Customer Photos: Hotshot Rig & Tie Downs

A special shout out to loyal US Cargo Control customer Randy Eilerts.

Randy runs a hotshot rig out of Algona, Iowa. His company Tallgrass Trucking LLC ., uses a heavy duty pickup truck to pull a flatbed trailer. That compares to a more traditional setup, like a semi tractor-trailer combination. Randy trusts US Cargo Control to outfit his rig with tie down equipment. Pictured, he’s hauling a heavy, flatbed load and secured it with US Cargo Control ratchet straps, corner protectors, chain and lever binders.

Thanks for the photos, Randy!

Randy Eilerts of Algona, Iowa operates a hotshot rig outfitted with US Cargo Control equipment.


Randy Eilerts of Algona, Iowa operates a hotshot rig outfitted with US Cargo Control equipment.


Review: Why Warren Trusts USCC

One of the top carriers for farm machinery in North America trusts US Cargo Control with its load securement needs. warren logo

Warren Transport, Inc. hauls heavy pieces of machinery across thousands of miles and needs reliable securement equipment to get the job done right.

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A US Cargo Control strap is used to secure tarps on a Warren Transport, Inc. trailer.

Warren Director of Maintenance and Inventory Corey Vesely says his company buys from US Cargo Control because of its strong customer service and commitment to product quality. Part of that great experience is knowing USCC will provide safe, reliable products that are labeled with the legal working load limit and grade of chain.

“We find throughout the industry with securement items that some of them are not labeled. Some of them might be labeled but they are not actually what they are supposed to be,” Vesely said. “With US Cargo it’s very clear. It’s on the banding, it’s on the straps.”

Watch the video below to learn more about how Warren Transport uses load securement and why it shops USCC for equipment and supplies.



Safety is No.1 at Warren Transport

Safety isn’t just an idea at Warren Transport Inc., it’s a culture. The company’s emphasis on safety is a big reason it has been in business for more than six decades.

And it shows. Literally.

Safety awards take up an entire room at Warren Transport company headquarters in Waterloo. (Courtesy: Warren Transport, Inc._
Safety awards take up an entire room at Warren Transport company headquarters in Waterloo. (Courtesy: Warren Transport, Inc.)

Awards cover all four walls in a basement room at Warren Headquarters in Waterloo, Iowa. From top to bottom gold, silver and bronze radiate, each award exemplifying the company’s commitment to safety.

Warren has earned fourth place or higher, with many first or second place finishes, in the American Trucking Associations, or ATA, National Truck Safety Contest for eighteen of the last nineteen years.

“We have a huge, great reputation across the nation with all the states, with all of the motor carrier associations for our safe driving,” Warren Director of Maintenance and Inventory Corey Vesely said.

Warren Transport is a trucking company that is celebrating more than 65 years in business. It has two divisions – van and flatbed. The company is known across North America as one of the top carriers for heavy, farm machinery.

Warren is 100-percent owner-operator, meaning people are contracted to drive trucks they individually own. Warren does not own the trucks.

That owner-operator business model is enticing to many veteran truck drivers because they get to be their own boss while still enjoying some fleet benefits. For that reason, Warren can be picky about who it contracts to drive, opting to hire experienced drivers who value a similar safety philosophy.

“Our driver qualification department will do a very good vetting process,” Warren Director of Safety Ben Caughron explained.

That process includes a background check, criminal history and running the applicant’s Motor Vehicle Reports, or MVR. The company also completes a ten year employment check and inspects the overall application for accuracy.

“They come in here experienced, they’re not brand new. They know what they are doing,” Caughron said.

Warren bio pic
Courtesy: Warren Transport, Inc.

The company makes a point to emphasize driver qualification, safety meetings, training sessions, safety awareness programs as well as scheduled inspections and maintenance for trucks and trailers.

Part of that responsibility means understanding and abiding by federal and state safety regulations, including the federal program CSA, or Compliance, Safety, Accountability.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, CSA quantifies each driver and carrier’s on-road safety performance. It provides a safety score calculated by data derived from roadside inspections, safety based violations and state reported crashes. Performance in other federal safety programs is also considered.

“We have a huge, obvious thing with CSA now, DOT compliance and what safety regulations are out there now because that’s all changed and evolved in the last five to eight years,” Vesely explained. “It’s just getting more and more important and there is a huge, huge push for safety of these vehicles.”

It can be challenging to stay privy on state and federal regulations. That’s why the company offers Warren Technical Institute, an internet based continuing education portal.

“It’s like an online classroom so to speak,” Caughron explained. “Every one of our drivers and employees has access to that either through PC, the iPad, and your smartphone.”

