For Mike Oswald, a “good” trailer has got to be tough enough, big enough, light enough and reliable enough to stand up to the rigors of his commercial hauling operation.
Based in the small town of Shickley, Nebraska, Mike and his team haul distillery grain — a product of making ethanol that is often turned into cattle feed.
“It’s corn but has the texture of mashed potatoes,” Mike says. “It’s pretty sticky. Belt trailers are the only thing that makes sense for hauling, it’s just so heavy. An end dump or side dump adds so much weight that if you’re hauling commercially there’s no way you can make it work.”
That’s why he chooses Trinity trailers.
“To me, there’s no other belt trailer in the market. I wouldn’t give you two cents for some of them,” he says. “We run eight Trinitys. They’re proven.”
And he should know. Though the company had several Trinity trailers when Mike’s father purchased the business in 2003, they still researched and tried other brands. What they found was that a custom-outfitted Trinity, while a considerable investment, outperformed the other options both in performance and profitability.
“The biggest problem with carbon steel is the rust — they rust through, even on the sides. The road chemicals and moisture from the product just eat it up. You don’t have that with Trinity’s stainless steel. Everything I own is the level 2 stainless.”
Just as importantly, Mike says his Trinity trailers can stand up to the rugged conditions that his drivers battle every day.
“These trailers don’t exactly get treated nice here,” he says. “It’s not highway driving. We’re on back roads and cattle lots.”
Even with all that, we’ll only occasionally run into a little crack. I’ve only had to repair one of them.” Even when things go really sideways — quite literally — Trinity holds up. Mike recounts one day when one of his drivers turned a corner a bit too tight and ended up in a ditch.
“The DOT [Department of Transportation] guy came out and looked and said ‘You’re gonna need another trailer, this one’s junked out,’” Mike recalls.
The driver disagreed and suggested they wait until the tow truck arrived and the trailer got pulled out to make that decision. The DOT employee laughed and said he’d bet the driver a case of beer he wouldn’t be able to drive it.
“We pulled it out of the ditch and the DOT crawled underneath and looked at it front to back,” Mike says with a laugh. “When he came out from under the trailer, he handed us a 20 dollar bill and said, ‘Get out of here.’”
The trailer was fine.
“We just love these trailers.”
Brakes that Last
For Oswald, Inc., upgrading their Trinity Trailers to disc brakes was worth every penny. “They lighten up the trailer and provide better stopping distance,” Mike says. “They’re just a better deal all around.” According to Mike, the gravel, dust and dirt his guys drive through wreaks havoc on traditional drum brakes. “You get gravel and dirt inside those drums. and as they go around they chew through the brake lining. It’s bad.” No such trouble with disc brakes. “I foresee getting 450k to 500k or more miles with these disc brakes,” Mike says. “The last three that we bought had the quad axles and disc brakes. We loaded them up and that just makes a hell of a trailer.”