Post Date - Sep 29, 2023
We’ve always known that professional truck drivers at Boyd Bros. are a special group of talented people, but we also have a unique group of individuals who are much more than meets the eye. By day, they're maneuvering eighteen-wheelers through winding highways and busy city streets, ensuring our goods get to where they need to be. But when they’re off the road, these drivers are anything but ordinary. From raising purebred dogs to preparing family feasts on the grill, or even maintaining a collection of classic cars, these truck drivers have fascinating passions that extend far beyond the road. Join us as we explore the hobbies that add an extra dash of character to these masters of the motorway.
James Hyler, who has been with Boyd for five years, is slowly but surely breeding a champion American Bully dog. This breed, which originated in the U.S. through years of selective breeding, is part of the bully dog breed which shares genetic traits of the American Staffordshire terrier and the American Pitbull terrier but also the English bulldog, American bulldog, and bull mastiff. James has been working toward his goal of raising a show-quality American Bully for the past few years.
“My uncle bred English bulldogs, so I was quite familiar with the bully breed,” says James. “I'm slowly working my way into being able to take [my own dogs] to shows. It’s been about three years of getting into it and breeding my own stock -- my own brand basically.”
James says his hobby takes patience and consistency. “It doesn't happen overnight! You have to look at the DNA structures of the dogs, their genetics -- you don't want to start with any random dog. It's been quite a journey but I'm almost there.”
Known for their athletic build and muscular frame, the American Bully is protective but are also known for being affectionate and loyal. “I have always liked the temperament of the dogs, the way they look and just how they are,” he said. “They're really good, loyal dogs and they make good security dogs. Especially if you're on the road and you treat them right. They take care of you.”
James has a personal dog named Bane, a standard (60-80 lbs.), champagne white male that goes along with him in the truck and is well-known at the Birmingham terminal. “All you have to do is ask about Bane the bully down there at the Birmingham terminal – everyone knows him. Especially James in the shop. When coming down the safety lane he comes down and sees Bane whenever I am there. Every time I come down; they know about him. When I go to Cartersville, Georgia, there's a guy down there who keeps vanilla Oreos for him. So, pretty much anywhere I load out of they are quite familiar with Bane.”
For James, Bane is a great road companion. “You have to stay consistent with any dog, but it makes me feel good to have him in the truck with me.”
Like many of you, Charlie Walker loves hunting and fishing in the great outdoors. But Charlie takes his catches and harvested game to the next level by grilling delicious meals for his whole family including children and grandchildren.
“I love cooking out and grilling for the whole house,” Charlie says, recalling family meals as a youngster. “My family passed that [love of cooking] down on my mom's side and from my grandma. When we were younger little boys, we watched and ate but when we got older, we participated more and more in it, taking charge. Now we pass that on to our kids.”
Charlie, who has been with Boyd Bros. for 37 years, is very diplomatic when asked who the best cook is in the family. “Oh, that's a tough question because I got a lot of [great] cooks in my family! Some can cook certain things better than others though.”
According to Charlie, harvesting is a long process from the hunt to the table but it’s well worth it. “From the slaughter all the way to the finished product, you're looking at least 24, probably 30 hours,” he says. “The young boys will grow up to be men and the young girls grow up to be ladies. [They will] know how to survive and take care of each other. Preparing the food, working together allowed us to be a very, very close-knit family. It’s awesome.”
As a previous Overdrive Trucker of the Year, Boyd Owner Operator Dan Heister has built a successful truck driving career which has afforded him the opportunity to collect and restore vintage cars.
Raised on a grain farm in Iowa, Dan now lives in Jasper, Alabama, on 10 acres where he built a 30'-by-40' shop to house his hobby. In an interview with Overdrive, Dan shared his love of old Fords saying he keeps a ’69 Thunderbird and two Gran Torinos, a ’73 and a ’74. While the T-Bird is all original, Dan put in a lot of work restoring Torinos, one of which he raced for several years.
“If it has wheels, I can drive it,” Dan says. “I was driving tractors and pickups before I knew how to ride a bicycle,” he says.
Heister and his wife, Tawni, have collected more than two-dozen vintage autos.
Join us at Boyd Bros.
These drivers have taken their hobbies and careers to a higher level. If you're seeking more than just a job, we encourage you to connect with us at Boyd Bros. as we celebrate the individuality and passions of our drivers!