97: Helpful Tips and Information on Operating End Dump Trailers

During this week’s episode of the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett is joined by Cris Ponds and Welden Sylve to unpack operating end dump trailers. From how to prevent mistakes to required tools, this episode provides good insight for drivers who have never pulled a dump trailer before. 

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • About the guests: Cris Ponds & Welden Sylve (1:57)
  • Must-knows for new drivers (6:32)
  • Tools new drivers need (9:32)
  • How to load (13:24)
  • Same routine (19:31)
  • Carrying an extra pin (24:06)
  • How to stay focussed after years on the job (28:12)
  • Why Cris & Welden have stayed at Oakley (37:00)
  • On the job help (41:18)
  • How to patch a tarp (48:05)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruceoakley.com


Cris Ponds  00:12

I want these guys when they come in— I mean, you got to know the good and the bad and the ugly. A lot of these guys don’t understand what the dangers are. I want to know what they are. I want to know what I’m up against. Trailer’s falling over? It’s a little late to tell me that there was a problem, and that’s why I’m kind of a stickler on some of the stuff that I’ve said and been bent on because I think some of these guys really don’t know when they get here. They really don’t know and I think they should know.

Jeremy Kellett  00:42

Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business, and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley Trucking, headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner-operators and their families by giving them up-to-date information concerning Oakley Trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an inside to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family. Hi, this is Jeremy Kellett, Director of Recruiting here at Oakley Trucking and I’m your host for this podcast. This is episode 97. On today’s podcast I have two Oakley owner operator sitting in here with me and we’re going to get down to talking about how to operate in end dump trailers. A lot of you guys have been asking about this and getting some particulars on what to do with an end dump trailer. The majority of people we lease on have never pulled a dump trailer before so this episode is going to give you some good insight, some helpful hints, some things to watch for when you start to pull that dump trailer and how to load, how to unload, and just some real good tips to make sure you’re doing it safe. So we’re going to dive into that real quick. Matter of fact, I just soon get off in it and let’s get started with this episode of talking about it. With me, I have Cris Ponds and I have Welden Sylve, owner operators at Oakley Trucking. How’re you guys doing?

Cris Ponds  02:03

Doing good.

Welden Sylve  02:04

Doing good.

Jeremy Kellett  02:05

If you would introduce yourself. Let’s start with you, Cris. Kind of give our listeners an idea of who you are.

Cris Ponds  02:11

My name is Cris Ponds. I’m from Adamsville, Tennessee. Obviously a big time balls fan. I got my business hat on.

Jeremy Kellett  02:18

We made him take the Tennessee hat off.

Cris Ponds  02:20

Got the business hat on.

Jeremy Kellett  02:21

He kept the shirt on. You have a family?

Cris Ponds  02:26

I am happily divorced. I’ve got two kids that I claim. Matt is 35. When I came along he was 11, and of cours, Madison Austin. She’s now Frank’s and she’s 24. Just got married. Matt’s got three and Madison has one. He’s gonna turn one this month. They call me Granddady or Grandpa Cris.

Jeremy Kellett  02:54

What do you do in your spare time?

Cris Ponds  02:57

I still mess with cars, motorcycles. Still like to hunt and fish when I can.

Jeremy Kellett  03:02

Manly stuff. That’s what we do.

Cris Ponds  03:04

Yeah, hunting and fishing here in the last four years has been kind of out. Had some friends of mine. It just didn’t work out. Over here and stuff guard duck hunting and stuff, he’s kind of incarcerated. Not good. Yeah, so me and the boss (that’s what I call Madison), me in the boss. Me and her are the duck hunters. Of course, Matt’s into deer hunting, but he’s down here in Mississippi.

Jeremy Kellett  03:30

How long have you been with Oakley?

Cris Ponds  03:31

April will be four years.

Jeremy Kellett  03:34

Well, good. I’m sure you got some good insight. We’ll get started and I want to hear from you. How about you Mr. Welden?

Welden Sylve  03:40

My name is Welden Sylve. I’ve been with Oakley a little over a year now. I’m happily married with two kids. My daughter Leila is 19 and I got a son, Mason, who 16. Pastime, I hunt and fish. Big deer hunter, big bow hunter. Love it. And I love bass fishing. Haven’t been doing a lot of that lately, but I’m addicted to that bass fishing. Oh man, I miss it. I don’t get to do as much as I used to but when I do do it at our neighborhood lakes, it’s hard for my wife to get me home.

Jeremy Kellett  04:21

Yeah, I understand. Well, good. I appreciate both you guys taking time out to do this because what we want to do is give some good helpful information to guys out there that are interested in pulling end dumps so or our owner operators that are already out there doing it because I’m sure you see it every day with people out there doing it different ways, and trying to do it the safest way and it can definitely be a little frustrating. One thing I know we’ve talked about in the past Cris is training, we’re not real good at training. We try to pair you up with another owner operator to go for your First few loads and and have the Home show you course we show you on the yard, how to operate a dump trailer. This is clean level ground out here. It’s not really in the middle, it helps a lot. And I think Randolph does a great job of showing that initially. But when you’re out there in the elements every day, wind and unlevel ground and rain and mud and that kind of stuff, trying to operate a dump trailer, you got to be on your game, you got to know what’s going on. And the majority of the people that come over here, have never pulled it down before. So that’s that’s the challenge that Oakley has, and any way we can help do that with whether it’s things that they need to bring with them, or have with them to help them be a safer owner operator that’s unloading that dump trailer. That’s what we want to do. So you guys have pulled dump trailer before you came to Oakley?

Welden Sylve  05:51


Jeremy Kellett  05:51

A 40 footer? So you had some experience?

Welden Sylve  05:55


Jeremy Kellett  05:55

How much did that help?

