NAME, AGE: Ryan Strange, 32
HOMETOWN: Louisville, Ky.
LAST JOB: Casino dealer
MARITAL STATUS/CHILDREN: Single, no children
WHAT SPARKED INTEREST IN A CDL: Better pay
FUN FACT: My last job was as a casino dealer
Knowing that CDL or Bust classmate/fellow ardent University of Louisville fan Russell Durgasingh had volunteered to test first on Test Day 1 and was the only one of the three students to pass, Ryan Strange did so on Test Day 2 only to be singled out for the only full per-trip inspection and then made to wait to perform his maneuvers and road test until Jason Horton, Wayne Meenach and Joey Wilson Jr were done.
“I got the whole truck and trailer, I wasn’t expecting that one,” said the 32-year-old Strange, who passed his exam and will put in applications tomorrow to drive in the Louisville area. “Then I had to … sit around waiting [for about three hours]. I smoked a lot of cigarettes. I tried to stay loose and tried not to think about it.”
The opportunity to take a practice run on the CDL test course has allowed the seemingly always laid-back Ryan Strange to achieve new levels of mellow.
“It wasn’t bad as I thought it was going to be,” the 32-year-old Strange said of the course during his lunch break at Truck America Training in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. “There are a couple [places] where you have to make sure you don’t clip the curb, and there’s a couple lights. The first time, I ran it. I was probably about 15 feet from [the light], and it turned yellow on me and I had no choice but to keep going. That’s an automatic fail. Hopefully, you time out it right [during the test].”
Ryan Strange has seen a lot of, well, strange behavior during his time as a casino dealer at Horseshoe Casino in Elizabeth, Indiana.
“I had a guy bet five grand a hand [en route to losing] well over $50,000,” he recalled. “I gave out $20,000 one night to some out-of-town drunk guy who didn’t even know what he was doing.”
Strange plans to put his days as a casino dealer behind him if he passes his CDL exam Sept. 15, but for now, he’s still cramming his part-time hours at the casino into his weekend breaks from Truck America Training across the Ohio River in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.
Ryan Strange is a part-time dealer at a casino in Indiana, but the 32-year-old aspiring truck driver has spent the rest of his working hours for more than a decade cutting grass.
Ryan Strange’s fourth day as part of our CDL or Bust class was worthy of his last name. Rather than joining his six classmates in taking the written exam to obtain his CDL permit, the 32-year-old bachelor spent much of the day running back and forth between doctors’ offices trying to track down his proper medical form for state officials.
“I was ready to go and get it done with,” Strange said of his CDL test with some frustration. “I had my mind set. And now I got to go back today and do it.”
Photo by John Sommers II for Transport Topics