Bryan and Nikki Larrea share two loves. They both love trucks — and, more importantly, they love each other.
The Idaho natives, who own and operate Larrea Trucking Hay Company LLC, both grew up in the Meridian area of the state. Although the two crossed paths many times over the years during their youth, they didn’t actually meet until both were adults.
“It’s kind of a funny story,” Nikki said. “My husband grew up in the trucking business with his dad. I would be walking to school and see the orange and white hay trucks. That was their colors. It amazed me to see a huge load of hay going down the road. I was always interested in trucks growing up.”
As a locally and nationally ranked No. 1 BMX racer growing up, Nikki knew where her passions were. What she didn’t know was that those passions would eventually lead her to the love of her life: Bryan was a state champion motocross competitor.
“I would go out to OMC, which is a racetrack in Boise, Idaho, and I would actually flag when I was 11, 12, 13 years old,” Nikki said. “It turns out I was actually flagging for him when he was racing a CR-500 dirt bike, which is a very powerful dirt bike. I knew of him and as time went on, my grandma and I went on a road trip when I was 14 years old. I was just ‘trucks, trucks, trucks!’ the whole time.”
As the two returned home from their trip, Nikki caught sight of one of some orange and white hay trucks coming across an overpass.
“My grandmother turned to me and said, ‘Honey, promise me one thing. Don’t ever get with a hay hauler like that, because they are dangerous,’” Nikki said with a laugh at the memory.
Nikki never dreamed that, years later, the young man she flagged for — and later spotted on the overpass — would turn out to be the love of her life.
When the two first met as adults, each was in a relationship with someone else. Nevertheless, Nikki and Bryan forged a solid friendship, bonded by their mutual interests. As fate would have it, they both found themselves single a few years later, and the friendship was rekindled. This time, the relationship blossomed into not only a loving marriage, but also a prosperous business partnership.
Almost a year into dating, in December 2005, Bryan asked Nikki if she wanted to go on a road trip with him for his dad’s trucking company.
“He took me out on the road, and we went to every state,” Nikki said. “This one time we were coming back through and we had a drop in Las Vegas, Nevada. He looked over at me and said, ‘You wanna get married?’ and I said yes. We stayed a couple of nights, walked out on the boulevard and got married — and we’ve been best friends ever since.”
As the proud owners and operators of Larrea Trucking Hay Company for the past six years, Nikki and Bryan have a long history in the trucking industry they both know and love so much.
“This is my 47th year in trucking,” Bryan said. “My dad owned a hay company. I worked for him for many years until he passed away. I have an old cabover that my dad bought me in 1982. I was blessed with that, and still own it.
“Me and Nikki worked for another hay company for about eight years,” he continued. “We started our own company, and we own three trucks, five sets of doubles. I’ve always had a good work ethic and worked hard.”
Bryan is proud of his bride’s accomplishments.
“Nikki is very good at what she does,” he said. “She is very good with the books, and we have succeeded because of her.”
According to Nikki, Bryan has an affinity for Peterbilt 379 extended hoods. When she was in her late 20s and Bryan in his early 40s, she says, she used to tell Bryan that if they worked hard, they would someday have one of their own.
“I promised him that by the time he was 60 years old, I would have him a 379 Pete,” she said. “He laughed and said, ‘That long?’”
Nikki also recalls mentioning to Bryan that, when she looked at the men driving those long-hood Petes, she noticed “they aren’t young.”
It would take hard work to be able to buy Bryan his dream truck, but Nikki believed they could do it.
“We actually beat our goal by two years,” she said.
When the couple decided to launch their own business, Nikki was apprehensive at first.
“I was scared,” Nikki said. “I didn’t know how to find loads or things like that.”
Their first success came when contacting a local company that offered guaranteed loads in 2018. Then she discovered a source for online load boards, Truckstop.com — and she says things took off from there. The company now has dedicated contracts, and the business continues to prosper. They attribute their success to maintaining a great safety rating; in addition, they pour what profits they make back into the business so it can grow and improve.
“Our favorite part of being in this business is being together,” Bryan said. “We are best friends, and we never argue. We are hooked at the hips. She is my best friend, and I love her to death.”
Nikki added that the pair’s pure love of trucks also helps deepen their relationship, and that they have met many new friends along the way. Even when they’re traveling in separate trucks, they communicate constantly via CB radio.
For many years, the Larreas shared the road with one other traveling companion. Their faithful canine trucker pal, Baby, traveled with them for 14 years. Nikki and Bryan said the dog never met a person she didn’t love.
“We miss her dearly,” Nikki said. “We were heartbroken to have to put our baby girl down in 2020 after she got hip dysplasia. In the end she couldn’t walk, and I would have to carry her.
“After months of trying to find her help, we realized that it was her time,” she shared. “As we put her sleep, I whispered in her ear that if there was any way for her to come back to us, to do it. I don’t care how, just come back to Mom and Dad.”
The wish was granted when Nikki found a feral kitten near their house in 2021. In the 14 years they’ve lived in the house, she says, they had never spotted a cat, let alone a kitten, on the property. After many attempts to catch the kitten, a female, Nikki finally succeeded, but it still took time to win her over.
“She now goes with us (on the road) every time,” Nikki said.
Both Nikki and Bryan are confident that their discovery and adoption of the kitten, now called Angelene, is because their beloved Baby kept her promise.