Welden Sylve  05:57

Man, the more the better. It definitely helps. The dump that I did. Like I said, it’s been well over 20 years ago. It’s like riding a bike, you never forget it. The more experience you can gain, all it can do is help you.

Jeremy Kellett  06:15

So somebody starting out and let’s say, Cris, we lease a gallon here, and he he’s coming out of the gate and we put him with you. Okay, we’re gonna say, all right, Cris, take this guy out. Are you waiting for a few loads, tell us what to some of the best things that he needs to know.

Cris Ponds  06:32

Right off the bat, he needs to know some phone numbers, not just mine, he needs to make phone numbers of people in dubs period right off the bat. Some other owner operators are already here that already here. And doing that. Because starting off, the biggest thing is there ain’t been about five or six really major dumps that we did in most all of our materials are gonna call and fall into those five or six dumps will be big stuff, little stuff, sand rocks, ferromanganese or V any kind of cattle or whatever we call it in the training or in through dispatching. Generally speaking, we’re only getting maybe get maybe three of those dumps in and some of them are gonna be twice. So we’re not necessarily covering every dump when we train. So we have to talk about that. And we have to get out there and say, Okay, this is what you need to do. And then as we’re driving he needs to make we made other drivers who take your telephone numbers down. I still got I got about a dozen. Nice got more than that. But right off the bat, I got a dozen phone numbers quick. Scott from horn, Wald, Jackie hanging from horn wall. Rondo, who was my trainer. And then core Scott was with me Scott later he was the guy who come up with this idea that we had wrote down.

Jeremy Kellett  07:52

What did Ron L do when he started training you?

Cris Ponds  07:54

Well, he quizzing me. I think he was quizzing me to see how much I knew before he was able to really Turn Me Loose. And we only made like a cut only went one. I made one dump with him. Because it was end of the week. He was out of hours. Okay, so he quizzed me. So I think he figured out pretty quick. I had done this a little before. So he felt pretty confident turning me loose. And he’s going over just kind of like some of these ideas that I had here. The different dumps. You don’t cook like this, you don’t move you say in dumps like this. You don’t just take a load of coke and stand it all the way up because it will pile up under the trailer. He’s the one that told me that yeah, and after my second load of coke, I understood that the smaller coke doesn’t do as bad. But they’re larger chunks just fall off the trailer. And what you do is you jack it up, it starts lifting trailer gets out of the trailer, you don’t crush, it’ll start moving the trailer one way. So you’ve really got to lay it down. So I’m gonna move forward and do again. You can’t just take it all the way up and then let the damn car let’s go and do it’s just gonna pile up pile up on the floor. And that’s it. It’s gonna be like saying it’s not gonna be like gravel it’s not gonna scatter.

Jeremy Kellett  09:00

That’s a good point, because a different product. What’s different? How you going to dump? Everything’s a little bit different, like Cris was saying, so it’d be nice if you could train everybody right to do the same all the time. Get a load of granules, go get a load of petroleum coke, go get load a scrap metal, all those different things that we do to get an idea that so that’s what do these guys need to bring? What do they need some of the tools that they need?

Welden Sylve  09:33

Off the bat, Oakley asks for you to have a flat shovel and a broom push broom and steel toed boots. Even now, being that COVID is in, I would suggest having a having some mask because sometimes we get into situations where we’re dumping something there’s real powdery like sometimes you can pick up my pick up corn and has the Hus flying in it, man. It’ll get in your nose, man. It’ll choke you to death just about or just about anything in that matter that could float in the air.

Jeremy Kellett  10:07

A good broom, a shovel, pry bar. We tell them to bring a pry bar.

Cris Ponds  10:12

And a hammer.

Welden Sylve  10:13

Yeah, a hammer. What is it ? Like a four-pound hammer or something like that?

Jeremy Kellett  10:19

I was talking to one of those owner operators and he was talking about those pins, which makes me think, do y’all dump barndoor all the time?

Cris Ponds  10:29


Jeremy Kellett  10:29

Regular dump, which seems to be— especially for a new guy, because we preach in here for him to barndoor a lot and that seems to the reason for that is getting the tailgate in the pile and bending hinges.

Cris Ponds  10:44

Right, getting the trailer door out of the way is always a rule of thumb on that. It depends on where you’re dumping, right dump and feed, you ain’t got no choice, you’re gonna let it swing? In what you got to know how do you got to get dumping, you got to watch the pile, you got to get in and out. You want that trailer to start swinging backwards, before you take it on it. If it ever back up, it never back up. And if it’s driving into the pile, you got to stop because it ain’t gonna back up at that point. In at that point, that’s when you’re going to bend it when it does hit or it will pack up and be in your trailer. So you’ve got to move. Yeah, you’ve got to move some to get that door. If it if the pile, don’t move it back, then you got to move forward, just get that door going back. And then as the pile comes out, it will pick the door up.

Jeremy Kellett  11:29

So you just put the trailer in hold position, get out, and go look.

Cris Ponds  11:32


Jeremy Kellett  11:33

And then when it’s starting to get close…

Cris Ponds  11:35

But you’re not all the way to the top. Not all were the top.

Welden Sylve  11:39

I guess what I’ve learned is, like you said, different situations because we have so much different material that when not born during swing door, our is like start off locking your tractor break and let the trailer walk to you. And that in turn, as you were saying, is pulling away when it’s pulling a trailer away from the product is going to is lifting that door up on top of the product and is dragging it down and, like I said, never back up. Because if you do is going to jam that door into the product, and it’s gonna be in the hands. It could be a good potentially throw the trailer one way or another also, so it’s paying attention.

Cris Ponds  12:28

Can I weigh in on that? I don’t like the idea of certain truck breaks. Okay, because this starts to fall, you can’t drop the lever and had to try to come down fast enough, because what’s it going to do? It has no choice but to run backwards. The truck brakes will not release fast enough for it to walk forward. So it’s only choices to fall over or run backwards, run up the pile and follow.