Interestingly enough – Warren Transport cannot force any of its contracted drivers to participate in safety training because of its owner-operator business model. However, there are some monetary incentives for clean inspections and safe driving records, but most drivers chose to participate and make it a priority on their own.

“A lot of them don’t want to ruin their business or have any hiccups in their business so their goal is to remain safe,” Caughron said.

The company culture also helps to promote and maintain safe driving. Warren’s mission statement spells out that safety is always the top priority.

“We instill in them (the drivers) no matter what safety comes first. Everything else is secondary because we want you to get home safely and to your family,” Caughron said. “No load is more important that the health of you and the motoring public.”

Customer Spotlight: Warren Transport

Nestled in the farm fields of Iowa is the leading carrier of farm machinery in North America. Warren Transport, Inc. has been in business more than 65 years and has grown and developed  to become a driving force in transporting specialized equipment and machinery.

History & Growth

Courtesy: Warren Transport.

Warren got its start in 1949 when three brothers, by the name of Warren, moved to Waterloo. The siblings went there specifically to haul John Deere tractors fresh off the assembly line to their intended destination. Warren proved itself to be a dependable carrier for Deere, and that relationship helped the company grow.

“Essentially we’ve never said no them and that’s kind of what’s grown our business along with theirs,” Corey Vesely, Warren’s director of maintenance and inventory, said.

Warren started with six trucks and ten trailers, delivering to three states. Today it has expanded to include thirteen terminals across the US, plus two locations in Mexico. The company hauls for John Deere and also runs for other big name equipment producers like Case, Caterpillar and New Holland.

Unique Business Model

Warren bio pic
Courtesy: Warren Transport

Warren has two divisions – flatbed and van. The flatbed trailers haul large commodity like farm, construction and forestry equipment, while the enclosed trailers move smaller products like parts and supplies.

The company is unique because it is 100 percent owner-operated, meaning Warren does not own the semis. Instead, the company contracts drivers who run their own trucks. This compares to a more typical trucking model where the vehicles belong to the company, and people are hired to drive them.

“We’ve had a lot of loyalty. We’ve had a lot of great contractors that have allowed us to continue that way of business,” Vesely explained.

Warren is a desirable place for veteran drivers, allowing the company to be selective when deciding who to contract. Its unique business model lets drivers be their own boss, while still being connected to loads and fleet perks. Drivers can also set limits about where they are willing to travel. Some won’t go west of the Rocky Mountains, others won’t go east of the Mississippi River, and some will only drive to specific states and regions. Warren knows these preferences before dispatch schedules a run.

“That’s one of our goals to get them loaded, keep them safe and get then home so they can be with their families,” Vesely said.

Each driver is responsible for their own maintenance and supplies. However, Warren offers some incentives to help with those costs. Contracted drivers can access fleet discounts through select fuel and service providers. The company also inspects each truck and offers a maintenance account program, allowing drivers to put aside a set amount of cash per distance to be used exclusively for upkeep and repairs.

“Over time they have kind of built that bank account so to speak,” Vesely said. “So it’s not so hard on their pocketbooks.”

Cargo Securement

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A US Cargo Control strap is used to secure tarps on a Warren Transport, Inc. trailer.

Warren provides specific instructions to its contracted drivers to ensure they are using the right load securement tools and are properly tying down what they are hauling, all while following state and federal guidelines.

Warren creates custom tiedown methods for different types of commodity. Those instructions are then explained in manuals the company provides to each driver. Warren also encourages drivers to  call when they have questions or need further instruction.

“We will create a tiedown procedure, a manual showing, with pictures, how to do it so we don’t damage product,” Vesely explained. “Using the proper chain or using the proper corner pieces or winches or whatever it may be.”

Hauling heavy pieces of machinery requires reliable securement equipment. Warren trusts US Cargo Control to help keep those loads safe across thousands of miles. The company purchases securement supplies like transport chain, binders and straps from US Cargo Control.

Warren values USCC customer service and product quality, including the fact that each item is carefully and clearly labeled with the working load limit and grade of chain.

“With US Cargo, it’s very clear,” Vesely explained. “It’s on the banding, it’s on the straps, and the grade of chain is on there.”

Warren uses US Cargo Control 3/8 and 1/2 inch chain, lever binders and ratchet straps with a chain extension, including the premier heavy-duty BlackLine ratchet strap with a chain extension.

Vesely says Warren likes the flexibility US Cargo Control provides, whether flipping through the catalog or calling to get ahold of a specific securement items not currently carried.

“We’ll say ‘hey can you guys get this stuff’ which you have been very responsive in being able to do for us,” Vesely said.

What Makes Warren Different

Warren has built its business on commitment to service and safety.

