It’s Not ‘Old Blue’ Anymore

His business still recovering from Hurricane Ike, Texas pumper Alan Parker gets a helping hand when his rig is restored by a reality TV series
It’s Not ‘Old Blue’ Anymore
“Old Blue” before the project. (Photos courtesy of Alan Parker)

“It was weird,” says Alan Parker about seeing himself on Country Music Television’s Trick My What? television show last fall. The episode of the new show garnered plenty of attention around Crystal Beach, Texas, where Parker and his wife, Teresa, operate Peninsula Septic Service. They hope it may provide a little boost to their business, still recovering from a devastating hurricane.

The first call from a producer of Trick My What?, hosted by former Dukes of Hazard star John Schneider, came last July. According to Parker, “She said, ‘What would you think if we took a piece of your equipment, spent all kinds of money on it, it didn’t cost you a dime, and you help us make a TV show?’ ”

He wasn’t about to turn down their offer to rebuild “Old Blue,” a 1979 International Transtar 4300 vacuum truck the Parkers purchased when they started the family business in 1995. “It was pretty crazy but we had a lot of fun doing it.”



Beat up and rusty, “Old Blue” was mechanically sound with a good engine and pump, along with torn seats, doors and windows that didn’t work, bad wiring, bald tires, holes in the floorboard and a broken air conditioner that made life difficult in the Gulf Coast heat.

The TV show followed the staff of Lonestar Speed Shop in Richmond, Texas, as the old truck was torn apart and rebuilt. When their work was revealed on TV, the Parkers found themselves the owner of a purple and tangerine orange truck with wild silver graphics, a chrome exhaust stack, diamond-plate accents, a brushed aluminum grill, new upholstery, an automatic hand sanitizer, and 10 brand new tires. “I never had tread before,” Parker told Schneider on the hour-long program.

During the better part of a week of filming at Peninsula Septic, the Parkers instructed Schneider on how to pump a tank, service a portable restroom and fill a trash container. Later, Schneider revealed the restored vacuum truck to the couple.

“All I heard from people around here was, ‘When do we get to see the truck?’ Parker says. “A lot of people thought it was their best show yet. I think it had more substance.”



The Oct. 28 episode told how Hurricane Ike destroyed the community and the business in 2008. “Ike washed away about 65 percent of the homes,” Parker says. “We’re basically sitting on a big sandbar and we had a 22-foot storm surge.”

Also washed away were most of his residential/commercial trash collection customers; less than 100 of his 2,800 customers remained. Another 1,000 portable restroom and septic tank customers also were gone.

The company headquarters, built on 20-foot stilts, survived without too much damage. Among the equipment losses were 370 of their 650 portable restrooms, parts of which were found 20 to 40 miles across East Bay and Trinity Bay that separate the Bolivar Peninsula from Galveston and the rest of Texas. More than 60 of their 150 3- and 6-yard roll-off containers were gone along with 12 of their 240 20- and 30-yard roll-offs. One was found a mile out in the bay.



With their new garbage business growing fast, the Parkers had purchased three service trucks in the two years before Ike hit. “My creditors looked around and said, ‘Take six months if you need it. If you need more, let us know.’ If they wouldn’t have done that, I don’t think we could have made it.”

His business is recovering as the community is being rebuilt. “We’re about 50 percent back,” says Parker, who now has 12 employees compared to 24 before the storm. “I think we’ll be all right. We’ve come a long ways since Ike.”

As the business rebounds, customers will see more of Parker driving up in his tricked out truck.


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