Lawrence Young said when young people driving sports cars rev their engines at him on the highway, he just blasts Carrie Underwood.
The 70-year-old owner of the “Carrie Underwood truck” said with a laugh they’re always surprised by how loud his truck can get. The Chevrolet Silverado is covered in a dozen full-body and face shots of the “American Idol” country singer.
He said the truck is a tribute to his wife, Kathy. She had fibromyalgia, a disorder that sends pain through the body. In 2010, she underwent surgery to help with the pain. However, after some complications relating to the surgery, she died.
Young said he wanted to find a way to create a tribute using the singer.
His wife was in a coma for four months. After he brought her home, he played Underwood’s music for his wife all day, every day.
He said because of Underwood, he got an extra nearly 10 weeks with his wife after she briefly woke up.
“I’m very sure if I hadn’t turned on the music, she never would’ve fought back,” Young said.
He said the last thing his wife tried to say to him was “Carrie music help rough times,” before she died a few seconds later. Young knew she was trying to say that the musician would help him through the rough times to come.
A few years later, he got the Silverado, his dream truck.
“I thought, ‘I could make a tribute on the truck,’” he said. “So many people would see it and I would feel like I’m doing my part to give back.”
His son, Greg, did the layout, and he took it to J&S Signs to do the vinyl wrap.
Since then, the retired geology teacher has spent his time posing for picture with people who want one with the truck, washing it every three days to keep Underwood’s face clean, answering questions about why he did it and going to concerts.
“I’ve been to seven concerts of Carrie’s,” he said. “I went to Nashville to hear her in the Grand Ole Opry.”
At the concert in Nashville, he said she tried to get her to sign the truck, but the timing just didn’t work out. When she comes to Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita this September, he said they’re hopefully going to get her to sign it.
He said his son likes the the work, but doesn’t care for big trucks. Young said his daughter “questions the reasoning.”
Still, he said he likes the tribute to his wife. He also likes the tribute to his dogs that have passed. Aside from Underwood, he said the only other thing on the truck is a personalized license plate for his service dog, Tenchi, and a bumper sticker in honor of his dogs that have passed. He’s had three Pomeranians as service dogs, initially because his wife loved the dogs.
“People always remember the truck or my puppy,” he said.
Young said that even though people don’t always understand his why, they’re always friendly.
“When people see me on the road, they wave,” he said. “We stop and talk. It’s a very friendly area to be in.”
Young works on his farm some, although he has rented out most of the land. He retired after 47 years of teaching back in December. He retired for a brief period in the 1990s and early 2000s to work on the family farm, then taught at places like Cloud Community College and K-State Polytechnic in Salina for a while. He said the geology aspect is another reason he loves Kansas.
He loved to travel to see rocks and teach his students about them. He said he took students on field trips around Kansas. He also traveled around to places like Santa Fe, New Mexico, and floated down the Rio Grande river.
In his free time, he collects rocks, minerals and fossils. He also used to make jewelry for his wife, but said he hasn’t regained interest.
“Maybe I’ll find it again,” Young said.