You can actually see its impressive safety record when visiting company headquarters.  An entire room at is adorned, top to bottom, with colorful plaques and shiny awards dating back decades. The company has earned fourth place or higher in the ATA National Truck Safety Contest for 18 of the last 19 years.

Warren knows why it has experienced success in the past and why it will continue toward the future.

“Our safety, driving records, our contractor responses and our responses as a company — committing to something then exceeding those expectations,” Vesely explained.

US Cargo Control Customer Feedback: Review and Photos

We want to thank US Cargo Control customer Randy Eilerts for sharing these photos of his hotshot, or hot shot, rig decked out in yellow, USCC load securement straps. Thanks for being a loyal customer and trusting US Cargo Control with your bread and butter.

Here is what Randy had to say about USCC:

“Y’all make Tallgrass Trucking, LLC a lot easier. I have ordered straps chains binders flags and wide load signs. Fast delivery. Great customer service. Resonable prices. Thank You so very much!”

No, Randy. We thank you!

Randy 2 4.15 Randy 4 4 (1) Randy 4 4 (2) Randy 4.15 Randy 5 4.15 Randy 6 4.15 Randy 7 4.15

US Cargo Control Customer Review and Photos

Thanks to our loyal US Cargo Control customer Marc for these great photos of his hotshot, or hot shot, rig and positive customer testimonial.

Here is what Marc had to say:

“The aluminum platform weighs 1000 lbs. the tarpped load weighs 16k lbs. Oh yeah that’s a USCC tarp too. My platform customers loved my equipment today. I now have repeat business from them. They now want me to haul for them on the regular. This is what it’s all about. The professional look is one of my things that I bring to the table. You guys are directly the cause of my success in this tough industry. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again US Cargo Control customer for life. You guys make products that are easy to stand next to and say ‘Yes I can get the job done.'”

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Customer Photo: Sunny Hot Shot Securement

A special shout-out to loyal US Cargo Control customer, Marc.  This is a great shot of his hot shot rig in action with US Cargo Control securement. Marc tells us he is double booked out of Miami and Fort Lauderdale (We’re a little jealous!). He’s hauling a 2,000 lbs. crankshaft and 10,000 lbs. flat roller — both headed to Texas. Marc trusts US Cargo Control to keep his heavy loads secure. Thanks for the photo, Marc! Keep them coming.


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US Cargo Control Straps Trusted to Secure Professional Race Car

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Michele Abbate behind the wheel of her 2013 Scion FR-S race car.

US Cargo Control straps can be used to tie down some pretty precious cargo, but for professional race car driver Michele Abbate they are used to secure her most prized possession – her car.

Racing has been a big part of Abbate’s life since she was a child. The Las Vegas native says she’s been following racing since she was just a kid. Her older brother started racing when he was 10-years-old, and the family always traveled with him and cheered him on. It wasn’t until she turned 16-years-old that Abbate put herself in the driver’s seat and her own racing career took off.

“I was always intrigued by anything with a motor, because it was always in my life – my love was truly for wheel to wheel racing, because it was always where my passion led to,” Abbate said.

Abbate got her start racing autocross with her every day car – the same car she used to get to work and the grocery store was racing in local and regional autocross events. Her racing operation has since expanded to include a 2013 Scion FR-S race car and licenses with both the National Auto Sports Association and Sports Car Club of America.

It hasn’t been an easy journey. Abbate has overcome some serious roadblocks along the way.

Last year, she lost her title sponsor three days before her first race. That disappointing news forced her to become her own team owner, start a massive fundraising campaign and build her own race car. She and her crew-chief constructed the car and now run all the maintenance and repairs themselves.

“We are a two man team on a tight budget, but we are out there finishing in front of a lot of the big boys,” Abbate said. “He and I put in the blood, sweat, tears and finances to keep the team running.”

So when we say the race car is valuable – we mean it.

US Cargo Control 2'' ratchet straps used to secure the back of the race car to the transport trailer.
US Cargo Control 2” ratchet straps used to secure the back of the race car to the trailer.

Abbate trusts US Cargo Control to keep her car safe and secure as she travels all over the country for about ten races each year. Right now, she’s using 2’’ olive green ratchet straps with double J hooks to secure the back of her car to the trailer. She selected the color to coordinate with her car.

For the front, she uses US Cargo Control’s superior, heavy- duty BlackLine ratchet straps. She says they are the only straps she’s encountered that don’t snag, shear or rip while tied-down to the front of her car.

US Cargo Control heavy-duty, BlackLine straps trusted secure the front of the car.
US Cargo Control heavy-duty, BlackLine straps trusted secure the front of the race car.