Jeremy Kellett  12:49

And I know a lot of guys probably do that, but yeah, we tell them in here, leave the trailer brakes locked, right? The tractor move. And if it’s starting to get in, then you let it down, move forward, raise it up again. I know a lot of guys, I’m sure don’t want to take the time to do that. But that is the safest way to do. And that’s what we preach to do it too. Because I would be scared that trailer is just going to, if it’s moving at all, but I also I kind of got ahead of the game. You’re talking about dumping. But let’s talk about in the beginning, about loading, because it is pretty important.

Cris Ponds  13:31

It’s very important. Yeah, no, you wait, you gotta know where to put it, how much rooms it gonna take. And all those factors.

Jeremy Kellett  13:38

I don’t know all that stuff. I just started, Cris.

Cris Ponds  13:40

Well, that’s why you’re with me. I’m going to tell you how to load and I’m gonna tell you how to load everything. If you really roofing granules or rocks, even with all the middle gravel saying you want to move course Coke is gonna take up the whole trailer. So in Birmingham, you’re not necessarily allowed to get out and watch the gauges and you’re loading Coke, it ABC now drivers do it. And then the loaders get mad. And then they will sometimes overload you just because they’re been difficult because they tell you don’t get out but yet they’re overload you don’t need to pull forward any pull forward need to pull forward and then you roll out their 9,200 pounds over gross and they do that. I went out as much as 1,150 over gross. I rode a little Manny 2000, arresto 92,000 pounds in course, what do we got to do? We got to throw it off. And then you throw it off when it’s hot. You don’t cool it. You gotta throw it off on its high. So you got to get up our own that that makes you mad. Are you saying well you can’t get on it. But you can’t throw it off at different you can’t dump it because the front angle move. So you have to dump the whole load and get apart and tow it off most total, huh? Because you can’t open that back door and you don’t want a barn door to unload it because some of these older trailers they have spring you can’t put your door lock back in. Oh, that goes back to equipment things and stuff. I’ve got a list of what started my deal on doing this. I mean, Scott was freezing Lotan coke at ABC going to Reedsburg, Wisconsin, there was madness went up our I was the first one of the nine and getting unloaded 90 819 But I got gotten loaded because I got in there with a hammer and a shovel and done it took me two and a half hours. And but no the rest of it. But I days I’m not staying here, everybody. I mean, of course that helped to kale and Austin Kale was my first dispatcher, saying that we’ve put every truck in every shop, they had one in the fire hall trying to thaw out. Now like, Well, I’m not sitting here tomorrow to take one spot. I’m digging it off. And that’s what I’ve done. And so So what did that learn you when Kol says they called and said we can’t put nothing in it. And we had to cool the load off, which means we put water out and this is gonna freeze he goes I know we can’t use it. And of course was all told that we talked Austin’s driver there were several bus drivers there. And we talked about it and I don’t know why they wanted to do that. But it was their call but we did what they asked us to do and was like what’s gonna be real? And we get up there and guess what? We’re all froze.

Jeremy Kellett  16:09

No, but I’m saying, what did you learn from the load freezing?

Cris Ponds  16:13

Don’t load it and don’t do something like that. That’s one of the things I was talking about training. You need to watch the weather of where you’re going. It wasn’t freezing in Alabama. It was 45 degrees in Birmingham, but we should have said, “Hey, look, it’s 45 here, but it’s -14 there.” They’re not thinking that we’re gonna freeze between here and there. They don’t even have that in mind.

Jeremy Kellett  16:34

So how do you prevent that the next time?

Cris Ponds  16:37

Well, salt. Wesmol. Different ones take different things, allow us to use different products.

Jeremy Kellett  16:42

That’s what I’m getting at. You learned the hard way on frozen loads, so how do you prevent that next time so everybody’s a little bit different, I guess. Have you run across any that, Welden?

Welden Sylve  16:56

No. I’ve been very fortunate enough not to load of stuff out of Birmingham.

Cris Ponds  17:01

Okay. In case y’all want to know, it’s 10 to 12 pounds a load if you load a load at ABC going to Wisconsin. Takes about 10 or 12 pounds of salt to keep it from freezing. If you know you’re going to put water on it, they say go underneath the belt, you better put salt in it. You will freeze. There’s no way around it.

Jeremy Kellett  17:16

Well, that’s the big thing is preventive measures for this stuff because we’ve been doing this for something-years. We didn’t talk about WD-40 either. You gotta have some stuff to put in the trailer to keep things from freezing as long as it’s okay with the customer. That’s the big thing, which salt pretty much is. But GEICO does not want us to use salt. Yeah, so there’s there’s different customers. So for you guys listening out there, you always don’t just put down what you think will keep it from sticking you got to make sure it’s approved and a customer okays it or you get there with a rejected load. That’s a whole lot worse than one sticking.

Cris Ponds  17:57

Yes, sir. They normally catch it after we leave. They see what we’ve done after we’ve gone then they don’t know who done it, but they know that hit 340 Please, they know good one of the Oakley trucks done it. Yep. And it can typically be a week or two later. Well, I tell my trainers or my trainee guys, you don’t take out that plastic, whichever RV and freeze if you want to a Western all in the market now that’s fine to just keep I’ve got it in my truck. Now. I try to keep salt which I’m out my last load, Wisconsin Reedsburg matter of fact, a term keep WD 40 you anything anything it can freeze anything needs to move such as your gauges, or your knobs. You tailgate, anything we’re painters are hinges on the back in your sleeves, you need to throw WD 40 on it and say you forget something that’s what these are for. Directly. These gauges you don’t have who do the gauges will you’re not your gauges, but your knobs will freeze you will get after and crank crank the handle to dump the bags and whatnot. It will get in there and it will freeze. That’s what ether is for and to keep plastic for some loads, some of your feed loads can always do this. The plastic is something. It will freeze you can put a layer then you put that plastic down the input to feed in. I wouldn’t be hominy or wheat or corn or whatever. There’s going to sweat and meal because it will slide off of that versus it will stick to the plastic. You need to know these things before you get there.

