It Is What It Is


A phrase we have all probably used at least once in our lives can have various meanings, but one meaning “It is what it is” holds, is that we can’t change what happened, all we can do is move on.  Accredited to his late grandfather Cliff, this saying has been carried with Dylan Badders (28) of Parowan, UT throughout his life, including a rolling reminder inscribed on the back of his cool 1994 Freightliner cabover.

Raised in Lund, NV, Dylan was born in Fresno, CA during his mom’s visit with family when he decided he would arrive three months early.  His parents, Rhonda and Boyd Badders, both had close ties to the trucking industry before getting together, which includes Boyd’s father and Rhonda’s father and grandfather.  Dylan and his brothers are fourth generation in the trucking industry with their great-grandfather (mother’s grandfather) being the first generation to get into trucking.  Dylan started riding with his dad and grandpas when he was four or five years old.

Driving came early for Dylan, both from the exposure he had with his family and being taught by his father, as well as hauling hay for a farm he worked for starting at the age of 14.  After high school, he went to diesel mechanic school in Arizona, graduated in 2015, and was a diesel mechanic for about a year and a half.  He obtained his commercial driver’s license at the age of 21 in 2016 and, in April of 2018, he bought his first truck – a charcoal gray and yellow cabover which he found in a Facebook group, and then started D.T.B. Trucking LLC.

Fast forward to July of 2020 and, after Dylan utilized a dating site, he met his future wife, Brittney.  A future together was figured out right away, and the two were married on December 17, 2020.  Ironically, they would’ve met eventually, even if not on the dating site, because Dylan’s father was business partners with Brittney’s father.

Dylan would go on to run this truck for about three years, hauling hay from Utah to California, and then in April of 2021 he rebuilt the motor, painted the frame purple, and replaced the rear suspension.  Dylan rebuilt the motor himself from the ground up, adding a 15.2 PAI HP kit with ceramic-coated pistons and bearings, 20% over injectors, and increased the advanced timing from a stock 18 degrees to 22.4 degrees.  Running this truck continued until an accident in July 2021 when he was side swiped while hauling hay on triples through Idaho.  This began a frame-up restoration, which was completed in a short amount of time, to the truck you see here today.

The cab was repaired using a spare cab that Dylan had by his grandpa’s shop in California.  He took the truck to his Uncle Bo’s shop in California and a friend of Dylan’s came out to help paint it.  Dylan was taught by this same friend how to paint, which allowed them to work together and complete the paint process in 10 days (August 1-10).  Dylan repainted the frame again since the truck was getting painted, laid out the lines for the stripe, and painted the purple on the cab and sleeper, while his friend painted
the dark charcoal gray, and then the truck was clear-coated and wet sanded.

Dylan had a pinstriper come out to execute the idea of laying down old school flake in the company name.  Light blue and gray were pinstriped to separate it all out, then the entire truck was clear coated again so nothing would fade off with the elements.  Dylan has always been a fan of purple, starting with one of his dad’s cabovers, which is the same shade as what Dylan has on his truck.

As previously mentioned, the truck is a 1994 Freightliner FLA that pushes a little over 500 horsepower to the ground from a CAT 3406B engine, 15-speed over transmission, 3.42 rear gears, and a 240-inch wheelbase.  The truck sports 6-inch stacks with Peterbilt long-drop elbows, a box made by Close Fabrication out of Parowan, UT that houses the stacks, batteries, tools and cleaning supplies, and a custom air-ride front suspension (Dylan builds these kits).  It was also fitted with Trux headlights, Maxxima blinkers on each side, and 11 cab lights, all of which are glass, along with Hogebuilt half fenders, and a visor made by LeRoy McRoberts of I-29 Customs out of Sergeant Bluffs, IA.  The leaf spring suspension was replaced with a 2012 Airliner suspension, and then the interior was done over the summer by Classic Upholstery in Visalia, CA.

With the background and knowledge of a diesel mechanic, these skills have been an invaluable benefit to Dylan, since he is not only a truck driver but a truck owner, as well.  Dylan doesn’t have shop labor bills because he can repair anything on the truck himself.  At all times he carries all the necessary tools he might need in the truck, along with extra parts including a spare turbo, water pump, belt, power steering pump, alternator, and 12 sets of injectors (two sets of 1-6).  He is set up so he can fix it all on the side of the road!  Dylan said, “You have to know how to help yourself to save money.”

The most influential people in Dylan’s life that he looks up to within the trucking industry are definitely his father and grandfathers.  His dad (Boyd) is not only his number one supporter, but also someone Dylan has always looked up to.  Boyd’s father Gene taught Dylan to weld when he was eight years old, along with other useful things in life.  His mom’s dad Cliff not only taught Dylan about trucking, but also inspired him to keep striving to be the best he could be.

The truck is called “Purple Rain” and although most would think it was taken in reference to the song by Prince, it was not.  Dylan’s grandpa Cliff used to listen to classic country music including “Purple Rain” by Dwight Yoakam.  After Cliff had passed, Dylan, who had been given all his trucking CDs, heard the song and it just seemed to fit perfectly.  The truck’s number 36 is in honor of his grandpa Gene, as this is the year he was born (1936).  Referring to the back of the truck, the “It Is What It Is” is the motto Cliff lived by and passed that onto Dylan.  It meant that there was no point in stressing over something that couldn’t be changed, so you just need to put your foot forward and move on.

