Company owner: ‘Born in a truck’
February 18, 2011 | by: Lucinda Coulter
Patrick Montgomery is still grateful to a 1958 Peterbilt cabover for his start in life. “I was pretty much born in that truck,” the 52-year-old tow-truck company owner says. “It ended up in front of the hospital when I was halfway out. She got old but she was dependable. She had a CT Cummins 600-hp, and she could fly.”
Montgomery, a resident of Buhl, Iowa, started his first tow-truck company when he was 18, shortly after the death of his owner-operator father, Alvin Montgomery. Patrick Montgomery named his first company Highway Hooker Towing, which was inspired from one of the Tow Trucks of the Month in Overdrive, a white Peterbilt named the Happy Hooker.
He had his own subscription to Overdrive from the age of 5, he says. As a teen, he traveled with his father, who was a charter member in Overdrive’s Independent Truckers Association, traveled to the magazine’s headquarters in Van Nuys, Calif., and visited with its staff. Soon after that trip the then 15-year-old started his own 4-H club in trucking transportation in Bliss, Idaho. ”Ten guys attended the first meeting at a small truck stop,” Montgomery says.
The 4-H club fluourished but ended when the teens turned 19, according to the club’s national rules. The group’s enthusiasm for trucking remained and, in 1985, charter members of the teen club got back together, eventually reforming that group as part of the United American Independent Truckers Association across Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming, Montgomery says. He has been active, as well, in radio for many years, having started KTOW radio at 105.7 FM in 1985 as “the voice of the American Towing professional” and was host of the Dixie Diesel Trucker Radio show for several years, Montgomery says.
He says that the current UAITA has plans this fall to launch a syndicated network and go online with webcasts.
As for towing in Idaho’s rugged terrain, Montgomery says that “it is a very big job, rescuing big and little rigs from off the hills and frozen interstates.” But he is proud of his occuption: “It’s an opportunity to serve the trucking community and it’s fairly consistent.”
He enjoys the 1997 Peterbilt tow truck shown in the photo. Once used for work at his company, Wyld Eagle Toewing Co., the wrecker is equipped with a Cat C12 and a 15-speed Eaton Fuller transmission, has a waterbed in the sleeper and 1-carat diamond tuck-n-roll upholstery. The truck is valued at $3 million, Montgomery says: “It’s mostly a show truck now.”
Idaho native son Patrick Montgomery resides in Buhl, Idaho, and serves as president of the Mountain West Region chapter of the United American Independent Truckers Association, comprising about 250,000 members nationally.