Ron Randall raised his family hauling milk, and today, his son Steve and grandsons are carrying on the family business.
Ron began hauling milk as a 16-year-old kid in Preston. Back then, a milk hauler’s job was more manual than it is today. Working first for Suel Porter and Tom Petterborg, who still lives in Glendale, Ron would lift metal cans filled with milk into the back of a truck, then drive the cans to the Pet Milk Company. The Pet plant used to stand where the Franklin County Fire Station is today, on First South between State Street and First West in Preston.
The Pet Milk Company plant was originally built in 1928 by the Utah Condensed Milk Company (Sego Milk). It made butter and powdered milk. By 1956, it was processing some 25 million pounds of milk and making up to 5,000 pounds of butter a day and employed up to 30 people. Until its construction, Franklin County Dairymen took their milk to Richmond to be processed or sold it in local creameries. One such was Idahome Creamery, which once stood on State Street near the corner of Oneida on the east side of the road. The Pet plant closed and became Pitcher Pump and Pipe in January of 1970.
Like many young men in the area, Ron served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When he came home he married Nancy Goodenough, who soon became his business partner, as well.
Ron was again driving truck for Tom Petterborg, picking up milk from dairies in Soda Springs, Montpelier, Ovid, Thatcher and Preston.
Then in 1976, he and Nancy decided to buy their own truck and start picking up contracts themselves. They bought Norm Beckstead’s route from him. Ron drove. Nancy managed the office.
Bill Finney’s route was also purchased and the Randalls started hauling milk to the KDK Bottling company in Draper, Utah, until it went out of business.
Verlan Corbridge’s route, Todd Thornley’s in Tremonton, Utah, and a route in Delta, Utah, were the next purchases. At the company’s largest, the Randalls had 20 trucks running routes or hauling grain and other items. Some of their trucks were flatbeds and some were refrigerated.
They were hauling milk to Gossner’s plants from dairies as far south as Loa, Utah, as far west as Heyburn, and as far northeast as Star Valley, Wyoming.
Before and after he left for his pre-dawn routes, he had his children up to help him do the chores on their own farm.
“They started out moving pipe, then kept moving up,” said Nancy.
Soon, each child had a specific responsibility.
“Steve would push the cows in for us to be milked and scrape the pens. Jason took care of the calves. Matt mixed feed, Nancy and I milked,” said Ron. Deanne would get breakfast for everyone. Their youngest, Melissa, began helping as soon as she was old enough, until she was 16 and the family quit milking their own cows, and focused on hauling milk.
“Prices were high and I was running out of help,” said Ron. Their kids were older and moving on. “It’s lots easier to work with your own children than to try to learn Spanish,” added Nancy.
“We like to say that we raise inferior crops, but superior children,” said Nancy.
What kept them together? “Fear of poverty,” laughed Nancy.
Ron credits Nancy and daughter-in-law Heidi Randall with keeping things organized. Also, the Randall children “learned young what work was and understood the need of it. When you are in a bad spot, they all pitch in,” said Ron. “We’ve been blessed with good kids.”
“And the Gospel,” Steve added.
“A lot of it is watching out for each other’s well being,” said Braxton. “We run hard, but we give each other a break, too.”
His 16-year-old brother, Teygan has a simpler view. “You do what you are told. If you get bored, just get things done.”
That suits him fine, because sitting in the house is not his definition of fun.
Most of the children of Steve and Heidi have begun working with their father and grandfather. Braxton “kind of dabbled in everything,” and today he drives truck. Teygan “keeps everything running,” said Ron.
Under his grandfather’s direction and with the help of the rest of the family, Teygan is also running the farm: 50 acres of hay, 57 acres of wheat, 61 acres of barley and about 8 acres of pasture.
Braden and Talon both have jobs working elsewhere, Braden at Whittaker’s Construction and Talon, 17, cooking at Deer Cliff Inn. But they know what to do when help is needed and can often be found working alongside their family. Their sister, Shandy, is married to one of Randall’s drivers, Chris Gregory.
Steve said the milk delivery business is about “the relationships you build with people whose milk you haul.”
One of those relationships turned out to be Braxton’s now wife, Shelby. The granddaughter of Franklin County Dairyman Ward Nielson, Shelby was game when Braxton decided he didn’t want to make a long drive hauling milk to Heyburn and invited her to come along.
The couple married a year ago, and they “still go on dates in the milk truck,” they said. That was about the time Ron and Nancy decided to sell Steve the milk hauling business, and they would focus on trucking other commodities. Trucking and farming are just in Ron’s blood.
“In the fall, if there’s a storm coming, Ron tries to help local farmers get their grain harvest in,” said Nancy.
Again, their motto is about relationships. Over the years, the family’s success has been helped along the way with employees they still consider friends.
“It isn’t just the Randalls. It’s all those drivers that do their part to keep us running,” said Ron. “We have appreciated all the drivers and mechanics, and the farmers that employed us. Those farmers would usually give the shirt off their backs to you.”
He also expressed appreciation to Gossner’s.
“I’m really thankful we’ve hauled milk for Gossner’s. They’ve always treated us 100% and we could count on what they said,” he said.