By Al Muskewitz
Like most American sports fans, Oakley Trucking operations manager Nick Dulaney will find himself watching some of the MLB playoffs at some point over the next month. Maybe it’ll be the game that clinches a team the pennant or even the World Series itself.
And if there’s a play at the plate or a bang-bang play on the bases, he’ll watch with a little more interest because he knows his company had a part in getting that field in shape for the big game.
Dulaney and Oakley have moved material for building and sprucing up major-league and college stadiums all over the country. They’ve even moved bunker sand for some of the top golf courses on the PGA Tour.
It’s “just a fraction” of the North Little Rock carrier’s dry bulk hauling business, but it’s one of the neatest.
“There’s definitely a sense of pride,” Dulaney said. “It gives you a connection with the sporting event.”
Oakley has moved material for at least six major-league baseball teams (including the 2019 playoff-bound Yankees, Astros and Braves), several spring training sites, the Dallas Cowboys’ new practice facility and sporting venues at the universities of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Tennessee. It also has brought sand to major golf championship courses at Medinah in Illinois and Oak Tree in Oklahoma. They’ve even had inquiries from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, home of the College World Series.
Of course, a lot of the deliveries take place during off-season restoration, but sometimes there’s an emergency need – like dressing up the stadium for the bright lights of the Fall Classic.
Oakley’s owner-operators have hauled infield mix, mound clay and warning track material to the baseball parks, special sand for artificial turf, ground rubber for track projects and various grades of bunker sand for golf courses.
“I’ve seen them haul ball dirt all the way across the country,” Dulaney said.
Because of the wide variety of commodities they haul year-round, Oakley’s drivers don’t experience much slow time, making the overall operation about as recession proof as you can get.
Sometimes when Dulaney quotes a job he doesn’t know where the load is headed at first, but if it’s to a major sports venue it always gets the driver who catches it excited if he’s a big sports fan.
“When a major-league team gives you a load and they tell you what’s going on it creates a little buzz,” Dulaney said. “If the guys have the truck outside the stadium or they’re inside unloading, that’s always a good photo opp. It’ll be on their Facebook page. It definitely makes our calendar.”
Al Muskewitz is editor-in-chief for Wright Media. He can be reached at email@example.com
By Al Muskewitz