Toby’s trucks are of a different stripe |

Toby’s trucks are of a different stripe

By Jim NoelkerToby LeBorgne loves to decorate his water tanker pump trucks.

In Parachute, where big trucks dominate the scenery, Toby’s Vacuum Service tankers stand out.

Toby LeBorgne’s trucks haul water to natural gas wells for drilling and production and pump out sewers around town. They’re painted in the colors and insignia of professional sports teams.

The latest addition to the fleet is a tanker with an unfurling American flag along the gleaming sides of the tank, and a dark blue cab with white stars. The idea for the design came on the heels of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“We just said, yeah, we need to be supportive,” Toby said.

It’s not surprising that Toby has resorted to this highly visible form of advertising. He’s a big man, with a huge love of football and an equally huge sense of humor.

When he started his sewer pumping business in 1989, his motto, painted on the back of his truck, was “More Suck for Your Buck.”

Now his water tankers sport the logos of the San Francisco 49ers, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Falcons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tennessee Titans and of course, the Broncos, Avalanche, Rockies and Nuggets.

The sewer truck is decorated with a Dallas cowboys logo and a big thumb pointing downwards.

“One of the guys is a Dallas fan so we did it just to rub it in,” Toby said. “We had a Steelers truck but it got munched last week. It fell off a 250-foot cliff.”

“Maybe that says something,” his daughter Kristen Penner quipped. Kristen works in the office, as does Toby’s wife and partner, Sharon.

Also in the office are secretary Dee Moore, two cats and Tank the dog.

Toby could not have made his vision a reality without his mechanic, Sergio Pena, who has worked for him for four and a half years.

Although he had only a little experience painting stripes on trucks, Sergio took to the logos with a talent that blossomed as he worked. His crowning achievement is the American flag truck.

So far, he’s painted 15 vehicles in Toby’s 31-truck fleet.

Football is the main theme of the paintings, and Bronco mania rules at Toby’s Vacuum Service.

Toby’s love of the Broncos is apparent as soon as you come through the gate. The road leading to the shop is marked with a sign, John Elway Boulevard. And Bronco pictures adorn the small office.

But it wasn’t always that way. When Toby moved to Parachute in 1984 he hated the Broncos.

“I was a die-hard Raiders fan,” he said.

Toby grew up in a small town near Riverside, Calif., so it was natural he should back the Raiders.

When he moved to Parachute, Sharon’s hometown, she and Kristin got to work on him.

They wore “Raider Hater” T-shirts, and got after him for calling quarterback John Elway a “sissy,” Kristen said.

Finally, he gave in and has been a die-hard Broncos fan ever since.

Toby is equally fanatical about the local sports teams. He sponsors the Piranhas, the Parachute peewee football team.

He also painted a truck with their insignia, “when they won the Super Bowl in 2000,” he said. “We did the truck to go to the game.”

In addition, he helped supply the team with uniforms and equipment, Kristen said.

“If you say kids, he’ll give you anything,” she added.

Toby has also been involved in Parachute government, serving on the town board since 1985. He was president of the chamber of commerce and is also a member. He was honored as the chamber’s Person of the Year in 1999, Kristen said.

“It’s a little community,” he said.

“We need to take an interest, especially in the kids. There’s not much for them to do here.”

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