Jake Brake rolling.
Cause it’s what I know. When you’ve been doing it since you were in diapers, you don’t reinvent the wheel. You know? And I love it. I enjoy the freedom of trucking. The people. Most of the time, 99.9% of the time, you have good interactions out there on the road. When you’re working in the oil field. Being out in the middle of nowhere. You’re 30 to 40 miles away from anybody, and it could be the middle of the night and it’s just clear. You can see every star in the Milky Way galaxy. It’s just serene being out there.
It is how everything gets around. Without trucks, we don’t have America. The interstate system was built and trucks came along to utilize that interstate system, and that’s how American commerce and America has grown. Because of our ability to move goods coast to coast now. And then, you look back in the old days, you watch the old documentaries of the old timers driving the trucks without AC or power steering and two or three sticks in there to shift, and it’s just kind of neat. Quite a bit of history.
Alright, that’s kind of a leading question. You’re expecting me to say, “Trucking Is Life.”
“Interesting.” Gotta like a good challenge. I think that’s why I love working on my own trucks. If there wasn’t a challenge, what the heck would it be worth doing anything.