Trick My Truck series selects area driver
Rodney Ozbun, of Eagle Rock, was featured in an episode of Country Music Television's new reality-based television show, Trick My Truck, on Feb. 10.
Trick My Truck selects truck drivers from across the country and "steals" their big rig trucks to transform them into designer show trucks for the open road.
"Before this I was just another guy in a truck," said Ozbun. "With a nice looking truck like that, people that wouldn't normally notice a truck are waving and talking to you."
Last summer, a friend of the Ozbun family brought a flyer and entry form for Trick My Truck back from a Las Vegas truck show.
"I e-mailed them a big letter," said Ozbun's wife, Shelby. "I told them that he always wanted a show truck, and the way things were going for us financially it wasn't going to happen."
Recent medical emergencies forced Shelby to quit her job, leaving Ozbun as the sole income for the family of five. The Ozbuns have three children, Linzie, Lane and Lexi.
"You can't make a show truck one piece at a time," said Ozbun. "By the time you put the second piece on, the first one is wore out."
In September, the Chrome Shop Mafia crew, which headline the new television show, met Ozbun in a truck stop parking lot in Joplin.
"Shelby told them where my routes were and told them when I would be up in Joplin," said Ozbun. "I go in and out of that truck stop all the time so it kind of surprised me when they showed up."
The Chrome Shop Mafia crew told Ozbun he had been selected for a Trick My Truck makeover. They confiscated the keys to Ozbun's 1994 Kenworth, which has around 1,600,000 miles on the motor.
In exchange, Ozbun received a loaner truck with the words "My truck is being tricked by CMT" on the side of the cab.
"When I first met the crew, they looked like a bunch of thugs," said Ozbun, "but they were real nice people. They have good hearts."
Ozbun had previously met Brian Martin, who owns Four State Trucking in Joplin, and is known on Trick My Truck as the Chrome Shop Bossman.
"I had bought some things from Brian, and I knew him a little," said Ozbun. "That put me at ease even though I didn't know the rest."
After "stealing" Ozbun's Kenworth, the Chrome Shop Mafia held it hostage for around two months to complete the design overhaul.
"We did everything but the engine, transmission and suspension," said Martin, "full paint, full tires and wheels, all chrome bumpers, a custom interior and a Memphis Car Audio sound system."
When Ozbun returned to pick up his truck he was nervous, but the crew did not disappoint him with their upgrades.
The Chrome Shop Mafia gave Ozbun's truck an old p and western theme with an evening outdoor ranch landscape painted on the exterior of the truck. The words "Open Range" are painted on the back of the tractor cab and a customized rear window was designed in the shape of a bull skull.
The interior of the truck cab has hardwood floors, a tin interior roof and saloon doors, which divide the cab from the sleeper area. The crew also constructed a special branding iron to burn Ozbun's initials into various sections of the interior wood.
"It's all made special for me. They put my name in the back and RO lights on the inside," said Ozbun. "There is a lot of specialty stuff that was made just for me and that truck."
Ozbun pointed out the customized vinyl covers that the crew constructed with Ozbun's initials. The covers fit over the truck's original Kenworth symbols on the sides and front of the truck.
Although Ozbun was nervous before picking up his recently redesigned truck, he was pleasantly amazed by the outcome.
"Every where I go now people say that they saw the truck on television," said Ozbun. "I can't even stop and fuel up without a mob around the truck. I turned into somebody instead of another steering wheel holder."
Ozbun was able to put his truck back on the road as soon as he picked it up in Joplin after the makeover.
"I went and loaded it the day I got it back," said Ozbun. "That's the most amazing thing about all this. There have been no strings attached."
Ozbun said he was pleased with the way the producers edited the episode of Trick My Truck, which featured his 1994 Kenworth. He was especially amazed by the process the crew used to construct his new customized truck.
"They did a very good job," said Ozbun. "I called and congratulated the producers after it aired, because I thought they did such a good job."
Ozbun has been driving a truck for over 10 years. He works with his father, Roger, who owns Ozbun and Sons Trucking of Purdy.
The Trick My Truck episode featuring Ozbun's truck will be aired at 8 p.m. on Feb. 15, 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 and 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 18.