Dylan’s favorite trucking memory from his childhood wasn’t one particular event but a compilation of all the times he rode along in a Peterbilt 362 that his father owned.  Boyd would wake him up in the middle of the night to haul from Nevada to California.  Dylan had the opportunity to sit on his father’s lap many times and start his early education on driving a truck.

Since he started driving, Dylan said two memories come to mind, including he and his father in their trucks, running together from Howe, ID to Twin Falls, ID.  Hay has always been their freight commodity of choice, and it still is that way, today.  Another memory that Dylan relishes was from just last year, when he and his friend Vince MacGuire hauled three loads each of 60-foot steel trusses from Fallon, NV to Naples, FL.  They had a lot of fun trucking together.

In August of this year, at the Great Salt Lake Truck Show in Lehi, UT, Dylan brought out his truck, and was shocked on Saturday when his name was called as the winner of the Competitor’s Choice award.  He said, “I was at a loss for words, because you don’t think your truck is anything special with all the other amazing trucks on display at the show.  It boosted my confidence in my truck building skills, because with my OCD about truck work, I am harder on myself and want things to be perfect.”  As the recipient of the award, there was also an envelope containing $3,000 that Dylan didn’t even bother to open and handed it immediately back to donate.  He told me  that of course he could use the money, but it was more important to help others.

The first truck show Dylan attended without a truck was the Tharps Truck Show in Porterville, CA back in the early 2000s.  But it was a long time until he actually brought a truck to a show, and that was in June of 2022, with this cabover, at the Grinchfest Car Show in South Jordan, UT.  For him, the part he likes the most about truck shows is the classic work trucks still out on the road earning their keep.  It is these owners, like Dylan and others, who are keeping the old school trucking lifestyle alive.

Sound advice on someone looking to restore a truck that Dylan offered was to not be scared to tear into the truck.  If the individual doesn’t know how to do something, you can always find someone who knows how to do it or can show you how to do it.  You just need to put your head down and work hard to accomplish whatever it is you’d like to do.

As I mentioned, hay is at the center of it all for Dylan and his family.  Boyd tests the hay for different types of crude proteins and relative feed value.  These tests are then sent off to labs to get the necessary results which helps the family determine the price of the hay.  They have customers they’ve had for 15-20 years, and the hay is already purchased by their customers before Dylan’s family even buys it.  Boyd and his partner work as a team, with Boyd setting up the hay transport while his partners put together the contracts.  They set up a hay press in Fillmore, UT that takes a standard 3×4 or 4×4 bale and presses it into an 800-900-pound 3×3 bale that fits in a shipping container.  These pressed bales are transported by rail out of Salt Lake City or the ports in California to be exported overseas.

Special thanks from Dylan to his wife Brittney for supporting all his crazy ideas 100%.  She is very loving, his very best friend, supportive, an all-around great person, and always understanding.  Brittney is what grounds Dylan, and he says he is very lucky to have her.  If you know Dylan and his goofy, fun-loving side, you know Brittney must be the perfect match to run with it all.  Thanks to his brothers for always listening to him, helping him, and encouraging him to do better.  Thanks to his parents for always supporting him, no matter what, and telling him there is nothing he can’t do, he just has to work hard to get it, and to his grandfathers (Gene and Cliff) and his Uncle Bo (Randy) for their unending support and wanting him to succeed.

Today, Dylan and Brittney reside in Parowan, UT with their daughter Paityn that arrived on September 28th of this year.  His dad, himself, and his brothers, Austin (27) and Devin (35), are all in trucking.  Dylan recently started Cabbie Daddy Customs to do truck restoration projects influenced by the restoration of his truck.  The first project he is working on is a Peterbilt 352 and a trailer for a dairy farmer out of California.

In the fall of 2021, the 75 Chrome Shop posted a photo of a Freightliner cabover they had spotted on their lot.  Those who know me, know that I am a Freightliner cabover fan.  The unique look of the paint on this truck caught my attention and so began my search to find out whose truck it was.  As luck would have it, I found out Dylan was the owner and contacted him on October 21, 2021, through Facebook.  It was during one of his trips previously mentioned from Fallon to Naples when he had stopped at the chrome shop in Wildwood, FL.  After several conversations, we scheduled to photograph the truck in August 2022 when I was already planning to visit Utah for the Great Salt Lake Truck Show.

I have driven all over the country to photograph specific trucks for articles, so when Dylan mentioned Bryce Canyon and sent photos of his truck in various locations, I knew that was the spot.  It was about a 4-hour drive one way from Salt Lake City, and I only had the day to get the photos I needed.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day, but that day quickly turned into a “we need to wrap this up quickly” moment as dark clouds were rolling in fast.  Some may think driving that much and photographing in one day is crazy, but driving on I-15 northbound back into Salt Lake City during rush hour was even crazier!  No sooner did I leave the canyon, heavy rain came down, and it didn’t stop until well after I arrived back in Salt Lake City.

Thank you very much to Dylan for the opportunity to not only photograph his truck, but also experience more of the sheer beauty that the state of Utah has to offer in the process.  And getting to meet Brittney and Dylan’s parents was an extra bonus (we enjoyed some good time together).  We didn’t get to hang out near as long as I would have liked, but “it is what it is” because there never seems to be enough time.  Utah has quickly become one of my favorite states, and I can’t wait to go back and visit again.  As always, to all the drivers out there doing the deal, truck safe.

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