“We have been using our BlackLines for over six months and they still look brand new,” Abbate said. “There’s nothing better than knowing you have the right tools for the job and we are thankful to have US Cargo’s products with us.”

Racing is a stressful gig and it isn’t just on the track.

Abbate says financing is her biggest struggle. Last year, she launched a crowdsourcing campaign, raising more than $13,000 to fund her 2015 racing season.

“At races we strive to have the best equipment, set up, and attitude; and off the track we work equally as hard to promote, expand, and advertise for all of our partners that make this possible,” Abbate said.

US Cargo Control is proud to provide products that give Abbate and her team peace of mind as she strives for greatness. To learn more about Abbate and her racing operation visit her website.

Michele Abbate with her self built FR-S Photo Credit: Richard Pochop
Michele Abbate with her self built FR-S. Photo Credit: Richard Pochop


Taking a Shot at Hot Shot Trucking

It’s a niche part of the trucking industry that’s starting to boom: hotshot trucking.

Hotshot trucking, or hot shot trucking, is a pretty simple concept. A heavy-duty pickup pulls a flatbed instead of using a traditional semi-trailer truck.

Randy Eilerts has been in the hotshot game since October, but he’s been driving semis for years. He operates Tallgrass Trucking LLC out of Algona, Iowa. Randy's Rig

“I have had this idea for several years now and when I was fed up with my day job I just jumped in feet first and did it,” Eilerts explained.

Randy Eilerts runs a hotshot rig out of Algona, Iowa, phtot courtesy Tallgrass Trucking LLC
Randy Eilerts runs a hotshot rig out of Algona, Iowa. Photo: Tallgrass Trucking LLC

Eilerts runs a Dodge 3500 pickup truck that hauls a PJ 30’ low-pro gooseneck trailer with ramps. He and his hotshot rig move a wide range of loads all over the Midwest and as far south as Texas.  His operation carries everything from heavy equipment and machinery to hay, lumber and building materials.

Companies typically hire hotshots if they need speedy deliveries or have smaller loads. The term originated in the oil fields of Texas where pickups would make a quick run for parts preventing the rigs from having to shut down. Now, you see hotshots hauling loads all across the country. More people are taking a shot at the business because it’s cheaper to start-up compared to traditional trucking.

Eilerts says most hotshots cost $50,000-$80,000 to get going. Big ticket items include obvious equipment needs like pickups and trailers. He says most hotshots use a 3500 to 5500 truck and a 40 ft. mini-float trailer.

Cargo control items like chains, binders and ratchet-straps are also necessary to secure the load. Eilerts keeps about ten of each tool on him, along with various sizes of tarp and many, many bungee cords.  He’s purchases many of those items including 2” ratchet straps, strap protectorschains and load binders from US Cargo Control.

Randy Eilerts uses U.S. Cargo Control straps to secure his hot shot load.
Randy Eilerts uses U.S. Cargo Control straps to secure his hotshot load.

Equipment costs are just half the battle. Starting-up also requires tedious paperwork.

“I did a lot of research beforehand so I kind of knew what to do, but there have also been some challenges and surprises along the way,” Eilerts said.

Those challenges include learning and fulfilling state and federal regulations.  An article on Overdrive breaks down some of the requirements which include obtaining a U.S. DOT motor carrier authority, liability insurance, drug and alcohol testing membership, driver qualification filings and required hours of service.

A CDL, or commercial driver’s license, is also necessary for hotshot drivers with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 lbs. or more.

But for someone like Eilerts hotshot trucking is the way to go. He enjoys being his own boss and doesn’t feel like the typical trucker when he’s navigating from the cab of his pickup truck.

“I enjoy doing it because I like to work alone and I get to travel and see the country,” Eilerts said.

Another picture from Randy



Customer Photos: BlackLine Winch Straps

marc8 We’re always happy to hear from customers. Thanks to Marc for sending in these great photos of our BlackLine winch straps.

“I found USCC online. Googled best cargo strap and USCC came up. I bought everything that my hot shot rig would need. Everything I bought is extremely high in quality- from the straps and chains to the binders and tarps.marc7

I’ve been moving all types of cargo since 07 and have never seen better quality cargo control products. Since there are so many people getting into hotshot trucking right now there are many questions being asked. A popular question/topic is “What are you guys using to secure your loads?”  This question is asked almost daily. I’m always quick to chime in and rep US CARGO CONTROL. Others agree that you guys are the best. USCC makes my company and I look professional. I have the confidence to pull into any DOT weigh station, inspection area or truckstop and KNOW my load is marc3secure. DOT officers don’t give me a second look after they see that my rig is fitted with high quality securing equipment.

Keep up the good work guys.”

Marc Betancourt
A1 Eagle Ford Transport