Tank truck driver Darryl Nowell has his hands in a little bit of everything. He was in the U.S. Army, is a father, works with charities and doubles as professional wrestler Pyro the Human Incinerator, all in addition to tank truck driving. Now, he’s the 2016 Tank Truck Driver of the Year.
He drives for Eagle Transport out of the company’s Richmond, Virginia terminal.
“This is our second year participating in this event and we’re just honored that we’re able to put somebody forward that brings everything home,” said Don Ewalt, Eagle Transport’s regional operations manager.
Nowell got into tank truck driving after doing it while in the Army. During his time in the Reserves, he drove a fuel tanker as well.
“Tank truck driving offered a challenge. It was very rewarding,” Nowell said of his choice of careers after the military.
Nowell is a driver trainer for Eagle Transport, and as such he emphasizes the importance of safety and repetition. He helps his trainees develop a routine they can apply to every delivery they make, says Ewalt.
“When I became a driver trainer, that was one of the best moment’s of my life. I was just floored, because I was considered as being one of the best in my company, and I tried to take that energy and put it all into my training and my learning,” Nowell said. “I’m still learning. I’ve never stopped learning. I’m always thinking, from the time I get into that truck to the time I get out of it. I instill the same thing into my trainees, and they in turn get a lot of knowledge out of it.”
When not hauling highly flammable liquids, Nowell doubles as the professional wrestler known to his fans as, of course, Pyro the Human Incinerator. He’s been wrestling professionally for 30 years.
Nowell says he started power lifting “just trying to stay in good shape.” Then his brother suggested he try professional wrestling. So Nowell went to a camp to learn the sport. After that, Pyro was born and he became wrestler on the weekends.
Like every pro wrestler, Nowell needed his own image. He came up with the Pyro persona. He says he was inspired by advice from his pastor, who told him he could be like the mythical bird the phoenix and rise from the ashes. Nowell says this advice led him to think of fire, and he created Pyro the Human Incinerator.
Now Nowell uses Pyro as a way to help charities and raise money for children.
“I’ll help any charitable organization anyway I can,” Nowell said. “That’s just the kind of person I am. So Pyro became who he is now today, pro-wrestler and truck driver.”
Nowell is also a Boy Scout Leader, coach of his son’s bowling team, a Search & Rescue volunteer and a Moose Lodge member. He’s planning to retire from pro-wrestling next year, but he’ll keep Pyro active for charity events, birthday parties and fundraisers.