Jeremy Kellett  19:26

I think you’re right, weather’s really important to know. What about a routine welding? Do you have a routine you go through when you get ready to load or unload?

Welden Sylve  19:35

Yeah, I come from hauling cars for 19 years. So you Yes, that’s the number one thing you develop is a routine and my wife will tell you, I’m OCD as it comes to everything. So you definitely have to develop a routine and I will tell you, you learn the most when you get out there on your own. You start making some mistakes and you learn from those mistakes. You want to try and minimize them for sure, but my routine may not necessarily fit somebody else’s somebody, like our teens might be totally different. But you develop a routine and take your time. Number one, take your time. We were talking about dumping earlier. One of my biggest things when I first started dumping years ago was I always when I’m, when I’m going as I’m going up, not only am I watching my trailer is going up, but I’m watching my tires on the ground, making sure that the bow and the tires are staying the same on each side, those are little things that you pick up on because a dead load is loaded to one side of the train on the other. And you could tell within loading you because you’ll see that trend will tip to one side or another as they load you and you just have them don’t go in as deep when you’re dumping or whatever, I have to be doing this. So I think I got away from the routine thing.

Jeremy Kellett  20:56

Well, no, that’s a good point. Because I was just thinking about you watching. So you can see your tires, right and your mirror and your mirrors and you can see if one squat more No, right? Right. Okay, and then you can see the the land or the trailer might be going up and your mirrors and whether it’s sway in one way or another you guys get out. I mean, when you get to a place to unload, you survey the situation. Tell me what happens then.

Welden Sylve  21:22

Everytime. Unless it’s somewhere without well being and we dump the exact same place every time. I always get out check. Why not? It only takes what are you looking for, I’m looking for level ground and making sure that ground ground is firm. And then also actually how for if I’m dumping in a pit, or whatever, just seeing how far back I need to go or how deep. If somebody doesn’t have a backstop, you want to get out a couple of times and look to make sure because you don’t want to overshoot it. So anyway, anything you could do to be safe, because there might be a time. You don’t get a do over try to be safe. That’s the first thing number one is you got family at home needing you to come back.

Jeremy Kellett  22:12

And you don’t want to get in a hurry. I think that’s a big deal too. And having your own routine, I’ve talked to some of our owner operators and they’re big on their, their routine, and that it just takes time to develop the safest routine and everybody’s different.

Cris Ponds  22:28

Yeah, you’re looking at— whether it be dirt, rock, concrete, asphalt, whatever, and you pick up little tricks, like keep backing up into a spotless safe gravel, gravel stick and tell the truck if you just drove across it, remember you putting all that weight on one, excellent. So if it’s wet back across it, if it leaves a mark back across, again, if it leaves another mark, it’s not gonna hold you up. If you made a mark and you back over and you pull back over and it’s back, the same is probably going to hold you. But every time you back across, it used to be a little deeper, a little deeper, it’s not gonna hold you up or one side maybe like say this, this gravel over here is dry described here is kind of wet you back there and it’s making marks is not gonna hold you up. So it’s not packing. So yeah, do something else. And actually, that’s things you need to be talking about when you’re being trained. That’s something I tell my guys.

Jeremy Kellett  23:18

A lot of it’s common sense, isn’t it?

Welden Sylve  23:19

Oh, it is.

Cris Ponds  23:20

Well they don’t think about it so they don’t know. They’re just the assuming, hey, I drove across it, it held the truck up, it’s hold it up when I pick it up. No.

Jeremy Kellett  23:27

Yeah, and I can see that because if you’ve never done it before, you don’t know if this is good or not. Like, is the trailer clean enough. “Well, eh. I sweep it out.” Okay, but is it clean enough? “Well, I don’t know. It’s my first week.”

Cris Ponds  23:45

What’s your next product?

Jeremy Kellett  23:46

Yeah, right. What’s your next product. That’s what you gotta ask them.

Cris Ponds  23:49

Determine what you do next. You can’t put roofing granules on my clean trailer, but you can load almost anything behind roofing granules because they come out clean. Then what don’t come out clean, you can blow out, sweep out, whatever.

Jeremy Kellett  24:07

I had one guy tell me that it was real beneficial to carry an extra pin for the trailer. Y’all see that? Because they can be lost pretty easy? Y’all ever lost a pin?

Cris Ponds  24:18

Usually they’re knocked out and forgotten. They forget to put them back in, they lay them on the ground, they drive off and leave them.

Welden Sylve  24:23

Right, yeah, I can see that.

Jeremy Kellett  24:26

Now explain that. Explain it to our listeners. So the pin is on the goes in the side of the trailer. The house is the third point correct on the back of the trailer and you have to knock it out. If you’re gonna do a regular stomp, swing, swing door swing, you don’t you leave it in. And then we have a manual to barn door or that peon stays in all the time, it’s on a handle. So when you knock that pin out of the bottom, then swing door it, and you forget to put it back in.

Cris Ponds  25:00

Right, like at 3am in Atlanta. They’ve got a wide enough pit, we’ll go to Atlanta, they won’t take it out there, the sheet. When you get done, you can lay it down, reach over the handle and knock the pan out and let it swing okay? And it’ll serve clean because it’s wide enough that is behind the whole trailer versus everywhere else you got to pay it we got to get in there and shovel it out, build out to the pit and drop it down in their hole. But yet their stuff is wide enough that we can swing it quick, clean and be gone.

