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1999 Ford F-350 - Bling

The Lighter Side of the Mud Life

Chris HamiltonPhotographer, Writer

It’s about time we clear up the a few things surrounding our Southern lifestyle, and the best place to start is with the name. “Mud life” can refer to so much more than just a day spent slingin’ mud in an old square-body Chevy. We tend to live a life of carefree reckless fun, and we don’t really care what anyone has to say about it. We hunt, we like hot women, and we love our trucks! There are certainly days when we don’t get muddy, but to a true mud lifer a few hours of wrenching on your mega truck with some buddies and beers is just as enjoyable. Big, loud, and fast are what we want—and if you throw a few hot girls in bikinis into the mix, even better!

One of the best parts about this job is getting a chance to meet all the builders and suppliers in the industry. We work hand-in-hand with these guys trying to help the lifestyle grow bigger and better every day. So when Rob Pigue from Plan B Fab called us to see if we wanted to shoot his buddy’s street truck, we were more than happy to check it out. We were a little hesitant at first since we don’t cover very many street trucks in Mud Life, but when we saw this 2½-ton street-legal Ford come cruising down the road we knew it was going to print. Rob wasn’t kidding when he said this was one of the sickest trucks on the road, and when the two smoking hot girls jumped out of the passenger side things got a whole lot better from our view.

Bret Bowen is the owner of this killer rig. UWantCountry.com supplied the stunning ladies. For this article, we are going to enjoy the lighter side of the mud life by kickin’ back at the lake and taking turns riding on Brian’s superfast airboat. Throw in a few cold beers and a warm fire, and you have the picture-perfect definition of our lifestyle—just without all the mud.

Bret’s 1999 Ford F-350 is an impressive piece of machinery that has been purpose built for any terrain on the planet. Registering this Ford F-350 rig as a commercial vehicle gives Bret the right to drive on any state or county road in order to do his job. Today his job just so happens to be transporting Nikole Knott, Brandi Snyder, and his custom airboat to the lake for a day to unwind. Jason Gove and I didn’t mind a road trip, so we decided follow along and get some pictures for you guys.

The truck has been on the road for a few years now, and Bret hasn’t had many issues with it. When a professional builder is given the best parts in the industry and the freedom to do what he wants, great things can happen. So Bret enlisted the help of some friends to weld together a solid cradle for the four-link suspension out of 0.188-wall DOM steel. Once the framework was finished, shock brackets, four-link mounts, and a gearbox hoop were welded to the frame. Bret added a Detroit locker to the front axle and a spool in the rear before the 2½-ton axles were rolled into position and ¾-ton Chevy disc brakes were added.

The 16-inch King shocks keep the ride smooth, while front and rear sway bars add stability in the corners. A steering box from Performance Steering Components (PSC) guarantees complete control on the highway, and an SCS gearbox coupled to the factory transfer case adds the reliability Bret was looking for in a street truck. The factory Ford F-350 7.3L has a 4R100 transmission bolted up with billet input and output shafts.

After six long years of build time, Bret is confident that rig is built for anything he might toss at it, and we agree. Check out the pictures from our great day of bikinis, boats, and big-ass street trucks.

1999 Ford F-350
Owner: Bret Bowen
Engine: Ford 7.3L Powerstroke diesel
Transmission: 4R100 with billet input and output shafts
Transfer Case: SCS Gearbox
Suspension: 0.188-wall DOM steel 4-link suspension
Axles: 2 1/2-ton Rockwell military
Shocks: 16-inch King Shocks
Wheels: Owner-built 20x18 wheels
Tires: 53-inch Michelin

Nikole Knott Hometown: Deltona, Florida.
School: Florida Hospital College.
Favorite sport: Gymnastics.
Favorite outdoor activities: Hunting, airboating, horseback riding, and mudding!
Favorite 4x4: A jacked-up Chevy Duramax.
What I do for fun: I love to relax with friends and family on the river.
Where I work: Hooters.
Pet: I have a dog named Colt.
Accomplishments: I am graduating college with my bachelor’s in nuclear medicine.
What I do on the weekends: I enjoy going out with friends on the airboats and getting rowdy.

Brandi Snyder
Hometown: Chicago.
Favorite sport: I love softball.
Favorite outdoor activity: Fishing!
What I do for fun: I love to shoot my Springfield XD 40 handgun, go fishing, ride on an airboat, turkey or quail hunting, and of course mudding!
What I do for work: I own UWantCountry.com. I Interview musicians, do outdoor segments, and cover amazing country events. I get to travel and have a great time. Best job ever!
Pet: My Mastiff, Ruger, is my baby.
Accomplishments: I like to think I’m well rounded, I am a multi-agency represented model and a photographer too. #multitasker.
A typical week for me: Setting up interviews, updating websites, posting y’all’s favorite country music videos, taping segments, and traveling to get the content I need. And I have kids, y’all! Three. #busygirl #lovewhatyoudo

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