Jessica Loree knew she wanted to be a cattle hauler even before she got her CDL. Cattle haulers, she says, are the top of the trucking food chain.
Loree, from Wakefield, Kansas, got her CDL in 2005, and today she’s an owner-operator with her own authority. She drives a 2003 Peterbilt 379 for her business, Loree Trucking.
Hauling cattle can be a challenge because they are unpredictable, but Loree enjoys that challenge. Outside of the animals themselves, cattle hauling also involves a lot of late nights, early morning and heavy loads.
“It’s a moving load. If it’s not trying to tip the truck over, it’s trying to step on you and not in a friendly way,” Loree said.
Loree only hauls cattle, and just like a trucker pulling a reefer may haul produce or other boxed goods, there are different kinds of cattle. She usually hauls feeder cattle, with each one weighing about 675-1,000 pounds.
She has to load the cattle onto the trailer herself, while trying not to get stepped on in the process.
“There’s days like the other day where they just left me a pile of cattle in a metal holding pen and I had to get in there with the cows, sort out how many I need for each compartment, put them in the trailer, close them up and make sure I didn’t get stepped on,” Loree said.
Loree maintains the mechanical aspect of the truck herself. She usually spends her home time washing out her trailer or working on her truck.
Cattle hauling is tough work, but Loree recommends other women who want to do it to not be dissuaded.
“Don’t let anybody tell you no. If it’s safe and something that’s doable, don’t let them discourage you. Where there’s a wheel there’s a way,” Loree said.