“Fully Involved:” An Award Winning Attitude with Kenny Fisher
Kenny Fisher and his big, green-flamed sleeper will be familiar to anyone who has been with Mercer for more than a few years. He bought the 1997 Peterbilt back in 2001, but it has seen a lot of miles and a lot of upgrades since then. “Fully Involved” is more than a trophy-winning truck; it’s a home away from home for Kenny, his wife Barbara, and their two dogs: a chihuahua pug named
Bailey and a beagle hound named Bumper.
Kenny and Barbara ran with Mercer for eight years and then took five years off to work on their home and other projects. They just recently got back into hauling Mercer freight, enjoying the booming rates in this current market.
Starting Young in Trucking Kenny got interested in trucking as a kid, around 11 or 12 years old. His stepfather was a company driver in Maryland. “That’s when I fell in love with trucking,” Kenny said. As he got a bit older, Kenny started by driving carnival rides around a carnival ground, doing work for his father. Getting his CDL at 21, Kenny became an owner operator at 22.
Barbara’s father owned a trucking company, and that’s how she met Kenny. After her father’s company shut down, Barbara and Kenny ran their own company for a while. Of course, the extra paperwork and logistics got to be a hassle. “So that’s when I came to Mercer,” Kenny explained, “I just got tired of dealing
with brokers and money.”
Kenny does the driving, and Barbara handles the business side. “She books our freight, collects our money… actually she owns the truck!” Kenny laughed, “She tells me where to go!” A true team!
The Story Behind “Fully Involved”
It’s a 1997 Peterbilt 379 with a 550 CAT, 18-speed, 355 rear end, 132-inch ICT sleeper. Kenny bought it used with around 445,000 miles on it, and he has added another 2.2 million miles. The big sleeper has come in handy since the pandemic. With a kitchen, shower, sleeping area, and bathroom on board, there’s no need to go inside truck stops except to collect the fuel receipt. “And I would never go back to a small sleeper now,” Kenny said, “I tell a lot of people that.” The name “Fully Involved” comes from Kenny and Barbara being fully involved in upgrading and running their trucking business, and Kenny being fully involved in fighting fires as a volunteer firefighter. Kenny is with the Avoca Fire Department in Wisconsin. Whenever they’re back home and Kenny’s pager goes off, he still fights fires at age 47. He started with a cadet program as an 11-year-old and has been fighting fires since he was 16. In firefighting terminology, a “fully involved” fire is a structure completely full of smoke and fire.
Building a Show Stopper
The couple’s first truck show was at Budds Creek in Maryland. They got a little competitive after seeing a truck without upgrades win awards. “So, we sold Barbara’s Toyota Celica and took all 10,000-12,000 dollars and we just dumped it into the truck. I mean with chrome and this and that,” Kenny said. They had the truck stretched after moving to Wisconsin. When it was time for a paint job, Kenny came up with the dark green and lime green fire paint scheme. With the green flame, they started doing a lot more shows, from five to ten shows per year for about six years.
Kenny and “Fully Involved” have been in Large Car Magazine as well as on the front cover and centerfold of 10-4 Magazine (out of California). They’ve won a lot of “Best in Show” awards. Winning Pride and Polish in Louisville sent Kenny to Dallas for the National Championship a couple of years ago. They’ve accumulated around 60 or 70 trophies, mostly kept in the shop, but Barbara displays some of the trophies in the house as well. Of all the awards, Kenny is most proud of being featured in the Shell Rotella calendar. He won second place, runner up at the Shell Rotella Super Rigs show, and it was his first year in that competition.
Enjoying Time at Home Although “Fully Involved” is still a working truck, Kenny and Barbara haven’t gone to as many shows in recent years. “We did A LOT of showing and we just kind of got burnt out on it,” he said. They bought a river house on the Mississippi and a tritoon boat. In the spring and summer, Kenny and Barbara enjoy spending time on the water. When Kenny’s pager goes off, he still heads toward the fire because he’s still fully committed to volunteering as a firefighter. As Kenny says, “…I’ll never give that up.”