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Miles City’s Ken Stabler steps up as newMotor Carriers ofMontana president


MILES TO GO


COVER STORY


BY TODD TRAUB ContributingWriter


Is there a better name for a trucking


company’s hometown than Miles City? Is there anyone better destined to be


Motor Carriers of Montana president than Miles City’s own Ken Stabler? Stabler, less than a month into his term


at the time he consented to be interviewed, owns Ken Stabler Trucking, based in Miles City. With a population nearing 1,000, Miles City has produced three association presidents since the MCM’s founding in 1939, which from a per capita standpoint likely makes the town the top exporter of association presidents in the state. Stabler certainly has the lineage for the job. “I think it’s a great honor,” Stabler said.


“And particularly I’m kind of proud of that and honored that the last president from Miles City was in 1978 or 79, 79 I think, and was Mrs. Peggy Jerrel and they’re really great


10


friends of ours.” As a young man Stabler actually drove


for the Jerrel family, hauling livestock for Ray Jerrel, Inc. “They’ve been mentors of mine all along,”


Stabler, 52, said. “When Raymond retired I actually bought their shop from them. I’m actually in their shop even now.” Not that the job with Ray Jerrel was


Stabler’s first. For a guy who has always wanted to be in trucking and who first got behind the wheel with his father as a pre-teen, it’s hard to say what Stabler’s first, unofficial trucking assignment was. “I think that probably when I was 10 or 12


years old I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” Stabler said. “My dad was a truck driver and he loved it. That’s what he was. I guess I just kind of inherited that love of driving and that love of truck from him. I started driving, I guess, as soon as I had a driver’s license. I was driving trucks. I wasn’t


legal, but we did it.” Stabler got his first official job as a licensed


driver hauling livestock feed locally, then he worked for a fledgling, two-truck operation before he began hauling livestock for the Jerrels. Following the natural progression after


close to 10 years of driving for others, Stabler bought his own truck in 1989. “I think most truck drivers have a dream


someday of owning their own truck,” Stabler said. “I did. I was 29, 28 when I bought my first truck. I never had a desire to be a company driver again. Then, when I bought multiple trucks, then I just wanted to expand. I thought the time was right. We were in kind of a downturn in the economy in 1999 and 2000 and I thought it was going to jump back and that would be a good time to jump in.” While Montana and the Miles City area


has agriculture as its backbone, Stabler’s three-truck company hauled gravel for


ROADWISE | ISSUE 5, 2012 | www.mttrucking.org


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