Jeremy Kellett  25:28

Okay, let’s take a quick break and hear from our sponsor Arrow Truck Sales. Keith Wilson at Arrow Truck Sales in Springfield, Missouri is currently offering $1,000 off your first month’s payment when you finance with transport funding, or $1,000 off the truck price if you bring your own financing. They’re also discounting the cost of an extended warranty by $500. Arrow Truck Sales has been a longtime partner with Oakley Trucking and that’s because they specialize in first-time truck buyers, they don’t do any leases, they have the best-used trucks money can buy (because used trucks is all they do, they don’t sell any new trucks), and the biggest reason that Arrow and Oakley are partners is service after the sale. It is very important to us at Oakley that when we refer you to a company, that they are a good company with good people, they do what they say, and they understand our requirements. So give Keith a call at 573-216-6047 for a good used truck and tell him you heard about it on the Oakley podcast. All right, let’s— You got something?

Welden Sylve  26:34

Well, I was just going to say, that pin, like you were saying, they’ll sometimes knock them out leave them, that’s being in a hurry. Anything I take off the truck I make sure I put it on the truck because I know me. Man, I forget anything, so I make sure. I take the pin out, I’ll put it under my bump so I don’t forget it.

Jeremy Kellett  26:57

One guy wondered if it would be handy if we could have a place on the trailer to put that pin. Would that be handy?

Welden Sylve  27:05

It really would be. I never thought about that but our car haulers, we use pins and they got spots for them.

Cris Ponds  27:12

You see some of the drivers out here now, I did have mine but hitting with a hammer grabbing it in a collapsed a ring on top but some of them had rings on bottom. And you’ll see a bunch of now pull them out. And where you are Pamela goes Of course now you tarps on passion your sack open. It’s got a hole in it. Paint where you paint the bar in the hangar and they do walk off they’re not going to forget it. And that works out really well. Okay, so yeah. So yeah, I’ve seen more and more of those drivers do that.

Jeremy Kellett  27:44

It’s new to a lot of people, for a lot of guys. I’ve been doing it for years and it’s something that you got to pay attention to. Because we have guys get complacent. And yeah, I’ve done it a long time and and get a little cocky, a little prideful. I’m sure you see some of those guys out there that it’ll reach up and bite you quit if you’re not careful. I think we do a good job here. We got some really good owner operators that take care of our equipment real good. And want to do a safe job unloading, but man, if you don’t, the thing is you’re doing it every day. And it’s easy to get used to it. How do you discipline yourself to refocus every time I’m going to unload? How do you do that?

Welden Sylve  28:37

I got complacent and messed up one time because I was there was a lot of trucks behind me waiting to unload so I got in a hurry and me and hurry. I have one speed and when I’m gonna get out of whack and I’m messed up but I was I was supposed to be swing Dorn Well, I forgot to open my jaws and standing up and I didn’t want to see him product coming up. So I let it down, got out and looked and I had already bent my hands up there so it took some finagling to get the door open deal to get it back closed after that, but it’s like I said, like we were saying to reiterate man never get in a hurry because number one Oakley pays us enough to where we don’t have to be running around like chickens with our heads cut off. I might have some guys that might want to strangle me for saying that but I don’t bring it but no, really I mean I’ve I’ve done it most of my life all this other type of work to where I feel like it run. So you develop your your your own routine, and stick to it no matter how many people behind you because. You’re rushing because they’re back there but hey, like I said earlier, you got people to depend on us at home as well as Oculi they dependent on you so don’t go out there and mess up the way it costs you your life or somebody else’s. It’s not worth it.

Jeremy Kellett  30:12

You’re exactly right. I think that’s a great way to look at it to pay attention you can only control what you can control right there in front of you and have to do in a safe job with a trailer when you’re talking to explaining that story. This is where my mind goes. You were talking about raising it up and nothing coming out. My first thought was I have done exactly that unloading my bass boat and back it down in the water I forget to take a strap off the back and I’m revving it back and it won’t go back because I left the strap on it. Kind of the same thing, isn’t it, Welden?

Welden Sylve  30:44

Oh, man. That’s like one of them parking videos, like one of those bloopers.

Cris Ponds  30:51

Except more dangerous.

Welden Sylve  30:52

Yeah, buddy, ’cause it’s just gonna suck the— Well, it depends on how much your strap is out to wear, if it’s still on a trailer of his back of it is enough to where you can tuck it down underwater.

Jeremy Kellett  31:09

I’ve done some stupid things before. You get in a hurry, people are behind you wanting to “let’s go, let’s go” and you got to do that. You got to take your time and and not let customers get get you in a hurry don’t let other drivers get you in a hurry and take you out of your routine.

Cris Ponds  31:24

Don’t let them talk you into making a dump that you don’t feel comfortable doing. That’s another big thing. It can give Cale credit on that one. You call him up so hey, oh luckiest I don’t feel comfortable with they’re asking me to do okay don’t do it. They’ll questions I know that they’ll do something different or don’t do it. That’s part of it too because you have to do this I may have to dump but I don’t have to dump like this we need to do something different you need let me move down here appeal foreigners but we got to do some different and that’s something else I that I tell the guys well you have to dump your at I’ve got to get it off the trailer but I don’t have to do it the way you’re telling me I get to do it where I feel calm. And he then you start looking around and then there’s those frame trailers. Yeah, then you go you look around he’s like well no wonder they got these frame charters to dump on the side of a mountain and not turn out. They don’t understand the difference they didn’t understand the difference do not have a standard weight distribution with a whole lot when you stand at the end dump up all your weights back on that one axle. It’s not spread out lack on it on the frameless trailer at least some of that weight does transfer pressure on the ground to spread it out.

Jeremy Kellett  32:37

Well, and I wouldn’t doubt it that they’re trying to save themselves from work. If you can help me here, I don’t have to move it.

