This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue.
Ryan Copsey wasn’t paying attention when her name was announced through a booming microphone at Truck Mania at Maryland International Raceway. Why should she have been paying attention? It’s not like she thought her 2015, 6.7 F350 with a paint job still drying had any chance at a trophy. She was just happy to have it in good enough shape to be there. Besides the paint job that kept her up late the night before, her diesel had only new traction bars and an intercooler piping kit to show off.
Once again, Ryan’s name came booming through the speakers and she realized the improbable had happened. Beaming, she walked to the stage and picked up her trophy while her biggest competitor looked on with disdain. She had won third place in the four-wheel drive modified pickup category.
“That really made my day and that really started to push me even farther because at the time, it was completely stock, basically, but had pretty paint,” Ryan said.
Ryan’s experience at Maryland International Raceway left her wondering just how far she could go with real work put into her truck.
Living The Dream
Ryan (Instagram: ryecop6.7) knew from a young age that she wanted a diesel one day. Her dad had a 6.0L that he built up with Ryan right by his side through it all, and she wanted that lifestyle for herself. She bought her current truck, [Roxy], from her uncle who had kept it in a garage most of its life. She had to learn the ins and outs of the 6.7L after only having exposure to a 6.0L Duramax, but it didn’t matter; she was living her dream.
“It’s honestly kind of intimidating because when I was younger I wasn’t expecting it to be this much of a game,” Ryan explained. “Not so much a game, but a family. When you’re traveling to different truck shows and being around a lot of people who like to do the same stuff as you and seeing people who are doing better, it’s really intimidating. I would never have expected anything this big when I was younger. It’s really a learning experience for me.”
Before winning third place at Truck Mania, Ryan attended a truck show in Carlisle, Md., that marked her first show outside her hometown of Mechanicsville, Md. While walking through the lineup of trucks, she had one thought, “My stock 6.7L with an intercooler pipe upgrade is not gonna cut it in this world.”
She returned home with newfound motivation and a desire to push herself and improve [Roxy]. Ryan started by taking the bed off and sanding it down, followed by the paint job which she did herself, with some help. She went with House of Kolor Ice White, but eventually decided it was too much considering her four-link suspension and traction bars were also white. She took them both off, along with the intercooler, and with help mixed up a purple that is so custom, Ryan says it will never be duplicated.
“Once I run out of the paint I’m done with the truck,” she admitted. “That was something important to me--not being able to duplicate it--and I think I really nailed that right on the head. There are better trucks out there. There are so many more unique builds but for just starting out and what I’ve done so far, I feel like I’ve really accomplished a lot just with paint. And then having the AlphaRex headlights color match the paint, I really feel like it looks pretty and that’s what I was going for.”
Along with an eye-catching color, Ryan wanted it to look “manly” while also looking like a woman owns it.
With COVID-19 canceling so many truck shows over the past year, it’s just meant more time to make improvements. Ryan has added AMP Research running boards, a 4-inch ReadyLIFT lift kit, train horns from her sponsor HornBlasters, a Flight Fabrications 4-link kit and 22x12 American Force Kash SS wheels with Nitto Terra Grappler G2 tires.
Under the hood Ryan has a No Limits Fabrication coolant tank and hose kit, 5-inch turbo-backed straight piped exhaust into an 8-inch tip and an EZLynk with a Motor Ops tuner.
“I try to do everything by myself and if I can’t do it on my own then I have a couple of friends who know what they’re doing, help me out and teach me so that I’m not just blind,” Ryan said.
While Roxy looks nice, it’s not fully built for performance — yet. Ryan wants it to be faster.
“That’s definitely happening soon,” Ryan adds. “I kind of wanted to get it looking good first. But now that I have my daily driver and I’m not driving it as much, it’s definitely getting pulled apart this winter after the show season and a lot of stuff is being changed.”
Her transmission likes to act up, so she’s getting a new one built through Diesels Unlimited and then plans to get a drop-in turbo kit that will go with her Maryland Performance Diesel pipes.
The feeling of putting your diesel truck on the track and seeing just how fast it can go is one Ryan loves, though when she took Roxy to a test and tune at Maryland International Raceway, she didn’t have any real intention on trying it out on the track.
“My friends were talking crap to me; we like to do that,” Ryan explained, “and they were like, ‘You won’t take it down the track; that’s a pretty pavement princess,’ and I heard that about 10 times that day.”
She went home, took off her American Force wheels, put the stocks on, went all the way back to the track, paid to get back in and put her truck on the track.
“It was a fun experience,” continued Ryan. “I might not have gone very fast, but it was fun and all the boys said that I wouldn’t take it down the track because it was too pretty but I did it.”
A Woman Among Men
Ryan’s favorite memory with Roxy is the day she finally got it and one she won’t forget.
“I felt relieved, like I’m finally doing what I wanted to do as a kid and that was just something really important to me,” she said.
That was also the day Ryan received her first comments about being a girl with a diesel and those kinds of comments haven’t stopped. One Ryan gets a lot is the “Daddy’s money” comment, where men assume because she’s a woman, her diesel must’ve been paid for or built by her father.
“It’s really challenging,” Ryan admitted. “You go places where you meet the guys who are so supportive and they want to help you learn and grow and they’re there for you for questions, but then you also have the people, the haters, who think because I’m a female I can’t do it like the guys.”
Ryan credits a lot of her success to Josh Sargent with Maryland Performance Diesel. He helped her through the learning curves that come with building a 6.7L and showed Ryan that she can find support when needed.
“I have a talent for making a truck beautiful,” adds Ryan. “That’s like cake work for me, but when it came to performance I was always stumped. He helped me learn and understand what different upgrades can do for me and always sent me in the right direction of things. It goes to show that it’s not always a competition to every male in the industry that you meet. I’ve had a lot of negative comments thrown my way from different men at shows and on social media, but it’s the guys like Josh who really show me that no matter what, someone’s always going to have something to say and you just have to look past that and find the good.”
House of Kolor
Maryland Performance Diesel
No Limits Fabrication