Talkin' Torque: The Life Of A Strapper

October 2015 Column Brady L. Kay

Fall is now here, but not too long ago we were all in the middle of prime diesel event season. Gone are those hot summer days when scorching temperatures were getting the best of us and it was all we could do to simply focus as we sat in the shade and watched truck after truck be put to the test on our industry’s favorite measuring stick: the dyno. But no matter how uncomfortable the heat felt, all you had to do is glance over at the guys crawling under those trucks to hook up the dyno straps to appreciate your seat in the shade.

Sure, these guys—better known as strappers—have a front row view to the action, but I guarantee it’s a hard-earned ticket to say the least. Strappers are easy to spot, even when they’re away from the dyno. They’re usually the guys covered in black from head to toe and sweating more than anyone else.

But don’t think for a minute that the job of a strapper is overlooked in any way. They don’t just randomly assign the job to the guys who are low on the company’s totem pole or give the task to a buddy who is too cheap to pay for his own event t-shirt and thinks this is the best way to score free swag.

At the Dog Days of Summer event last July, curiosity got the best of me, so following his two-hour shift, I caught up with Bully Dog’s Lance Hunter who was one of the strappers on this day. Lance is far from a floor sweeper for the company; he’s actually an engineer over the heavy-duty projects and in the last seven years has helped develop some great products for our industry. At this dyno event, the majority of the strappers were high up in the company, yet willing to do whatever was asked of them.      

“Most of the engineers and those in tech support are asked to be the strappers,” explained Lance. “We like to complain, but it’s really not that bad.”

Not only was the crew full of repeat strappers, but Bully Dog takes the responsibility of being safe to another level. The trailerable dyno from Custom Auto in Idaho Falls, Idaho, was set up days prior to the event so those involved could review their assignments. Can you imagine strapping over and over just so you could practice strapping over and over? Now that’s commitment. 

At Dog Days, Lance and his fellow strappers were busy, as many trucks lined up to be tested.

“The diamond plate below really heats up, plus when exhaust shoots straight down it’s both hot and dirty,” said Lance. “But really the biggest challenge is guiding the drivers up the 20-foot ramp and working 5 feet in the air on the portable dyno. It can be a little nerve-racking at times, depending on the experience of the driver.”

While big numbers can be fun, Lance admits his guilty pleasure is seeing a truck break down.

“It’s kind of fun when something blows up because it’s always a crowd-pleaser,” said Lance with a smile. “I know the driver and mechanics don’t like it, but you have to admit it’s entertaining.”

The next time you’re at a dyno event either running your own truck or just watching other diesels hit it hard, be sure to take a minute and thank the guys crawling around below your rig hooking up the straps. It’s typically a thankless job, but it’s really one of the most important.

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