Cris Ponds  32:45

Even though they could be on the machine. The machine does the work and they still do that. You run into customers like that every now and then. Dumping turf, that’s another thing you’ll go go into Alabama, and we’ll go somewhere. I mean, I’ve been on was it what’s the one down here? Not Magnolia, but the center set Arkansas. The mules the Lester mascot was Monticello Monticello I’ve dumped on our baseball field and that was awesome I had dumped on the baseball field at a period also state yeah Arkansas State and that is awesome and but when you go in there you’re like hey look guys I just can’t this dump I heard on the ground. It’s got to be dry, it can’t be sand. If I go out there, it needs to be dry because I’m gonna tear it up if it ain’t. Then of course lucky have tom been there so we’ve been dragged back out there. It leaves ruts but it held the trailer up. Even though most people don’t know when they build a baseball field softball field soccer field, there’s a layer of sand in different rock under so the ground is already soft for a reason to get the water down. So when you back over, it’s already sinking so you can go out there when it’s wet and that was my main thing when I call that the head football coach or the baseball coach down so it’s got to be dry. Well, that particular drum don’t hit me dump upon the spin the parking lot. So they luckily all them guys were baseball players they went by and moved me and these three other players were just backing off the road like this. And we don’t sit down we drive out. Yeah, that’s how the hill was like that. It was a parking lot. So there’s murder by wicked back off and dumping leaves watching you not just driving, it’s not gonna go up and it’s gonna go over and he’s like, okay, we’re going to dump it like this then. Let me call my guys. I’ll have it moved by the time you get here. No problem.

Jeremy Kellett  34:33

That’s good. At least the customers listen to you guys, and that’s what you get most times. They respect the job you’re doing, don’t they? And let you make a decision on a safe place to dump.

Cris Ponds  34:40

And sharing that information with a guy that you’re training. He needs to know this. He needs to know that he can I mean, a lot of this information. I mean, he goes through this batch and it goes to Randolph in in Randolph can’t cover everything. Right, he is covering three divisions. And that’s why I was saying there need to be more training in the end dumps because in my opinion, they’re all dangerous. Okay? All right now Oregon that, but end up in my opinion is the most dangerous is the area where you can do the most damage, you can either mainly hurt yourself as bad as falling off the top of a tank, but you could turn it over, you could turn over in a bill in or out of a building. You could turn over and land on someone else, and that’s why I tell them there’s a certain way you run away from a truck if you’re outside you didn’t straight away. You run at a 45 degree angle away from it, you stay in the trailer up like this, and you’re here and it falls over your gut. That’s why you run this way. You don’t run you don’t run long was the trip which I angled away from, in a train nega who’s just never done this, he needs to know that he needs to know to stay in the truck. He knows they don’t need to get out of it and keep the door closed. I say he doesn’t need to wear a seatbelt. Because if he turns over, he needs to lean. If it does fall over, he needs to be to the center of the truck center of the truck. Because if it don’t turn over and it slaps back, and you’re strapped in that seat, it will knock you out right there. I think these things like this, they need to know this. Yeah, they need to be explained like fitness fall, this is what you need to do. And don’t think you’re gonna jump at it. You don’t need to be on the ground. You need to be in it. That’s the safest place.

Jeremy Kellett  36:22

Okay, so now that we’ve scared everybody, all the listeners. We’ve lost everybody. Every recruit is now changing what they’re doing. Well, man, it’s real, though. It’s true. It’s real stuff that I mean, but now we give them this stuff. So brings me if I’m listening out there, and I’m thinking about coming Oakley? Then why are you guys here? Why have you guys given up 16 years of car hauling and you’re at Oakley now for two or three years?

Welden Sylve  36:58

Money. Straight up money is always that but I will tell you the company that I came from, when I first started there, I worked with two different car hauler companies, one for five and other for 14. But the last one I left when I first started there, they were the greatest things from apple pie and hotdogs, but then they changed. One thing I noticed the first time I talked with Corey over the phone, I feel like I’ve been knowing him for a long time, man. The five recruits that I’ve gotten on here, they’ll tell you this themselves. It’s like family here. Everybody, you know, they’ll meet you once and they’re going to remember your name and they’re gonna remember  your face. Everybody’s gonna speak to you and I love that. It don’t matter who you are. You know, there’s no egos around here. Whether it’d be drivers or whatever, you might have one to having a bad day that’ll just walk by you, but for the most part, everybody’s gonna speak to you when they walk by. I love that. I’m from south Louisiana and that’s what we do. We usually hug. I’m just saying, yes, money, but I’ve always worked for companies. I have my own truck now. And at some price, a lot of pride in that. But a lot of pride is that I work for Oakley. And I’m proud to tell people that they pay us well. And since I’ve been here, we’ve gotten modest raises because I’m thinking as you’re taking in consideration of fuel prices and stuff like that, man, I tell you, for people that haven’t said it, I appreciate it.

Jeremy Kellett  37:26

We appreciate you. What does your wife think about it? I just throw that out there. I know you weren’t prepared for that.

Welden Sylve  38:53

I’ll tell you this, when I made my one year and she got that $50 debit card, she was like, Is this for you? And I’m like, Is your name on it? She was just like, Man, this this is awesome. I’m like, yeah, it is. And then they hear that increases every year that I’m here and I mean, man, that’s that’s how you retain because that’s appreciation. And that’s why I said I appreciate it.

Jeremy Kellett  39:26

We do, too. You gotta develop a relationship and that means a lot more than anything that can be paid but you guys pull dump trailers and we talk about all the dangerous stuff doing it and some but evidently Oh, like pulling dumps, right. Love it. Why?

Cris Ponds  39:44


Jeremy Kellett  39:47

You’re stuck on the money.

