Kathleen Ray is extremely well-known throughout the diesel industry as a lady who loves her truck and brings other women into the fold. She is a sales representative at Siskiyou Diesel Performance, but her full-time passion is being at the tip of the spear, leading the way at Ladies Of Diesel.
“Originally, I developed LOD as a website and Facebook page to reach out to women diesel enthusiasts and offer them a venue to speak diesel in an unbiased, none judgmental, supportive atmosphere,” says Ray. “But after I bought my '06 Duramax, I discovered there were a lot of women who were just as excited about diesels as I am. However, I couldn't find anything out there for upcoming diesel women to get involved with so LOD was born.”
This business venture was created to inspire, encourage and support as many women in the diesel performance world as much as she possibly can. There are a lot of women who just plain love diesel trucks, and she has set out to show it.
Now that you know the aim of Ladies Of Diesel, let’s talk about Ray. Back in 2010, she bought her 2006 GMC Sierra 2500, which at the time was almost completely stock.
She had spent roughly two years looking for the right diesel to start her own build on. She and her husband spent weeks looking through Craigslist and any other outlet they could think of while searching for a used diesels between 2004 and 2006.
“This was one of the most fun and most disappointing two years ever,” says Ray. “In 2010 we were on our way up to Portland, Ore., for the NHRDA event and we stopped at every dealership from Mount Shasta, Calif., and up, looking and test driving as many diesels as I could.”
She finally found her 2006 GMC Sierra Duramax in Lodi, Calif. that was meant to be. Her husband has been into diesels for as long as she has known him and they agreed that leaving her truck stock wasn't an option. So the first of many performance upgrades made their way into the '06 Sierra and the complete overhaul began. The following performance and cosmetic upgrades have been done to her truck by her and her husband. They’ve added BMF Novoakane Death Metal 20x9 wheels and Toyo Open Country 35x12.5R20 tires. They added a T-Rex Grille and GDS Metal Worx custom Duramax badges as well as recon taillights and third brake lights. EFILive Tunes and PPE Deep Transmission Pan were installed by Siskiyou Diesel Performance. The shop also rebuilt a PPE Stage 5 transmission and added a custom dual exhaust. Overall though, this is just a small part of all the work and parts the husband and wife team has put into the truck.
Ray wasn't really satisfied just installing more performance in her truck though; she wanted to put those upgrades to good use.
She has been a fan of racing and thought of the perfect solution to test her new performance. The first drag-race she participated in was at the 2010 Redding NHRDA Jefferson State Diesel Nationals. Including her, there were only three women competing in the entire event. There was no way there were only three women in the entire world of diesel, so her quest to search out and network with other women like herself began. Ray had a Ladies Of Diesel shirt made at a shirt designing company and wore it to every sled-pull and diesel drag that she went to.
“I couldn't believe the response I got,” says Ray. “There was an overwhelming number of women out there that shared my passion and I knew immediately there was something more to this Ladies Of Diesel than I had ever imagined. I started a website and Facebook page and in August of 2012, I got the LOD brand trademarked. The small flame I started with a simple t-shirt became a wildfire of women with a taste for diesel power.”
Currently, Ladies Of Diesel has over 20,000 likes and gets more every day. Women from all over are bringing their stories and trucks to be showcased on the page and Ray is loving every minute of it. The best part of LOD is that it's not just a place to show sexy women and gorgeous trucks, it's the perfect place for women who identify with everything diesel to get together and network.
If you are a "lady of diesel," or you're just looking for a great place to talk diesel, swap stories, or check out some rides, you can visit the LOD at www.ladiesofdiesel.com to get the latest and greatest on builds and what's going on in the diesel world.