Four-Wheelin’ Fun

PRO Shawn Bell leverages his ATV racing relationships to land a nationals event.
Four-Wheelin’ Fun
While working at a motorcycle and ATV race event, Shawn Bell makes some adjustments on his 2005 GMC service rig with a steel Pik Rite Inc. tank and Conde pump.

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THE TEAM

Shawn Bell and his father, Tom, are the owners of Bell’s Sanitation Services, a portable sanitation and septic service company in Grove City, Pa. Until recently Tom was a school district assistant superintendent so most of the work is done by Shawn – which can be difficult but Shawn says he’s not tempted to bring in help. “I’m used to doing stuff by myself. I just work more hours and get it done,” he says. Shawn handled the cross country event while Tom was on emergency standby for all their other work. They operate on a 5-acre lot and a couple years ago purchased a second lot for more storage.

COMPANY HISTORY

In 2003 the Bells picked up 12 Armal Inc. restrooms and a 350-gallon waste/150-gallon freshwater slide-in tank with a Conde pump (Westmoor Ltd.) and put it on their ’95 Chevy 3500. They called the company Bell’s Portable Restrooms. About three years ago they added septic work, prompting a name change to Bell’s Sanitation Services.

They work a 30-mile radius from their home. Although construction accounts for 75 percent of their work, Shawn Bell says it’s not his favorite thing to do. He enjoys the special events more – soccer tournaments and bicycle, ATV and 5K races – but avoids small fairs that can’t pay for adequate service. Today their inventory stands at about 90 Armal Inc. Waves, 75 PolyPortables Integras and four T.S.F. Company Inc. hand-wash stations. In 2008 they purchased a pre-owned two-stall restroom trailer, although Bell says they haven’t had much demand for it.

MAKING CONNECTIONS

When he’s not working, the younger Bell is an enthusiastic ATV racer. So when he heard the national event was coming to his area he gave them a call. “I said, ‘I’m a portable restroom operator. I’ve raced with you guys for years and I’d like to do the restrooms for it.’ ” That got his foot in the door but he still had to work for it when he heard another vendor underbid him by $1,000. “I lowered my bid – but not to where his was,” he recalls. It was enough to win him the work – “Probably because I’ve raced with them and had given them a ton of money over the years.”

THE MAIN EVENT

The scenic RiverStone Estate in Foxburg, Pa., was the site for round 11 of the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series late in 2013. They called it the Car-Mate Gusher in honor of the region’s rich oil history. Four-wheeled ATVs hit the freshly cut trails on Saturday and the dirt bikes on Sunday. Each day began with the youth division followed by adult amateurs. Then the top professionals were on at 1 p.m., televised by NBC Sports Network and RacerTV.com. Rain and mud added to the challenge of the 12-mile tracks that ran through the woods, over hills and across streams. About 1,400 participants and several thousand spectators were on hand to enjoy the races, the food and craft vendors, and live music.

BY THE NUMBERS

Bell provided 25 standard red units for the event – about half Armal, half PolyPortables – and one PolyPortables Senator ADA-compliant unit. They were placed in nine locations across a 20-acre field that served as the campground and central gathering place for the start and finish lines, the spectator viewing area, vendor row, the awards podium and Saturday night’s band performance. Bell would have preferred grouping more units in fewer locations for visibility and convenience.

LET’S ROLL

Using his 2010 Ford F-350 and a 12-unit McKee Technologies Explorer trailer, Bell delivered the standard units on Tuesday and Wednesday before the event and the ADA-compliant unit on Thursday. Everything was dropped off in the middle of the field then moved into place on Thursday. He made three trips on Monday to pick up the units.

KEEPIN’ IT CLEAN

Bell serviced the units Saturday before 7 a.m. and again late Saturday night. He uses deodorant products from J & J Chemical Company. On Saturday, Tom Bell brought over their service truck, a 1991 Chevrolet Kodiak with a 2,300-gallon steel tank and a Battioni pump to transfer the waste for later disposal at the local sewage treatment plant.

The rain and mud made it impossible to keep the units clean. “It was a muddy mess,” Shawn Bell says. “It took me three days to clean these things. People with muddy hands – it was all over the walls, the floors – grass and mud.”

Bell builds all his vehicles himself, mixing and matching tanks, pumps and trucks he picks up used from friends, at auctions and through the Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo International (now WWETT). For this event, he provided service with a 2005 GMC 3500 with a steel Pik Rite Inc. 350-gallon waste/150-gallon freshwater tank and Conde pump. He also runs a 2008 Ford F-550 from Keith Huber with a 650-gallon waste/300-gallon freshwater tank and Conde pump.

If he could do it over again, he might suggest different placements for the restrooms. “It was hit and miss. Some [restrooms] were filled to the brim and if you were to walk 300 yards they weren’t used at all,” he says.

THE BEST LAID PLANS

Bell’s original intention was to not only provide the restrooms but to race. In fact, in preparation he raced – and won – the weekend before the national event to make sure his quad was ready to go. But in the end he realized it was impossible to do both. “There’s just not enough hours in the day,” he says. He brought his camper, though, and settled for being a spectator along with his wife, Vesta, and 16-month-old daughter, Zara.

MORE INFORMATION

Armal, Inc. - 866/873-7796 - www.armal.biz

J & J Chemical Co. - 800/345-3303 - www.jjchem.com

Keith Huber Corporation - 800/334-8237 - www.keithhuber.com

McKee Technologies - Explorer Trailers - 866/457-5425 - www.explorertrailers.com

Pik Rite, Inc. - 800/326-9763 - www.pikrite.com

PolyPortables, LLC - 800-241-7951 - www.polyportables.com

T.S.F. Company, Inc. - 800/843-9286 - www.tuff-jon.com

Westmoor Ltd. - 800/367-0972 - www.westmoorltd.com



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