The next generation
These boys built a sweet show truck with their dads, carrying on a family tradition

By Greg Grisolano, staff writer

“Overloaded” is more than just a moniker for a pretty sweet-looking show truck. Sure, the 2013 Peterbilt 389 glider kit is “overloaded” with custom chrome, lighting, and pinstriping (even the fans on the motor received pinstriping detail). It’s a name that harkens to the process of turning what was supposed to be a fix-up job to flip for a little extra pocket money into a labor of love that brought together two brothers and their young sons.

Chad and his brother Brad Sand operate Sands Repair Inc., in Royalton, Minn. When they started working on “Overloaded,” they drafted Brad’s stepsons – 18-year-old Spencer Johnson and his 12-year-old brother, Aaron; and Chad’s 15-year-old son, John Sand – into the process.

“We’re always busy in the shop here; it’s very busy,” Chad Sand said. “They were at school doing what they had to. So everybody was kind of working on this late at night, early in the morning, all weekend. So that’s how we came up with it. Everybody was overloaded.”

What started as a simple rebuild job culminated with a handful of awards for the boys and their dads at the Paul K. Young Truck Beauty Championship at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville last March.

“Overloaded” took home first-place honors in the First Show Bobtail contest at PKY. And netted third place in the Working Bobtail Lights category as well. For their efforts, the boys were also given a special “Next Generation Award” by the show’s organizers.

“They obviously did a very good job,” said Bud Farquhar, producer of the Paul K. Young Truck Beauty Championship at MATS. “These kids, they’re not messing around here. It’s a lot of work, and they’re very proud of what they did. It was a very, very competitive truck when they brought it in.”

While Chad and Brad may be professional diesel mechanics with their own shop, the brothers said it was the boys who did most of the work in giving the rig its signature style.

“The big stuff, the motor overhaul, they helped along with that,” Chad said. “But a lot of the fabricating, welding and lights, they did. They did most of the extra stuff on their own.”

Spencer, who is pursuing a vocational degree in diesel mechanic work, said he got to help work on the engine, while his younger brother and cousin installed more than 200 custom lights and other details. Everybody agreed they wanted to keep the “old school” look with painted air filters, a 16-inch tapered bumper, and a hinged license plate holder.

“There’s a lot of custom work with a lot of the pieces on it,” Spencer said. “It took a lot longer than you would think with the brackets and some stuff. One piece between the fuel tanks took all day to make the brackets.”

The youngest member of the team, Aaron, said he had a pretty important job.

“We started bending the light bars and making the mounts for them,” he said. “Once we had all that done, we had to put them on the truck and that was kind of hard because we had to crawl under the battery box. It was super-low. I was the only one who could fit under there.”

The family admits the biggest challenge wasn’t trying to find the time (and money) to assemble the rig in between work and school. The biggest challenge was just getting down to Louisville in time for the show.

The plan was to be in the parking lot at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Monday morning, but the truck wasn’t even finished until then. With no time for a test drive, the crew loaded up and headed south. What normally takes 14 hours took 24 because of late-season snow and winter weather.

By the time they pulled into Papa John’s, the new rig was coated in a veritable layer of road salt and grime. Chad said the boys had their hands full trying to clean and polish the rig for the show.

“On the cleaning part, they did about 85 percent of it,” he said. “My brother and I, once we got there, we were there to help and to give a few pointers but overall that was their deal.”

John Sand said the weather in Louisville didn’t do the boys any favors either.

“We had to use a lot of Windex,” he said. “The problem with that is with the weather down there it started to freeze coming out of your bottle. We poured a little bit on the rag and went from there.”

Chad said the awards, and the reaction from other show truck contestants, went way beyond what they were expecting.

“It actually went way better than what I thought,” he said. “A lot of the other people were really nice to them. So I was really glad for that.”

His brother Brad agreed.

“We weren’t really there to get any trophies or anything,” Brad Sand said. “We just went there for a little bit of fun. We thought we’d built a pretty sharp-looking truck, and we just wanted to go out there and have a little fun with it. … It turned out good.”