It's hard to miss the purple logging truck driven by Alex "Tater" Opdahl for Whitco Inc., a trucking company owned by Rick and Barb Whitcomb in Kamiah, Idaho.
Whitco was founded on Sept. 5, 1984. On the day Rick married Barb, Rick's father escorted the couple to Farmers State Bank in Uniontown, WA, to get a loan for a 1977 Peterbilt 359. That was followed by a second truck in 1986 and later by a third.
Buying and selling trucks along the way included trading in one truck on the purchase of two Peterbilt glider kits in 1990. On May 5, 1996, Whitco incorporated and bought seven Mack trucks from KJ Weller Inc.
Budco Custom Body & Paint Inc., owned by the Whitcomb's son Bud, painted the purple 2019 W900 L Model Kenworth log truck in La Grande, OR, for the Whitco driver. The truck, which features a 265 wheelbase, also displays striping and lettering by Paul Mackie.
In addition to logging trucks, Bud Whitcomb, owner of Budco since 2012, has painted long-haul trucks, insurance truck wrecks, show trucks built and customized specifically for shows, cars, pickups, motorcycles, boats, horse trailers and more.
Budco, a full-service auto, heavy truck and recreation body repair and paint shop, began as a one-man-show — a business launched in the back of Whitco Inc.
"He spent many nights and weekends [going] back and forth from Lewiston to Kamiah, trying to get his business rolling," said Whitcomb's wife, Courtney, who works in the office.
To get his own business off the ground, Whitcomb tried sandblasting and towing, but custom paint jobs put him on the map. Customers came from all over the Northwest for his work.
As business increased, Whitcomb bought a shop down the street from his father's shop and added four new employees to his crew — but more changes were in store.
His wife explains that Whitcomb fell in love with La Grande, OR, after attending a few games to watch one of his best friends play football for Eastern Oregon University.