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From Pulling Trailers to Pulling Off Burning Man and the Super Bowl

What do the 2016 Presidential Debates, Burning Man, Formula 1, and the Super Bowl all have in common? They’re all massive events with complex infrastructures requiring power, fuel, and production experts to get off the ground. When the big guys need to power up their massive projects, they look to Haymaker Productions. When Haymaker Productions looks to get big equipment shipped to their events, it turns to uShip.

This August, you might find Haymaker Productions owner Tom Beals enjoying some free time at one of the hot springs surrounding Burning Man. Black Rock Hot Springs is too hot to swim in, but there’s a warm dock where Tom likes to relax and stargaze. It’s brilliant – and just 40 miles round trip from camp.

Tom has limited time to enjoy this favorite escape because once Burning Man commences on August 27th, the springs are off-limits for the duration of the festival. Tom spends six weeks each year out in the desert. Haymaker is contracted by Aggreko to supervise and install the essential power structure and grid for the main infrastructure of the festival. It’s a massive job, and thanks to Tom having one of the only ATVs on site, he’s able to enjoy after work drives out to the springs to unwind. Tom’s able to get his trusty ATV out to the desert every year thanks to uShip.

Haymaker has used uShip for eight of their biggest shipments, including cargo as big as a 1988 International DT 466 Fuel Truck going from Lollapalooza in Chicago to ACL Fest in Austin.

We’re honored to have Haymaker come to uShip for their shipping needs. Tom’s favorite thing about using uShip as a shipping customer is “dealing directly with owner/operators.”

This makes sense because Tom is actually a truck driver himself. He owned his own trucking business in his 20s, which is what landed him his first music business gig – driving the trash truck at Bonnaroo. Since then, Tom started Haymaker Music Festival – his very own event – and used those skills to go on and start Haymaker Productions. Today, he still keeps his Class A CDL, as well as his Dodge 4500 and 40-foot gooseneck trailer. Tom’s first experience with uShip was actually as a carrier.

“I used to flip farm tractors, buy them used and sell them online out west. I hauled one from Virginia to South Dakota once and picked up a backhaul from uShip. That was my first experience with it. Rather than having to go through a traditional broker, it opens up the world of shipping by truck to the layperson.”

Tom is glad he has uShip and a trucking career to lean back on, in case somehow his amazing production company ever goes south.

For now, though, Tom has his hands pretty full, and it looks like business is skyrocketing. At Burning Man, his crew is responsible for about three megawatts of power, and the distribution to go with it. The power they provide services over 1,000 employees and volunteers who live in Black Rock City for up to six weeks each year. This includes DPW (Department of Public Works) personnel, EMTs, rangers, police and federal agencies, and residents of “Center Camp” – where the Burning Man bigwigs live with friends and family.

Five years ago, Tom was one of two technicians on-site, so the ATV was essential to keeping everything running smoothly. He could get to any emergency in a flash, at any time of day.  Since then, he’s been lucky enough to surround himself with more of his guys on site. His crew this year consists of four Aggreko employees and four Haymakers. Tom’s ATV is still an essential part of operations, and thanks to trusty and affordable providers on uShip getting it delivered to the Nevada desert, he’ll have it handy again for this year’s Burning Man.

When it’s completely built out, Black Rock City is home to more than 70,000 people, meaning pickup trucks are difficult to use for speedy missions. If the hospital calls with a power issue, Tom can be there quickly – and in harsh desert conditions, minutes can make a big difference.

Haymaker Productions events have included The Vancouver Winter Olympics, Indy Car’s Long Beach Grand Prix, Red Bull Air Races, and both Obama Inaugurations. They even ran production on the Taylor Swift tour for two years. Haymaker offers full-service production “from concept to cleanup,” including expertise and hands-on logistics for everything from mobile power to artist booking. For more information, visit haymaker.net.

We’re excited to work with Tom and his team for years to come, fulfilling their logistic needs and keeping America rockin’.

uShip: Do you have any uShip stories that stand out from your seven shipments with us?

Tom: I can’t say that any stand out in particular, but overall, it’s just a great service. Last year I had a load picked up in Chicago going to Austin after Lollapalooza by a uShip hauler, and I too was hauling a load down to Austin. We ran together for a while, but she couldn’t keep up! We both made it safely.

uShip: How did you move your big stuff before uShip? How has uShip made things easier?

Tom: I had two gooseneck rigs after I sold my tractor trailers. We just kinda hopscotched around from show to show, or my guys did. But hauling overweight loads with 3,500 and 4,500 trucks takes its toll, and I finally got fed up with the maintenance and time commitment.

uShip: What did you like most about trucking? If you ever went back to it, what would you haul?

Tom: I liked the sense of freedom and I loved (and still love) driving big trucks. I always tell people it felt like a video game, one that you don’t get extra lives in. I don’t think I could do now what I did then though, 3:30 a.m. start with two to three round trips from D.C. to Richmond, sheesh. With all the stress and long hours that come along with trucking, there are some pretty unique benefits.

If I had to go back to driving I’d drive entertainment for Upstaging or Janco. I did a little of it and it’s super cushy/easy, it pays way better than most hauling gigs. Nice hotels, per diems, top notch equipment and rock ‘n roll.