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COVER STORY nd Counting ontana’s trucking history evolves

with the politicians. I mean, he got things done and knew how to deal with people,” he said. Peggy Jerrel of Ray Jerrel, Inc., the association’s second-ever female president who served in 1980, said, “I loved Leonard. ... He knew everything that was going on. He knew every carrier in Montana.” The association continued to serve

trucking interests as it came of age. In 1958, it helped establish the Rocky Mountain Regional Safety Rendezvous, which consisted of Idaho, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. In 1959, Governor Hugo Aronson vetoed a proposed weight-distance tax – an issue that would pop up again in 1991 and again in 1999. Tim Babcock, who built a successful trucking company after World War II,


served as president before becoming the state’s governor in 1962. Babcock made it a practice to give his key employees a $20 gold piece and a bolo tie. To this day, the MCM’s president receives those gifts from the association. Agnes Calvin became the first female president in 1966. In 1977, the association changed its name to the Montana Motor Carriers Association and once again was incorporated by the state of Montana. Until 1980, motor carriers were required

to obtain certificates of authority from the federal Interstate Commerce Commission detailing what they could haul and where they could go. The deregulation of the industry under the Motor Carrier Act that year changed the industry completely.

ISSUE 4, 2014 |

Many in the industry, particularly those carriers who benefited from the regulatory environment, did not favor change. Others wanted a chance to compete. Jerrel remembers lobbying Congress in 1980 asking for clarity. Her message to them was simple: “Make up your mind.” When Eckel retired in 1979, he was

replaced by his friend Ben Havdahl, who came to the association from Denver. The association then had what Havdahl called “a substantial membership,” with particular strengths in the wood products and petroleum industries. Havdahl picked up where Eckel had left off. “He got along great with the politicians,” Irvin said of Havdahl. “When they were in session, Ben was right


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