Spending 'A Day in the Life' With a Local Trucker

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

While on the road you see them all the time....big rig trucks carrying our goods across the country.

We continue our special series of reports, sharing 'A Day in the Life' with those who have some pretty interesting jobs.

Our Liz Hayes found out what the life of a trucker is like.

Bob Stickney has been driving truck for more than two decades.

And though he keeps a picture of his wife over his left shoulder, his truck is his baby.

"Actually the girls in the office call it my girl. I'm pretty protective and I'm pretty fussy about anyone else that drives it," he said.

"It makes my living. It feeds my family. So it's got to run and it's gotta be taken care of."

He's a fuel distributor for Draeger Oil Company in Antigo, and he let me tag along for one 12 hour day.

Things were going well after just two hours on the road, but that's thanks to good conversation and Willow.

Willow is part of the reason Stickney loves his job. She's a bernice mountain dog puppy, who's always along for the ride.

"Pretty much sleeps all day but it's pretty neat to have someone to glance at once in awhile and someone to....it might sound kind of funny, but someone to talk to."

Stickney has three routes throughout the badger state, and gets to stop several times a day, dropping fuel at small mom and pop stations, farms and businesses.

But it's still a lot of time behind the wheel.

"I make sure I get a good night's sleep. For me, that's the main thing. I used to drink a lot of coffee but my doctor told me to throw my big cup away, but I do drink two to three cups of coffee in the morning," he said.

But drugs are out of the question.

"I know there are guys out there that use other means of staying awake. Such as speed or different drugs or whatever."

But not this family guy who has a wife, four kids and a foster child.

He's just trying to make a living and is in it for the long haul. He credits Draeger Oil Co, a third generation hometown business, for taking good care of him.

"I have a lot of respect for them because of the way they treat their employees, people that work for them. So I think this is where I'll retire."

As for me, I think I'll stick with journalism.

After five hours on the road, my back began to ache. Stickney says a lot of truckers end up with back injuries and have to retire early. I can see why.

"It's hard on your back. I have a friend who's 52 years old, drove truck his whole life and he can't drive anymore, it's too hard on his back."

While putting on over 300,000 miles, Stickney has run into some interesting encounters. From accidents to animals, to fist fights on the side of the road, nothing shocks this trucker.

"I like driving. I don't like staying in one spot too long. I don't know if I could handle working in a factory at a place where I wasn't able to be outside."

"If you were to stop every truck from moving for one day, there's a lot of things that wouldn't function."

After all, truckin' is what moves America.


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