Cris Ponds  39:49

Yeah, I’m stuck on the money, but I want these guys when they come in. I mean, you got to know the good and the bad, the ugly. I mean, a lot of these guys don’t understand what the dangers are. I’m a guy, I want to know what they are. I mean, I want to know what I’m up against. I don’t want to fake trailers falling over. It’s a little like, Tim, that we’re proud. And that’s why I’m kind of a stickler on. The way some of the stuff that I’ve seen it and been on because I think these guys, some of these guys really don’t know when they get here, they really don’t know. And I think they should know when they get here. What kind of dangers is involved, what they should do if this happens, or at least have a I hate to see a guy run into a guy’s frozen or he’s had damage or he’s done something dumb. But not know what he meant something broke some because he didn’t know. That’s to me. That’s just dumb. I mean, sometimes if you tell the guy and he still does it, okay, but if he doesn’t didn’t know it, like some people don’t know that we can’t dump it 45 degree. We can’t Don’t caulk it. We got to be straight. And you believe that you wouldn’t believe in place. Oh, that other guy don’t. He’s a frame driver. I’m not even things like this. They need to understand this before they go back and do it. Because let’s say he goes back and he dumps and walks to trailer to the trip. We’re talking about sideways. Guess what? He can’t let it down. Right? What if he’s been asked to do this back around a corner and dump and let the trailer walk to me? Great, but then I do it. I can’t. I can’t move. I’m trapped. Trying to explain that is very difficult because the guy before him had just done it. Well, I like the part you said in the beginning of this episode was having other guys phone numbers. Right. Great. That, to me is a key to having good people to help you if you’re going into a place and just making that phone call. Hey, I’m going into so and so. And Alabama, you’ve been there before? Yep. Here’s what you need to do. Is it right? Yeah, save you a lot of time. And just even if it’s going in the wrong way or work’s hard or checking in or any of that kind of stuff has got to help. Yeah, I mean, right equipment, extra equipment to carry this causes driver friendly, not college required. I mean, all those kinds of things fall in there, the different ways to dump in those little that little trick about backing up over a wet spot. If you don’t know back, he looks like his grandma’s been gravel, just do those little signs, like those little tricks will help these drivers. And they need to know this a trainer, somebody. Here’s the thing, when I say when we talk about this is this is not for the experienced driver, the stuff that I wrote down and stuff I talk about and stuff I teach this just about trying to get the first drivers never done this up to speed faster before he tears up something or he gets made quit. And I really think a lot of the drivers, they get my quit, because they didn’t figure it out. They didn’t know everything. As well as my opinion. I may be wrong. But I think that’s just some of them. And they’re not up to speed because they’re not learning everything. Well, somebody was back to the only maybe one or two dots on one or two materials and asked all the material they know how to know they don’t know nothing else. And that’s where the phone calls come in the people hate this is what you need to do that, like you say, 123 Then do it like this. And you need and there’s these young drivers who are coming in who’s never had no experience. These are the drivers this the most troublesome because they’re aggravating. Well, they’re the most of time I get the phone calls and people are training people I know. And they’re already mad because they don’t want that got in 10 minutes. I’m gonna help you with this.

Jeremy Kellett  43:04

It’s just like anything you’ve never done before. And you’re not sure you feel comfortable, comfortable that I know I can do this. It’s just I don’t know, the process of doing it. And when I’m making a mistake and and I appreciate your passion, Cris, for wanting to prevent those mistakes that these guys can have potential to make. And I mean, that means a lot because, yes, everybody’s gonna make mistakes. You can learn from your mistakes, you just don’t want to learn from bad things, you want to be you want to make sure you as much as you can know, about the situation going on. And the way we do that here at Oakley that this is the way we do things you come in, we go through orientation, we actually spend a full day out here raising the trailer up and down. We even load some guys out here to give an idea how to how to do the gauges and zero them out and read the gauges if you’re heavy on the front or heavy on the back that type of deal. We try to do that here. But we’re loading something easy out here, dark rock, level ground, then what we do is is team you up with an owner operator that’s already here. And have them be patient and yes, we do pay them to to hang with you for a few loads and show you some of the ropes some of the things that you guys are talking about until they feel comfortable that you’re good to go on your own. That’s our plan. It’s not just a real good one, it’s hard to do it. You’re gonna train me, well, I might not run like you run. I’m not easy to train. I might be a little slower than the other guy. I’ve still got the latch on the back of my boat trailer trying to get it off. It’s gonna take me a little bit to learn that kind of stuff and it takes a lot of patience, but that’s our training program at Oakley and I’m not saying it’s the best, it’s just the only one. We’ve come up with that solid yhat’s helps.

Cris Ponds  45:19

I think having an outline, like we’ve talked about. I think what that does is fill in the gaps, it helps to get these people.

Jeremy Kellett  45:29

Hauling coke? Call Cris. Here’s his number.

Welden Sylve  45:32

There you go.

Jeremy Kellett  45:35

Stuff like that.

Cris Ponds  45:35

Yeah, but making a basic outline, to where is the experience driver talks about it with training, at least talk about it. At least have an idea Hey, there could be something here. The extra equipment to care I’m like deputy for most people, I don’t care what you can do before before you go up north where you can get your stuff under your back or beaten off a hammer. Simple things like that. Yeah, that’s true. Carry rope. I carry a two week strap. What if something has a matar? If I can keep the air out of the tower? I can carry it down the road. They don’t have to be tight. But that strap across the front stretch down pat. I tell people I’m training and he said why would you do that because if you can keep the front of the tarps across the road monitor the rope Zocalo I grew up calm and money. You keep that bond that the tarp will stay on the trailer and you can grab it somewhere and get that torque fixed. They say like say if you talk bar breaks, you more wakeboard breaks in the middle somewhere, it won’t get tight. But you can use strap keep our app pull it down pat and draft get fixed. Those are just helpful equipment hands that that I tell all of my unique carry rope. You need to carry Deputy 40 KS or you need to carry all this other stuff too. A longer raincoat is nice, galoshes.

