Family is important to most professional drivers, and children often grow into roles in the family trucking business. Brandon Davis is pretty sure his two boys are on track for careers in the industry. Both are already pitching in with maintenance and truck-washing duties and, of course, riding with Dad when they can. Davis’ youngest son, 8-year-old Remington (nicknamed “Rooster”) is already learning to be an owner-operator with a tiny truck of his own.
That truck, dubbed the “Wee Pete,” was Brandon’s brainchild. He had already modified a child’s wagon to resemble a semi-trailer, complete with lights and a battery for power. He and wife Cortney used the wagon to pull the kids around truck shows. After observing Rooster trying to haul the wagon behind his bicycle, Brandon knew he needed to do more.
“I didn’t really have a plan, and once I started it just snowballed,” he said. “I used a few old parts to get started, but I handcrafted most of it. I used a lot of square-tubular steel and sheet metal to make most of it.”
Brandon had help with the project.
“I helped with wiring the switches, some of the painting of the body panels and installing the trailer floor,” said Rooster.
The finished product is a close replica of Brandon’s own 1994 Peterbilt 379, which was a rock-hauling truck for most of its career — until Davis lovingly restored it. That Pete, with a white-on-light-blue color scheme, sports a Caterpillar 3406 mechanical engine and an 18-speed manual transmission.
The Wee Pete has an identical color scheme and replicates all the chrome on the 379, including the windshield visor, dual stacks, air filters, grille and (liftable!) Texas bumper.
But wait, there’s more. The Wee Pete is equipped with more than 100 lights that are powered by two batteries, along with working gauges, a radio and an air compressor with a tank to power the locomotive horns. Powered by a 400cc diesel engine with a centrifugal clutch, the tiny tractor pulls a spread-axle replica of Brandon’s trailer.
Like the big Pete, the Wee Pete’s driver has his own CB “handle.”
“My dad and I were hauling military equipment and I was talking on the CB to some other drivers,” Rooster recalled. “They started calling me ‘Rooster’ and it stuck.”
Dad uses the larger Pete to pull a 2020 Wilson step deck trailer.
“We haul a lot of limestone, marble, granite, lumber and steel,” Brandon explained. The family operates from their home in Willard, Missouri. “We usually stay within a couple hundred miles so we get back the same day, but when we go farther, we’ll pick up a return load from a load board.”
The business also has two independent contractors leased on, and Brandon’s wife Cortney makes hotshot runs with a pickup and trailer.
Brandon comes by his truck-driving acumen the way many drivers do, and his training was of the
“My dad was a trucker. I think I’ve always wanted to drive a truck,” he said.
“I worked for a local construction company and when I turned 21, the owner asked if I’d like to get my CDL,” he explained. He trained with co-workers and, once ready, passed the exams to obtain his CDL.
After that, Brandon held a variety of trucking jobs.
“I hauled some refrigerated, some grain and cattle after I got out of construction,” he said. “Then we moved to Colorado in 2010 and I started doing heavy-haul. I’ve been pulling flatbed ever since.”
On many of his trips, Brandon was accompanied by one of his sons.
“Tyler did about 100,000 miles with me in one year back when I hauled refrigerated. When Rooster was born, I took him with me a lot to give his mom a break with the newborn,” he said, adding that it wasn’t long before Rooster began riding, too.
“When he was four or five weeks old, he went on his first trip when the whole family went,” recalled Brandon. “Rooster was just born into trucking.”
Brandon recalls how Rooster would observe trucks on the road and what they were hauling.
“He copies everything,” he said. “If he sees a trailer or a load that looks different, he tries to find something like it to haul on his toy trucks. He’s just ate up with it.”
Davis often creates videos of Rooster and the Wee Pete, but Rooster doesn’t go on camera until he has his trucker outfit on. His jeans, western shirt, boots, belt and cowboy hat must be “just right” when the video starts.
“I just decided that’s the look I want to have,” Rooster explained. One video, featuring Rooster performing a walkaround inspection of the Wee Pete, was viewed over a million times in the first 48 hours and topped three million views in three weeks. It can be seen at youtu.be/JCQMJ92SS00.
Another video features the young trucker showing off a hood ornament he received from Raney’s Truck Parts — a chrome rooster, of course. Rooster has also attracted the attention of Wilson Trailer, which made the full-size step deck pulled by the senior Davis. The company is sending hats and decals to Rooster.
The youngest Davis does as much of the maintenance on the Wee Pete as he can.
“I clean the wheel wells, the grille, bumper, and I fill it up with diesel,” he said. As for future additions or modifications, he said, “Reverse. It’ll be great to have reverse.”
While Rooster gets most of the public attention, Brandon talked about his relationship with both boys.
“Get involved with your kids,” he said. “They love it.”
He advises any parent to find an interest that is common to both parent and child, and to spend time pursuing that interest.
“Kids are so involved with phones and tablets that they miss what’s going on in the real world,” he said, adding, “They’re only kids for so long.”
Brandon and Cortney spend a great deal of time following both boys in sports.
“They play football, basketball and baseball,” he explained. “We’re always running to a practice, a game, or some function.”
Tyler, according to Brandon, has the potential to become a professional athlete one day.
“He’s really good at everything,” he said. “In football, he’s naturally awesome at it.” At home, Tyler washes trucks and performs other tasks for the business. “I think he’ll be the manager at a truck wash someday.”
The family has attended truck shows in Morrison, Colorado, and in Joplin and Perryville in Missouri. They love to participate in local events, too.
“I just drove in the Christmas parade in our town,” Rooster said. “I had a Christmas tree on the trailer.”
Davis plans to build another Wee Pete, this one for Tyler. “Probably a cabover with a cattle trailer. He loves the idea,” he said.
As for the business, Davis doesn’t plan to expand.
“I like what we’re doing and we’re doing OK with it,” he said.
Although he hasn’t planned the specifics, Rooster said he’s sure he’ll build a career in trucking. He had some thoughts on the future specter of sharing the highway with autonomous trucks.
“I’d be VERY scared,” he said. “I think people should still drive.”
In the meantime, there will be more parades, truck shows and other opportunities for the Davis family to show off both full-size and “wee” truck versions — and lots more time for Dad and Mom to spend with the boys.
Cliff Abbott is an experienced commercial vehicle driver and owner-operator who still holds a CDL in his home state of Alabama. In nearly 40 years in trucking, he’s been an instructor and trainer and has managed safety and recruiting operations for several carriers. Having never lost his love of the road, Cliff has written a book and hundreds of songs and has been writing for The Trucker for more than a decade.