Jeremy Kellett  46:46

There’s one last thing I want to ask you guys because we are out of time. Before I do that, let’s let’s check in with our sponsored LubeZone. Cold weather and batteries don’t go together. That’s why LubeZone is rolling out battery services this month at their locations. Get a battery test for free, a $30 value, and get a full system electrical test for $49.99, a $70 value. LubeZone currently has 11 locations throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, and California with more on the way. They can do annual DOT inspections along with CSA inspections without making an appointment. LubeZone thrives on giving great customer service to the truck driver, offering full-service disclosure and advice without the intent to upsell additional products to you that you don’t need, but don’t forget what LubeZone is famous for: fast is back. Their goal is to provide good PM services as quickly and efficiently as possible so you can get back on the road. They offer three major oil brands (shell, Delo, and mobile products) along with OEM-approved filters. Stopped by one of their locations and let us know how your experience was. Check out LubeZone.com for all their locations and tell them you heard about it on the Oakley podcast. Okay, so the last thing I want to ask you guys is patching a tarp. Have you ever had to patch your tarp? What’s the best way to do it?

Cris Ponds  48:09

What kind of tear is it? ‘Cause it’s gonna depend on what I’m gonna use. It depends on what I’m going to use.

Jeremy Kellett  48:26

Tear? I don’t know what kind of tear it is. It’s a hole

Cris Ponds  48:29

Okay, that’s different from a tear.

Jeremy Kellett  48:31

Coke put a hole in it.

Cris Ponds  48:32

Okay, you’ve got a melted hole in the center. You might want to use around tarp they give us patches after two years or so US dollar you can use take let’s say it’s a road market it’s not all the way through but it is leaking they’ll say the tarp and ribs over this bar it’s just thin you can use the Flex Seal spray over it and let it dry takes a while or in that hopes How do I see the head I finally got to be inside of the trailer with a robot with a close and you can see the thin spots in the heavy spots or the tire spots tight you want to run the tight patch on the Anza inside and you want to run the tight up with the torque not crossways because you roll it this way the tarp will roll up to taping but now if it’s this way it only rolls half the way up it will actually unpeel itself so you need to run your tarp side to side of the trailer with the tape.

Jeremy Kellett  49:24

I was talking to Mike Johnson, one of our owner operators today. We got to talking about patching a tarp. He was going to call me back tell me what it was, but he has found some tarp patch material that works fantastic.

Cris Ponds  49:38

Yes, big flag raiders.

Jeremy Kellett  49:39

Is that what it is? It’s a lot better than what we just give you access tarp out here to shot or some glue whatever you just take a stay say that was some good stuff. He didn’t know the name of it but he said it worked like a charm.

Cris Ponds  49:51

Mostly start places got them. You can get this patch or whatever size you take and you cut it like you want. You peel it off. You get your heart light out and you just lay it on there and it’s stuck.

Jeremy Kellett  49:59

Yeah, he said you peel the back off of it.

Welden Sylve  50:01

Oh, wow. That’s pretty good. I’ll tell you, gorilla tape. That stuff is no joke, what I do is like you said, I’ll go inside and I take a baby wipe or whatever, and I clean it top off, and they let it dry. And take that tape and run it to where, like you said, when you rolled it up, so it doesn’t, if you roll if you do it crossways is going to keep rolling up in it, and then it’s going to come apart. I know as you or I might get stuck where you can’t roll it rolling. Right? So once I put that gorilla tape on output, several stress, but then I take that flexio spray it spray it spray to tape, and your son has been on it since last year. It will stay. Okay, man, I tell you stuff works, but I’m gonna have to find that, that stuff you were talking about.

Cris Ponds  50:50

You can find them. Some of these guys are these flatbeds on these tarps. Truck Pro used to have it but a lot of these tarp places that repair tarps, they carry it.

Jeremy Kellett  50:55

He’ll call me back and I’ll find out. Okay, we’ll try to spread the word on that so guys can help. Well, man, we’ve been long enough on this. I think it’s great though. We’ve all learned something. I mean, it’s a good it’s a good way to share information. I mean, with with every all are owner operators and guys thinking about coming in. So I was like, it’s beneficial. And I appreciate you guys taking the time to, to do it. I know we caught you here and doing the Geotab class and, and that but I think that works. You guys know what you’re doing. You’re I think it’s great that we go through the hard stuff and we tell people about it. That’s the way they can be prepared.

Welden Sylve  51:25

That’s right. That’s right.

Cris Ponds  51:36

I believe if we tell them everything, knowing the good and the bad, and they still come, there’s a better chance they’re going to stay and they’re going to stay at it, and they’re going to have less chance of tearing up something.

Jeremy Kellett  51:47

Well, we got a bunch of good owner operators like you guys out here. And I appreciate y’all and the job y’all do and the passion y’all have taken care of you stuff taking care of Oakleys trailer and your truck and the customers out there. It means a lot, man, I really does. Appreciate the time y’all put in with us here at Oakley.

Welden Sylve  52:04

We thank y’all and I will say to anybody out there, hey, come on. tell you this. This is a family-oriented company and great place to work.

Cris Ponds  52:14


Jeremy Kellett  52:15

Cris is stuck on that money. Thanks everybody for listening to the Oakley podcast. Remember to subscribe, comment, like, and spread the word about the podcast. We sure appreciate it and I appreciate everybody listening. We’ll talk to you next week. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Oakley podcast: trucking, business, and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show on the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience, so if you’ve got a question, comment, or just want to say hello, head over to our website, theoakleypodcast.com, and click the “leave a comment” button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.